Sharing a beach

Community Highlights Africa & The Middle East Sharing a beach

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Baobab Beach

It rained in the night and there was some lightening but nothing like the storm of the previous night. We awoke (early of course!) to another lovely morning, with the sun already hot but a pleasant breeze taking the edge of the heat.

With nothing planned until the evening we had another leisurely day on Baobab Beach. After breakfast we walked in the opposite direction along the beach, away from the village. We saw locals coming and going; this is definitely not a private beach, which I was glad of.

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Locals, Baobab Beach

The owners of Eden Lodge show real respect for those who call this place home, and take their responsibilities as ‘invaders’ very seriously. The lodge has created lots of employment opportunities for locals. Before it was established the village was tiny, with no school and high levels of illiteracy and poverty. Since the arrival of the lodge and the employment opportunities it offers, the village has grown as word about those opportunities has spread. Residents encouraged relatives and friends to come and settle here so they too could benefit.

Today the village is well-supported by the lodge. Every family has at least one family member employed there so everyone benefits financially. The lodge buys fish and other produce from the local people. Back in 2010 it financed the building of a school and employed a teacher. Since then two more schools have been opened which together have around 150 pupils from several villages in the area. And whereas in the past the village was isolated and totally self-reliant, nowadays they benefit from regular supplies arriving on the lodge’s boats.

So although I sometimes felt a little guilty at having the luxury to be able to travel here and then sit around doing relatively nothing, while they worked hard and lived a very simple life, that guilt was assuaged by the knowledge that my visit was helping them directly.

Towards the end of the beach we came to an area with mangroves and little crabs scuttling around. The most eye catching had one large (relatively speaking) claw with a bright red ‘elbow'.

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Mangroves

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Little crab

After a while I left Chris to go further, as walking on the sand was tough on my still painful bruised shin. I walked back through the shallows, enjoying the sight of the lovely shells and passing some more local unloading a fishing boat.

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Unloading a boat

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Another fishing boat

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Passing boat, with passengers

I relaxed for a bit on one of our beach loungers, then when Chris returned went in the sea for a swim. We then spent time in the lounge area, making use of the WiFi to check in for our return flights.

After lunch I had another dip in the sea and we relaxed on the beach loungers and later on our terrace. Late afternoon we got ready for a nocturnal walk with the resident guide.

Before setting out on the path our guide took us to look up into one of the palm trees on the beach, where some fruit bats were just waking up.

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Fruit bat

In the mango trees behind the property we saw a troop of fork-marked lemurs, a nocturnal lemur species. They too had just woken up and were calling to each other and leaping around in the trees. I found it impossible to take any photos of them as they were high up and partly hidden by foliage. But after pointing the camera at a tree for two minutes with video recording running I was able to catch one leaping from one tree to another. But blink and you’ll miss it!

Fork-marked lemur jump

We also saw several scops owls, land crabs, frogs (which I spotted before the guide), spiders and a giant snail. But our guide wasn’t as knowledgeable as we'd have liked. He couldn’t, for instance, tell us the species of the spiders we saw and didn’t share any facts about the various animals.

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Scops owls

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Frog

From later research I reckon the crabs were Madagascar hairy legged land crabs and the snail a species of African giant land snails.

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Madagascar hairy legged land crab

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Giant land snail

Meanwhile a lot of digging around on the internet leads me to believe that the spider might have been a thunberga greta, a relatively recently (2020) discovered species of huntsman spider, named of course for the Swedish environmental activist. This spider has a unique pattern of dots on its back which matches those on my example. Check out this BBC article and see if you agree with my ID!

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Huntsman spider possibly Thunberga Greta

Once we’d finished the walk we went back to our tent to freshen up and then went for pre-dinner drinks. As we ate dinner we saw a lot of lightening, as on the last two nights but earlier. A strong wind got up and then the rain started. Even under cover were we getting a bit wet. By the time we’d finished our meal the storm had abated somewhat so we were able to get back to the tent despite some rain still falling. There we discovered that our electricity wasn’t working. At first we thought the storm must have caused a power cut, but the tents on either side of us had lights on. So I braved the rain again to return to the main area. One of the staff came back with me and identified that our fuse had been tripped. It turned out that the solar power supply there wasn’t adequate for charging large devices such as Chris’s laptop, something we hadn’t been warned about. Now we knew he resolved to take it to the lounge tomorrow to charge it, so we could get ready for bed with lights on!

This featured blog entry was written by ToonSarah from the blog Travel with me ....
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By ToonSarah

Posted Mon, Jan 08, 2024 | Madagascar | Comments