We have to get up very early today. Our plane is scheduled for 06:00, and according to our guide this first plane to Ile Ste Marie is the only flight of the day that always leaves in time. I wake up 5 minutes before our 3:00 alarm call. Soon after, our breakfast arrives at the room: two hot chocolate and one cold coffee, with some energy bars. We leave the hotel with Jean-Jacques before 4:00, and arrive at the airport in far under an hour. Jean-Jacques stays with us until we get through all the checks. These are a bit more involved here than they were in Toliara; we actually have to repack some liquids and gels into our checked luggage before we can get through the lines. The closing of the checkin counters at 5:00 is announced several times, boarding the ATR-72 starts at 5:25 and the plane indeed leaves the gate in time. The flighttime to Ste Marie is 55 minutes. During that short flight we get some sweet bread and a glass of water.
After landing and recovering our luggage we find the hotel car where we leave our luggage, and we take the Zebu-cart for the 500m to the hotel. It is 7:30 when we check in, and our room will be ready in an hour. Since we had breakfast already "twice" this morning, we only get ourselves a coffee in the bar, and then watch a group of tourists leave on the whale trip for the morning. We are told that our own whale-spotting trips are planned for Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but soon after our room becomes available we are called that plans have changed: a storm is predicted for Thursday, so our second whale-watching trip is moved to Wednesday morning.
Just outside of our room, Maxim discovers a hang-mat, and immediately falls asleep, recovering some of the time lost during the night. During this time I take one of the bicycles of the hotel, and make a quick tour around until about 4km north of the hotel. Here there is a nice view of the ocean and I can see the blow-outs of whales in the distance.
After lunch in the hotel we check out the local reefs outside the hotel. Unfortunately the wind and waves make this a less pleasant experience, and we quickly give up. Instead, we rest on the wooden pier, and make a quick swim in the protected area of the sea ("pool") where we see a surprising number of different fish. We take a shower, make a walk in the village close to the hotel, but when we set out to make a bicycle trip together pouring rain convinces us to stay put. Instead, we read a bit in our rooms, waiting for an early dinner. A group of musicians from Toliara is in town and plays music next to the pool in the hotel. After dinner we quickly go to bed: our whale tour is tomorrow morning at 8:00.