After waiting almost one day at St Marie, at 6pm we were in front of the boat which was supposed to bring us to the North. We were told not to take small boats but only big once for such a long travel (18-20 hours) as it could be dangerous and risky. Our boat was far from big but we decided to consider it as average and never admit to ourselves that she was more in the range of the small boats… In fact Damien made almost a miracle to find this boat!
We left at 6.30pm, the captaint was silent, serious and dark (for us this was equivalent of concentrated and brave). Anyway he also looked as if he is not from the type of captains keeping the principle 'the captain leaves the boat last'. Therefore I checked all safety jackets and safety boats on board. There were around 6-7 jackets (we were around 20 people on board) + a big safety boat (for 10-15 people). Later on we understood that the boat belonged to one of the passengers – a diver going to find a ship sunk few months ago somewhere at the North. So we were lucky he was with us on board.
In the beginning the ocean was smooth with many stars in the sky, almost full moon, and we were travelling by the land of St Marie – everything looked nice. An hour later this changed quite rappidely and stressfully for us – the waves became bigger and bigger, we were already in the open ocean, the boat was lying on its left side (probably it was better for climbing the waves but it looked really scary) and it started to move so much left and right, up and down. We sent the kids to bed as they were pale and with stomach acke. Their bed was exactly above the boat engine so the steam and the oil smoke was coming at big waves through the open door in the floor. The view from the window was changing: either it was almost see water or almost only sky. It’s good the kids managed to fall asleep.
Me and Damien stayed outside but not for very long. From the swinging I had the feeling we will fall down in the ocean. Exactly like an ostrich I was closing my eyes so not to see what was happening around. I swore I would never argue with the kids again if we survive, I also swore I would never travel by boat again (sorry, Vladko…).
I spent the dark part of the night in the bed of the kids. Damien spent the night outside at the back of the boat, lying on a small part of a mattress together with 3 other people.
Early morning, all of us were half sleeping and waiting so impatiently for the light to come. Finally 4.30am arrived. A small grey light appeared in between the clouds and one hour later the sun slowly slowly started to show its morning light. The ocean stopped looking so scary, the swinging of the boat started to look very normal with its repetativeness.
We arrived in front of our final destination at 10am. The captain made one unsuccessful attempt to dock the boat. There was no port and a lot of coral around the beach. The place looked deserted land with 2-3 houses standing there like remains of an ancient tribe. Obviously for the first time he was trying to stop there. His navigation equipment consisted of 3 members of the equipage – fully concentrated and trying to guess where the rocks are and gesticulating nervously. We didn’t succeed, the water was not transparent enough so we continued almost 2 hours up North, where we found a little bigger village and a small corridor to pass through the waves.
It was such a relief to step on the sand. The next day we were still feeling dizzy as if the land was moving under us but we were happy we tried this way of transportation in Madagascar.