Lemurs of Madagascar

Madagascar was created millions of years ago when it broke off from the African continent.  It is home to a large population of endemic animals, plants, and birds which according to our on board lecturer qualifies it as the eighth continent in the view of some scientists.  The most famous of these animals is the lemur, so my tour was to Nose Komba or Isle of Lemurs where we would visit a park.   Susan went on a different tour, but she saw a wider variety of lemurs than I did.

Periodically, visitors in dugout canoes would pull up to our ship.  This one had bananas and other fruit.  I am pretty sure the ship needs larger quantities than he had and the passengers have no need to purchase a banana.

When we first arrived, I thought Saturday must be laundry day as there were things hanging on a line at every structure.

We had a wet landing from the ship and the water was as warm as our pool water in August.  The children were playing in the ocean.

As we started the walk up the hill to the lemurs, it became apparent that the things on the line were for sale.  The island has no electricity and no vehicles.  Some houses had one or two solar panels.  I believe every family on the island made their income by selling to tourists.  There was a constant string of sales stands until we reached the park.

Our guide explained the importance of this tree in constructing dwellings.  The leafy part of the dead leaves hanging down are used to make roofs and the stems are used to make walls.

You can see the construction technique using the leaves in this building.

Many of the women had decorations on their face that also protected their skin from the sun.  The men did not do this.

There is only one variety of lemur on the island.  The brown ones are female and the black ones are male.  The females are dominant.  Many people had their picture taken with a lemur on their shoulder.  You simply turn your back to the lemur and hold your hand in front of you with a piece of banana in it.  I did not opt to do this, but they are exceedingly cute.

There were also turtles…

…and geckos.  This gecko was about twice the size of those at home.

Our friend Mary tried holding the snake.

Madagascar is also home to several varieties of baobab trees, but we didn’t see any.  However, there was a lot of foliage and interesting trees.

While it wasn’t  as prevelant as in other African countries, the women still carried baskets on their head.  Our guide said men carry things on their shoulder.  I wonder if she modeled for the painting she is passing by?

There were dugout canoes scattered along the beach.

Susan had a tour on the larger island of Nosy Be, which was our port.  She had a van trip around the island which also had a lot of vendors.  The top picture is a village where the houses are concrete domes.

She visited a different nature reserve where she saw black and white lemurs as well as the lemurs I saw.

She also saw this very large chameleon. It was a very hot, humid day and both of us were drenched when we got home. Part of the problem is that the tenders are packed with people and have minimal ventilation. The tenders also serve as the lifeboats when they are filled with even more people. I can’t imagine being on the lifeboat in this weather.

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