A year and a half later, Fama the « fondy » (boatbuilding master in Malagasy) went to the forest with a handful of lumberjacks and his templates handed on from generation to generation, looking for “nato” branches (a local bent hardwood) with the right curvature to become the ribs of their boat.
So they settled on Vezo territory, the cradle of the West coast fishermen and seafaring people. They lived amongst them for over two years, the sound of mallet and axe setting the rhythm of their days.
Two years of hard work, in the midst of some twenty other “botry” being built.
Two years of being amazed by these naval craftsmen who disregard modern technology for ancestral know-how. (See the photo gallery at BOAT BUILDING)
Then came the big day. Their NOFY BE (“big dream” in Malagasy) was finally ready for her sea launch. After the sacrifice of a 200kg zebu, a night long party and several gallons of rum, her imposing hull pulled by hundreds of villagers dived into the water. And according to “Vezo” tradition Fred and laetitia had to follow her head first!
But that wasn’t the end of the story. It took them almost another year to install the rigging, sew the sails, bed her engine in and fit out the living quarters.
Mid June 2009 she was finally ready for her maiden voyage. A crew of six strong “Vezo” sailors was needed.
There are no winches on such traditional wooden sailing boats. Her six heavy cotton sails all have to be hoisted by hand.
Ever since she delights us all gliding along the West coast of Madagascar with the charm of an old gaffer made of beautiful local hardwoods.
Besides the stock of rice, vegetable, fruit and spices that we carry in our hull, we barter with local fishermen, hunt with spear guns and fish daily for fresh seafood that our cook prepares for us on the traditional deck gully.
Led by the winds on a trip back in time, we discover incredibly beautiful landscapes, endemic fauna and flora, a breathtaking underwater world and amazing people. All that, far off the beaten tracks and at the chilled out pace of the Malagasy “mora mora”.