Planet ocean

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After a windy (gusts up to 40 knots) and turbulent ride northwards we rounded the infamous Cap d'Ambre, in the north of Madagascar, during the night with neap-tides and while the tides changed. It can be pretty rough at this corner of Madagascar and there might be big waves against strong currents. But we were lucky and once we turned the corner the wind lessened and the waves were mostly gone.

The northern side of Nosy Hao
One turtle nest next to the other all along the beach
Turtle tracks
Part of the rib of a sea turtle

So we made a stopover behind a small island at the entrance to the marine park of Nosy Hara. The island itself is very flat, so not a lot of help against the wind. But the sandy bottom is a good anchor ground and we felt safe with our boat. We waited for the wind to blow less and were able to visit the island in the next morning. We were surprised to find the beach full of turtle nests. There must be close to one hundred nests on this small island and we also saw fresh turtle tracks in the sand, even though the nesting season (May to August) is already over. One nest is next to the other and in between you can find skeleton parts like hip and rib bones. Part of the sand dunes is surrounded by big stones and we don't know how those big turtles are able to climb over the stones. The nests are from green turtles (Chelonia mydas). We could also observe hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the water sourrounding the island, hwever they don't seem to breed here.

During our exploration of the island we were able to find our first small baobabs (the typical African upside-down trees). Because of the drought and the strong prevailing winds we guess those baobabs are dwarf forms or small species. The biggest one was only about 2 meters high. We did not find any sea birds on the island and after a while we knew why. There are rats on the island which would eat all the eggs. And do those rats also eat turtle eggs or small newborn turtles?

Another part of a turtle skeleton
Grazing trails of the snails in the litoral
A dwarf baobab tree
Little plants stabilizing the sandy ground