15 November 2022, Nosy Be, Madagascar
This port is called Andoany or Hell Ville (named after Admiral de Hell) on the small island of Nosy Be, close to the big island of Madagascar. Southeast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Languages here are Malagasy, French, and English. I have no Malagasy Ariary currency MGA, but do have Euros and US Dollars, lots of $1’s. Tomorrow, I have a tour, so today I plan to take the tender boat and shuttle bus to visit the market. We are not scheduled to arrive until 11am, so this is a leisurely morning.
It is nice to receive family texts and emails and photos. My breakfast was muesli + granola + fruit, orange juice, and coffee.
I visited the Front Desk and got a map of the shuttle bus route to the city. No port maps anymore from Holland America, but I noticed people with maps from the front desk in Zanzibar. Just ask.
While there I photographed the displays for the Royal Family of the Netherlands and some of the ship’s floral arrangements.
Jeremy’s 9:45 announcement predicted 20-minute tender boat rides and rain between 4 and 6pm. 84 degrees
About 10am it sounded like we might be dropping anchor. The TV map looks like we have arrived. I am glad to have time to read through my port research that was put together months ago.
Quiet at 10:30am. Maybe tenders have been lowered?
At 10:50am Jeremy announced that the first tender boat had gone ashore to pick up Immigration officials, who would check our records.
Unfortunately, there is a two-foot gap (over water) between the tender dock and the tender boat, unsafe for passengers. So, the next tender boat will take a carpenter team with materials to make a safe tender landing.
At 11:05am Jeremy confirmed that the Immigration officials were working onboard, and that the carpentry team was on its way to the tender dock to take measurements.
11:20am ship is cleared. Carpentry team is ashore building a safe platform. ?30 min?
Up to the Lido buffet for lunch. Stepped outside to feel the heat and to take photos.
Surprise! We have a welcoming committee of outrigger canoes loaded with fruit and loud talk.
I went back inside to get food. My lunch was the Asian noodles, stir fry veggies, Pork Curry, and milk.
At 12:10pm Jeremy announced that the safe tender landing was complete. Tender boats can finally start running. Those with shore excursions are running late, so I will wait a while to go get a tender ticket.
12:50 announced that the first 300 guests are shoreside; unloading is slow since only one tender can dock at a time. Those tenders were on their way back to load more guests.
1pm Ocean Bar tender tickets (under 4-star mariners) will start loading in about 30 min.
I went to the Main Dining Room about 1:30pm for the privileged 5 Star tender ticket. Soon the lady was leading us to the elevator, where a crewman accompanied us down to A deck. Soon I was on the tender boat, arriving at the Nosy Be tender dock about 2pm. The ship’s carpenters’ platform saved the day. Think four-foot square solid wood. I continued up a steep incline and surveyed the dock area. Soon I was inside a shuttle van. A guide told us about the area. 70% of the people are Christian here. 15% Muslim.
I saw two churches on the way to our shuttle stop at “Hotel Abud.” “Chez Abud, Botique de Souvenir” was a large souvenir shop.
I looked a while, then walked toward where the Market should be. I stopped here and there admiring things and used the remains of my college French. “Bonjour, Merci, Au Renoir”
It was so hot that I was ready to turn back, when I realized that the big concrete steps led up into the Market building. I bought some spices from a sweet young mother. Looked at the fruit, baskets, meat, and moved out into the street. Countless street vendors selling fruit, food, cigarettes, and colorful souvenirs. I bought a two-yard length of cloth printed with the cute Lemurs found only in Madagascar. The cloth salesgirl was happy to take US Dollars, but had to run and show it to someone, who really knew what it was worth. $15 became $10. Made it back to Chez Abud and bought a couple more things before boarding a shuttle van back to the dock.
Holland America crew welcomed us back with cool water and cold wet washcloths. This time I folded the washcloth lengthwise and put it on the back of my neck, under the camera straps. Instant relief from the heat. Nice ride back in the tender boat. Now I know where to sit to get good views to photograph.
Returned to the ship about 4pm. Rested and got ready for dinner.
My dinner was the French Onion Soup; Jerked Pork Tenderloin with peanuts, black beans, rice pilaf, and collard greens; Lemon Torte; the last of the Riesling wine, and decaf coffee.
Tonight’s show was spectacular. “Shades of Africa has a unique way of bringing new life to the treasure chest of traditional African songs and spilling some African magic into some of the world’s greatest hits. Their first performance is named Under African Skies.” Two enormous black women singers and a white male pianist & storyteller from South Africa.
Two chocolates were waiting in my room with the Daily Program for tomorrow. It will be a great day.
Photo Gallery by Barbara Cummings