Day 95 was a sea day and we arrived in Port Dauphin Day 96 on the morning of April 8th. We are on the main pier at the dock also known as the only pier for the port.
We departed mid-morning for our included tour with Bosco as our guide. Bosco was an excellent guide and we enjoyed his commentary.
There is a nice beach adjacent to the port, which is owned by the mining company, but they allow public access.
Vegetation tends to be of the scrub brush variety.
We take a drive to an old fort, and view the village life along the way.
No such thing as what we would call a retail outlet, but we did drive through an extensive market area.
The market was very busy at this mid-morning time.
The only furniture shop we saw.
Many of the living conditions were very basic.
We arrived at the Fort.
This was next to the old port which had been used for the slave trade.
Fishing is important for today’s economy and these are their modern wooden fishing boats.
The locals have goods for sale and they are trying their best with gramma.
As we drove around this bay, there were several vistas with gorgeous views of beaches.
Including this one with our ship in the background.
We returned to the ship, passing many areas with basic living conditions.
After arriving back at the ship, we spoke with the Excursions Director and asked if there was anything available, as previously all the afternoon events had been sold out. We were extremely fortunate in that he had a remaining van for 4 people. There was another couple that also wanted to explore, so we all signed immediately and were on the road in 10 minutes. This turned out to be awesome.
Our new guide was Eric who also had excellent knowledge and English skills, so we learned a lot.
On the way to the park, we passed housing that was even more basic. They have no running water, electricity, or sanitation facilities.
The ladies are adept at carrying items on their heads.
We did pass many rice paddies.
And a variety of housing clusters.
This was our destination for the afternoon. This is a private reserve that is home to 5 species of lemurs, plus numerous other plants and animals. We are excited at the possibility of seeing King Julian.
The path into the park.
Lots of vegetation.
An ugly crocodile. There were originally 3 but this female killed the other two, so now she lives in this caged area by herself. Serves her right.
The kids bring chameleons by for us to see.
Vine with a large vanilla bean.
This fern leaf plant is known as Shy Lady because the leaves fold up if touched. They also fold at night.
Large bamboo. They rub together with the wind and make a low level thunder type sound.
The bamboo sheds it outer layer as the new growth underneath expands.
Now we start our search for lemurs. The first group we find are brown lemurs and
we are able with our small group to get close to them.
Next we locate a group of ring tail lemurs.
We have the chance to feed King Julian and his friends.
Gramma got a chance and
so did PaPa. It was really fun. They lightly grab your hand with one of theirs and gently pull it toward them so they can take the banana.
What, no more food?
We met our friends the Beech’s and
the Barney’s. Tony is always good for a chuckle.
Next group was the White Lemurs.
We saw a nice group of the White Lemurs.
We also saw this White Lemur sitting on the ground watching the people.
The fourth species of lemur we saw was the bamboo lemur. Took a long time to get this photo as they mostly hide in the bamboo. They do have a fifth species of lemur in this park, but we did not see them as they only work the night shift.
We did see more white lemurs in this area.
Next we saw several tortoises with
these interesting patterns on their shells.
For a break, Viking arranged for some local dance entertainment,
purchase of local goods
and a refreshment opportunity.
Time to say good-bye to King Julian and his buddies. That was really fabulous. We felt blessed to be able to see the various items in this park and reserve.
This church was on the road to the reserve.
Back to earth. More basic housing.
Extremely bumpy road.
We finally got back to a paved road but had to wait for the goose crossing.
Much of the local transportation is via bikes or walking.
Getting ready to depart. Tight spot to start from.
Here we are departing Port Dauphin. We had an amazing and eye-opening time today. Do not see how the tours could have worked out any better.