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Old 11-02-2013, 10:30 AM   #46
Franck B OP
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Location: French living in Munich, Germany
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Due to our various aquatic adventures in algae rivers, we were late on schedule. We had a bit less than 2 hours left before sunset for more than further 70km of fast yet demanding trails. Patrick, Antonio and Mauro took the safe option of the road + 20km of broad sand track to reach Zoe, while Thierry, stunt man Marc and I went for the zipping through program.

All ran just fine in our new 3-head group, the sunset light were magic and the adrenaline of zipping through it made it even most exalting.

A zipping-inviting trail:


A show stopper, enemy of any zipping intention:


Zippers:




From the heat generated by our knobbies scratching the ground at full speed, the land caught fire:



although Thierry explained me later that the fire was put on purpose on sugar cane fields to eliminate leaves, insects, parasites and animals of all sorts just before harvesting

Actually we were not zipping all along. The trail, besides the traps always present, also hat portions with rocks and gaps, and it was crossing many villages. It was great to cross villages at this hour of the day, because all had came back from field work, the kids were out from school, there was lots of animation, people cooking and busy in the village. As usual, when we passed, people and kids were waiving at us. Kids always very excited. Us passing the village seemed like an extraordinary show for them they would want to miss.

Franck B screwed with this post 11-04-2013 at 01:03 AM Reason: typo
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Old 11-02-2013, 02:40 PM   #47
Franck B OP
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We joined the others at Zoe, time to relax after a long day. It was also our last evening with Mauro, who decided to leave very early on the net day to join by the road Ankify and catch the ferry back to Nosybe. We tried to convince him to put his turn light left when passing Ambilobe to join us for the East coast, but he had to go back. We had a last drink.


Again, Zoe prepared a nice meal. A bit more chatting with Mauro and it was time for a tight sleep.
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:13 PM   #48
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Wink Day 7 : Antsavibe - ambilobe - vohemar

The 20km of sand track to Ambilobe were promptly swallowed.

From there, our program for the day was simple: take 164km yellow thing on the map:


I say yellow "thing", because it looks like a road on the map. And itīs also the only access by road to the east coast. It is a place where 4x4 can and do ride, off-road trucks too.
In many other places in the world, one would imagine such a stretch with some asphalt and graded gravel.

These 164 km were more to be compared with the whooped Baja race tracks. Broken bridges, whoops 1 meter deep, all fine if one rides turtle pace, but our rallye experience led us to a higher pace, without "danger" indicated on the roadbook. So, some head shaking and high focus.

Now and then, the road crossed a big village



After about 50km, I saw Thierry almost loosing control on a whoops section. When I stopped next to him, it was clear why. The big repeated hits on the whoops resulted in breaking his foot peg support . Thierry hit the ground hard with his right foot, and succeded to keep his bike in line.
Luckily no injury, but no way the trip could be continued without a right foot peg.

After a first failed attempt to fix the foot peg with his teeth...

...eventually, at the next village, 2km away, Thierry went fishing for information. 7km further away was a welder. A gas generator, a dozen people waiting for their tools or bicycle to be fixed. The welder gave us a VIP ticket and promptly solved our issue:

Franck B screwed with this post 11-03-2013 at 04:19 AM Reason: pic teeth
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:14 AM   #49
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Thumb addendum day 1

As promised video screen shots added for day 1 on post #13 and #14
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:37 AM   #50
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Franck thank you for taking us away from the comfort of our couch and showing us around. Awesome adventure and report
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Old 11-03-2013, 05:34 AM   #51
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The yellow road/trial at itīs best:


And some more twisty portions


...crossing or following rivers...
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Old 11-03-2013, 05:52 AM   #52
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Cool2 The sphene hunter

We had 2/3 of the dayīs program behind us when we stopped for lunch at Daraina.

There, being already used to local vehicles, what a surprise to see, parked outside a gargotte, a brand new Yamaha YZF250. This is the place we chose for our break


Entering the gargotte we introduced ourselves to the rider. He was from Sri-Lanka and his reason to be here was sphene hunting. He had the bike prepared for him to reach the spots of the mountains where sphene was found.

What is sphene, we asked (wouldnīt you ?). Sphene is a gem. And from the little bag he showed us, he could resell for 11,000$ only for the raw gems, in Hong-Kong or Tokyo, he said:


Soon our sphene hunter had to leave. We wished each other good luck in our respective quests. The way the chain was overtight and the way he drove away, he probably had not much experience on his bike. But locals do love bikes with strong sound, he had the right tool to show off.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:01 AM   #53
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Love this!
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:38 AM   #54
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lunch time in the gargotte


No sphene in our pockets when we left, but 7 days of precious memories already.

Aproaching Vohemar, the landscape changed from reddish to greenish tones


It was not yet 3PM when we entered the town of Vohemar, situated directly on the Indian Ocean


Once in our cosy hotel "la baie dīIrihana", directly on the beach, plenty of time left to enjoy a refreshing bath in the ocean


Noticed the catamaran...

When sunset approached, we went for a walk along the shore direction downtown.. on our way we met a group of enthusiastic off-road racers


showing us best tricks how to power-slide curves in the sand
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:36 AM   #55
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Further away was the eveningīs fish market..


We bought fish at a young fishmonger...



... who then arranged with the bar next door to have them fried as appetizer for us. That was a nice appetizer, the fish got quickly fried and further processed:


Then up for diner in a nice gargotte and a bier in a bar
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:05 PM   #56
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Cool2 Day 8 : Vohemar - Andapa

Breakfast time and camel-bag filling session in Vohemar...


.. in the company of Mrs and Ms...


Our trip started with one hour asphalt to the south.

The landscape had changed dramatically from what we had seen until now




Along the road, vanilla was being dried under the sun


soon after we took a left onto a long narrow trail.



the forest all around was full of vanilla. We luckily met two specialists. They showed us how they fertilise the vanilla flowers, one by one, by turning their pistil upside down. They do it 1000 times a day, walking around the forests.


vanilla when still hanging, and itīs flower
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #57
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the trail went always deeper into the forest.. we passed a few rivers




until we hit the Bemarivo river


actually the two men on the pic below walked it... maybe possible ? We will never know



From there, we joined a broader trail that was running along the river. It had bridges...

long


short


modern

Franck B screwed with this post 11-03-2013 at 12:19 PM Reason: pics mess
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:56 PM   #58
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the bridge led us back onto the asphalt. Soon after, we hit the cross-section to Sambava. A few gargottes along the road. Time for lunch


the yellow fruits are from the big jack fruits, they call it "finesse".

gas station next door


in case you ever wonder about prices and standard of life in Madagascar: Letīs say in your home land you want to watch a football game and after that you wish to go to the disco. Figure out a budget.
In Sambava this will cost you all together 0,50Eur :
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:41 AM   #59
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Asphalt road in almost perfect condition...



should anyone like scenic landscape, and not have too much experience in riding, one may rent a scooter in Vohemar and ride all the way to Andapa, 250 km away (probably with a stop in Sambava). Both road conditions and low amount of traffic combined with breath taking landscape would make it very enjoyable.











The quite straight road changed into a serpentine road through the mountains



...and down to Andapa

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #60
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At Andapa, quiet town, extensive rice culture there, itīs the region that produces most rice of Madagascar. Some Chinese influence from migrants from the old colonial times.

Mixed dinner, both at the night market...



and at a Chinese restaurant, a traditional one with the pivoting centre plate..

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