ChamEO Madagascar Expedition 2017 | Part II

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 3: Leave Antsirabe, Hike Ialatsara, and Arrive in Ranomafana

Welcome to the second installment of the Madagascar trip! On this day, day 3, I awoke after a horrible night with a fever of 102°F (yay!) In true mother-of-two-girls form, not two minutes after texting Elisa that I had a fever she and her daughter April showed up at my room armed with a thermometer and bags of medicine under each arm. Properly loaded up on Tylenol and a yummy breakfast we set off again. 

The food in Madagascar was honestly pretty good, but the breakfasts were particularly nice. In true French fashion, the spread every morning included coffee, teas, fresh fruit juices, fruit, bread, butter, fresh marmalade, and eggs in whatever fashion you wanted. Definitely a nice way to set off for the day!

We we sad to leave this hotel, I think. It just really was such a beautiful little place; an oasis in an otherwise unattractive, bustling little city. But on our way out April spotted a baby Oustalet's chameleon (F. oustaleti) from the night before a second time. 

Calumma Craig of Primo Chameleons

Tiny baby Oustalet's chameleon (F. oustaleti)

These pigs were, very literally, on their way to market. Alive, and on the roof because the van was full of people. 

Great little shop where I was able to get most of my souvenirs for friends and family. Authentic and not cheesy. 

Honestly, despite the few moments that we spent in the store I spent the entire morning stretched out across two seats on the bus, sleeping the fever off. I was not feeling great by lunch time, so when we arrived at Ialatsara Lemur Park I stayed on the bus to sleep a little longer while everyone got off to eat lunch with Daniel, the long-time director of this park. 

Just before setting out on the trip, Elisa had gotten news that Daniel had suffered a massive heart-attack, a wake-up-call that he was tired and ready to retire from this work. He had been in charge of protecting the park, its wildlife, and organizing guided tours for decades, but was not stepping down to live out his retirement in peace. Unfortunately for the wildlife and forests of Ialatsara, he estimated that without his stewardship the entire section of forest would be decimated to burns for charcoal in about 3 years. 

We were the last guided tour through this forest. 

Male O'shaughnessy's chameleon (Calumma oshaughnessyi)

Male O'shaughnessy's chameleon (Calumma oshaughnessyi)

There were clear lines delineating recent burns from slightly older burns. 

Elisa and Craig taking temperature and UVB readings.

Craig vlogging about the deforestation. Check out his Facebook page to hear his account!

Female O'shaughnessy's chameleon (Calumma oshaughnessyi)

Female O'shaughnessy's chameleon (Calumma oshaughnessyi)

Male O'shaughnessy's chameleon (Calumma oshaughnessyi)

Ryan, Attila, and Craig with one of our park guides.

The largest spider I've ever seen! Evan's hand was only 3-4 inches away, for size. 

From there it was a short drive into Ranomafana, where nearly the entire group did a night hike along the road. I was still pretty sick, even after sweating out most of the fever in Ialatsara! I did feel better in the evening, but not well enough to hike in the rain for a couple hours. Once they returned we arrived at our hotel in Ranomafana, where we would stay for two nights. 



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