8 AM – the airport of Roland Garros de Saint Denis
-René and Laure embark for Madagascar
-Serge spent a sleepless night vomiting into the sea, which made Middleton rock dangerously. This morning he is unable to eat or drink anything.
11H45 – Tananarive airport (we pick up one hour: now we are only two hours ahead of France)
-Olivier Toboul’s team from Malagasy-Tours is waiting for us. Olivier, whom we met in France, signed up to be part of the adventure from the very beginning; a partnership, an exchange that fulfills a need I have for organizing the logistics of our adventures, but which I always find difficult to delegate. Danz and Momo accompany us to the center of Tana. They will be our preferred drivers. We start by looking for a 3G key that works with Windows 8 – 64 bites, this takes us a total of 3 hours in 3 episodes but everything works. We go look at a truck that will be used to transfer Middleton, once she is on land, then we head for the APMF (the River and Sea Harbor Agency) to arrange for contacts on Sainte Marie, Tamatave and Maharanja.
We have not thought about having lunch, we carry on looking for a generator.
17H30 – We drop our awesome and numerous luggage at a small and very quiet hotel in the Ville Moyenne, which Olivier has reserved for us.
-Serge is worried about his heading; he continues to have the impression he is drifting and he does not always believe his compass. He can’t row because he is too sick so he props himself outside on the deck of his boat to rest. He feels weak and incapable of moving.
18H45 – another communication with Serge, who is afraid to go back into his cabin. He drank 4 mini cans of Coca Cola and ½ liter of water but he has not eaten anything since yesterday noon. He voice from beyond the tomb chills my blood. He asks my advice about using a patch of Scopoderm, prescribed by his physician because the motion sickness medicine Mer Calm is of no help. I tell him to try it.
19H00 – we dine with Olivier and his wife, Nathalie. What good fortune to be able to talk about Madagascar and Tana but also about the logistic organization of the coming days. Olivier gives me a program put together by Véro, one of his team. He also gives me a local cell phone with the contact numbers for all the people in Malagasy Tours.
The questions remains, will Serge be able to reach Sainte Marie? We plan a meeting at the agency tomorrow to see the trailer and all the camping material, before heading east on Saturday.
René and I are washed out and we fall asleep immediately, with thoughts for Serge and the hope that he will finally be able to get a bit of rest.
6H35 – Serge calls me – he has not opened his PC since he left and he is having problems getting his bearings. He would like me to give him his heading via the internet site and he asks me to change the signal frequency to every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. Finally, he has a clear voice and he was able to sleep a bit last night and even have some breakfast: Lyo Food cereal.
6H45 – breakfast for René and me
7H30 – I change back the signal frequency to every hour. I have just called Serge; the heading is fluctuating between 290° and 300°. It’s good!
We leave, Danz is waiting for us and we go east to Tana and Mlagasy Tours, where we spend 2 hours.
After seeing several different generators, we go back to the first shop we saw. We leave the city in the direction of the airport to visit a company that may be able to stock he boat during the wait for Serge, then we go back to Tana and fill two shopping carts with food for Serge and the team. It takes almost 1H30 to get back to the hotel because of heavy traffic in Tana. We have spent a lot of time on the road today but the reward is that tomorrow, the first day of the weekend, there will be no chores.
We have decided to head east on Sunday. Tomorrow will be a day to take care of accounts, e-mails, the website and preparations for our arrival in Mozambique in a few weeks.
18H00 – Serge tells me that at noon he heated and ate Fleury Michon spaghetti Bolognaise and this evening he feels nauseous and is not hungry. He has seen nothing or anybody today, not even the shadow of a fish! There have been no messages via VHF. I ask him if he is bored and he says yes, a bit. Cut off from the world we call each other 2 to 3 times a day for 2 to 3 minutes at the most. I have sent several texts that he receives on his GPS beacon. By telephone or by text, Michel gives him the heading to set. Aside from rowing, sleeping, eating, washing himself a bit he no doubt thinks …. But about what because the landscape which often inspires him on the continents must be pretty monotonous here.
I am like you; I would like to know more. I have a thousand questions to ask and would like to see pictures and hear the sound of his voice on a message for you, dear Internauts; but for the moment the first priorities are to feel better, to row and most important to maintain his heading.