Comoros

 “Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.”

Jamie Lyn Beatty

The Comorian archipeligo which is located in the Indian Ocean and lies between the east coast of Africa and the west coast of Madagascar.  Three of the four islands are owned by Comoros while the fourth Mayotte, although claimed by Comoros is administered by France.  Comoros is sometimes called the ‘perfumed islands’ due to the plants including ylang-ylang, jasmine, frangipani and lemon grass grown there.  The official languages spoken are Comorian, French and Arabic.  Most Comorians are Sunni Muslims.  Comoros is one of the world’s poorest countries and there economy is based on fishing and subsistence agriculture.

We spent a few weeks on the island of Anjouan (Nzwani).  After arriving in Mutsamudu, Comoros we had immigration visit each of the boats and then the adults set off to finish the clearance process.  We wandered around town admiring the views over the harbour as we went.

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Andrew met the local football (soccer) team and posed for a photo with them.

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Around dusk on our return to the boat we could hear lots of women’s laughter and music.  As we came closer we could see a courtyard spilling over with brightly dressed women, who were eager for us to join them.  After some discussion it appears that there was a pre-wedding celebration, for women only.

Our men stayed in the periphery watching, while us women cruisers were greatly encouraged to join in the dancing.  Women paired up with us and wrapped brightly coloured sarongs around us as they tried to teach us how to dance by moving our hips.  I failed miserably at the dancing. 

It seemed to be mainly the adult women who joined the dancing, the younger girls hung around talking and watching.

Of course there was seating for when you needed a break from all the dancing.  We didn’t stay long but it looked like the party would be going for  a long time.

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We returned to the boat to discover that the some locals had tried to board the boat with all the kids, Jamie from Totem had been nearby and helped to chase them off.  I must admit we locked up our companion way when we went to bed and some of our hatches.

As is the case after a passage we all needed fresh fruit and vegetables and the kids needed to get off the boat.  So we set off.  We did discover an impromptu band session going on.  Although the members were probably all under the age of 10 and it was being held in a makeshift cubby house.  Not sure if the parents have noticed some missing sarongs yet.  It always amazes me how kids can improvise with things they find lying around to create their own musical instruments.  The kids after some encouragement did play for us.

DSCF6123 (800x654) Most people use sunscreen, shirt and a hat to protect themselves from the sun, but these construction workers found sheets of plywood to be more effective.

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We stopped at the lookout for an obligatory photo stop with the kids before haggling with the fruit and vegetable vendors for a fresh produce at the local market.

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Around Island Tour

We did a bus tour of the island of Anjouan with some of the cruisers we were travelling with.  As we were  driving to our first stop a strong aroma of cloves could be smelt, it was then we noticed along the roadside and on roofs were tarps spread with drying red cloves.

Our first stop was a ylang-ylang distillery set in a ramshackle shed.  I have to admit that ylang-ylang is one of my favourite scents, so it was pretty cool to see the whole process to make the fragrant oil, most of which is shipped to France for use in perfume.

There were a couple of very cute little boys sitting on a thatched roof watching us while we visited the distillery.

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Our drive to Moya talk us through the hills where we stopped to look at the view and met some of the friendly locals walking by.

We reached Moya where we wandered the maze of streets to a small hill with a lookout over the water and town.  The boats had obviously just come in and were busy unloading their catches, while the many goats surrounding us and climbing the trees watched on. Andrew smiled and waved at all the little kids and like always managed to elicit shy smiles back.

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We stopped at a restaurant with a great view for lunch, but the best part was this makeshift goat pen, I love it!  A very unique re-use and recycle idea.

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