The Emerald Sea

"An emerald green lagoon"

La mer d'émeraude, Diego Suarez, Madagascar

Swept by a strong trade wind called Varatraza, which blows constantly from June to October, the Diego Suarez region is not in itself a seaside destination. Windsurfing enthusiasts and other Kitesurfers were not mistaken and found on the paradisiacal beaches of the Indian Ocean superb spots to play. Only a small lagoon resists, protected by a barrier of coral and tends to give the region its greatness. At departure of Ramena, the boats with latin sails, the legacy of the first sailors from the Middle East, leave this small fishing village to take the white sand lovers to the beautiful lagoon of the Emerald Sea.

Dhow de pêcheurs dans la mer d'émeraude, Diego Suarez, Madagascar

These dhows cross the length of the "great pass" and then head towards the "small pass", the shortest way to return in the lagoon. The sailors keep a close watch on the tide, for despite the weak draught of their dhows, the coral reefs scattered here and there sometimes close the access, and it is not uncommon to see a few novices planted there, in the midst of this passing patiently awaiting the rising of the waters. The lagoon is finally discovered, surprising by the color of its warm waters. The white sand of the seabed and the shallow depth give it a green emerald color, in which the marine turtles and manta rays are quietly swimming. This vast green expanse, sheltered from the waves of the Indian Ocean by a coral reef, and closed on the west by the peninsula of Babaomby, where proudly stands an original forest dominated by their imposing size the baobabs Suarezensis and Magascarensis.

It is on one of its two large islets "Nosy Suarez" and "Nosy Diego" that the sailors come to beachter their dhow, to organize memorable picnics composed of fresh fish accompanied by coconut rice, without forgetting the eternal punch coco, which delights lovers of authentic emotions. Formerly, the seabed around the islet were wonderful live aquariums, the over fishing, including octopuses, destroyed many corals, forcing amateurs to dive deeper and farther.

The place nevertheless retains a wild charm, disturbed by a flight of terns, where the color of the sky contrasts with that of an emerald green lagoon. An unforgettable discovery, which remains in the memory of men.

Text: : Peter Gregor
Photos Pierre-Yves Babelon
Thanks to Grand Hotel Diego Suarez, Babaomby Island Lodge

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