This post is about our Spring Break at Nosy Be. One morning our family and another missionary family, the Jensens, went to Nosy Be. We got up early and started the long 12 hour drive. We passed through crowded cities and beautiful country side. We also went over tall hills, where nothing but shrubby bushes and small trees grew. When we were passing over the last of the hills a crazy rain cloud poured over our cars. Luckily it only lasted a few minutes. After many hours of treacherous potholes, our cars neared Ankify. (We learned the hard way that going fast over a pothole was not a good idea – the results were a crazy bump and a giant plume of dust.)
Ankify is a small island that is connected to the mainland of Madagascar by a bridge. The port we needed to use, in order to get to our main destination Nosy Be, was located there. The next thing our group had to do was find our hotel where we were staying the night. But then disaster struck! There was no one at the hotel! The dads went down to look, the front office was shut up and all the lights were turned off. Just then, it started to pour, showering heavy sheets off rain down on us. Thunder crackled and lightning split the sky in the distance. We prayed, not knowing what to do. The island was remote, and we didn’t know if there were any other places to stay. Then we remembered passing one hotel on the way to original lodge. We drove back and pulled into the parking lot of Baobab hotel, rain still pouring. The kids were all talking about the scary event while the parents tried to get a room and order dinner. But it turned out the hotel was full. And the hotel restaurant had run out of food. I was so scared, I didn’t know if we would find a place to stay. But God answered our prayers. A kind man at the hotel helped us book a place to stay for the night and book Baobab hotel for a couple nights later. So we got back in our cars and drove to Nord Inn. It was 30 minutes back the direction we had just come from. It was pretty good, but not as nice as a North American hotel. The next morning we took our friend Joanna in our car to Ankarana, where we would be staying for one night. The bungalow was nice and cozy. For the last remaining hours of that day, we explored Ankarana National Park. We hiked through the forest, where we saw chameleons, a snake, Crowned lemurs which only lived there, and more. We saw the limestone Tsingy from a look out, but the next day we explored in between the Tsingy. We walked over a suspension bridge, which was my favorite part of the day.
The next day we spent at the Baobab hotel, we rented the beach bungalow which was a big mistake. There was a giant Malagasy Easter party going on next to us at the beach and it was so loud! The next morning we boarded the ferry to Nosy Be, which took 2 hours.
When we got off the ferry we drove to a store and bought groceries. We also went a delicious bakery. Finally, we arrived at Vanilla Hotel where we stayed for 8 nights.
It was the nicest hotel on that trip. During our stay at Vanilla, we splashed around in the pool and walked on the beach. I found some exquisite shells there. We also did a couple of excursions. One of the excursions was snorkeling at Nosy Tany Kely (Nosy means island). We had to take a motor boat because it was a separate island. It was some of the most amazing snorkeling I’ve ever done. We saw many fish. We also saw a turtle and baby clown fish!
Another excursion we did was Lokobe. We saw many animals, but my favorites were the Brocesia chameleon and the Black lemurs.
On the way back from Vanilla we stayed at Baobab hotel one more night. Halfway to Mahajanga our truck’s tire split through the side! But good thing we had a spare tire. After driving more than 10 hours, we were getting excited that we only had 1.5 hours to go. But suddenly the traffic stopped – a bridge deck had broken and we couldn’t cross! We had to wait 4 hours until it was fixed. Even with the challenges, I still had a great spring break at Nosy Be.