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VIII 2012 – Madagascar, part I

 

 

   This trip was one of the bigger ones in this year for us. We went to Madagascar (Asia and me) partly for minerals, partly for holidays.
   We flew, as always, to Antananarivo (called shortly Tana). After a short stay, visiting some friends and dealers we drove to Antsirabe – mineral and gemstone center of Madagascar. We spent there several days with friends and examining the local minerals.
   We made a trip to the Sahatany Valley where a new pegmatite with enormous pocket was recently discovered. First we went down to the Tsarafara pegmatite which turned out to be quite heavily worked. After visiting there, we went to see the new pegmatite called Estatoby. A huge pocket that yielded about 1000 kg of gem tourmaline and numerous crystals was found there in Jun. Some of specimens reached 2-5 or even 7 kg! The biggest ones are too thick to show the color in the normal light, but when backlighted they turn out to have an incredible color zoning. Smaller crystals have very clearly visible color zones – usually green in the center and pink at the termination. Analysis carried out in Warsaw showed that they are true liddicoattites.
   After visiting pegmatite and buying some specimens we went to Antokambohitra hill where another pegmatite is mined. From there we walked back to the Ibity village where our car was waiting.
   During our stay in Antsirabe we had luck to acquire some superb tourmalines from the area and from Bevoandrano pegmatite, as well as huge rhodizite/londonite crystals reaching up to 4 cm.
After relaxing stay in Antsirabe we came back to Tana and flew to Fort Dauphin. It is a town located in the most south-eastern part of the Island in the tropical wet climate. Town is placed on a spectacular peninsula surrounded by cliffs and beaches. Its inhabitants can enjoy they eyes with a great view from the town center to the big bay and mountains covered with a rain forest.
   From Fort Dauphin we made a trip to the Nahampoana Park which is a great place to observe lemurs, crocodiles and plants. Lemurs living there are used to the tourists, so if you take bananas with you, the whole hordes jump on your back immidiately…
   From Nahampoana we drove along the coast to the beautiful bay Sainte-Luce. In that area an unusual endemic carnivorous plant - Nepenthes madagascariensis is very common, it forms the whole Nephentes-fields.
   Finally we arrived to Sainte-Luce - the beautiful sandy beaches and metamorphic rocks forming hills and small islands in the deep blue water. The best view is from the top of the nearby hill – breathtaking.
   From Fort Dauphin area we moved to the west visiting Berenty Park, where the  dry spiny forest is preserved. Spiny forest is an unique ecosystem existing only on Madagascar and built by endemic very strangely looking plants. This forest is also a house for lemurs and many endemic species. We had luck to see there and photograph one of the smallest living mammals – mouse lemur – it reaches the size of a human finger when adult!
   Continuing our journey we drove along the national road number 13 – real horror – to the Ampandandrava phlogopite mine. As usually we went underground, this time luckily there was electricity available so we didn’t have to use our car battery to make the mine lift working (see report from the previous trip here). During exploration of the tunnels, we found some huge phlogopite crystals in situ reaching about 70 cm in diameter.
   After the underground walk we visited the local "factory" where the women cut mica using knifes, hands and feet. Quite impressive to imagine that in these primitive conditions the advanced electronics` elements are born ….
   We also bought some big crystals of phlogopite and ugly but huge green apatites.
   From Ampandandrava we continued our journey along RN 13 driving to the North. We explored some new pegmatites located close to the road but didn’t have much luck in finding specimens.
   Our next goal was Ihosy area, which is famous for corundums. Old vein producing big bicolor corundums with white feldspar rim is pretty much exhausted, but the new one is producing now quite interesting material.
   New corundums are smaller but usually sharper, have better luster and are more gemmy. What is interesting they also have rim but this time made of red garnets! The biggest crystals reach up to only 2-3 cm but after cleaning they are really spectacular.
   From Ihose we continued our drive to the west going through Toliara to our favorite spot – Sarondrano fishermen`s village. We spent there some great time as always relaxing, swimming and enjoying the delicious see food.
   From Sarondrano we moved to the north along the coast to Ambolimailaka village. We found out that a really interesting "spectacle" takes place there daily. Every morning over 300 hand made boats with sails made of rice bags set off for the catch. Around 12.00-13.00 they start coming back from all directions. As soon as they reach the shore, crowd gathers around the fishermen trying to buy fish in exchange for bread, manioc, fruits and all other kinds of food. The women set up small shops and bars for the fishermen who have just got back, are surely hungry and have the fish to exchange for baked manioc. The whole situation looks like a big market on the beach. In the same time kids are playing in the sea, making small models of the pirogues, running, screaming, fishing, playing football, looking for crabs and octopuses…. a real mess and an incredible spectacle.
   From there we drove to Andavadoaka which I visited last time about 10 years ago and than it was a very wild village, with no tourists, hotels and almost without a road. Today Andavadoaka is still not a touristic place, but there are some small hotels and even primitive airport with Air Madagascar flights onece a week! The only road is still really horrible, there is 8 km drive on the dunes with soft deep sand… Anyway the village and coast are still very beautiful – sandy beaches located between the rocks, rocky islands and coral reefs. Beside of the beautiful coast Andavadoaka is famous for the very unusual baobabs – stubby, very short, but extremely fat. They look very unreal. What’s more, some of them have the trunkcovered with fungi, it looks like regular paintings.
   We spend a few days in the area enjoying nature, people, food and parties.
   On our way back we decided to stay again in the Ambolimailaka to see once more the boat-market-beach-chaos spectacle. Again we had a great fun there!
   Finally we arrived to Toliara, from where we flew back to Tana, from where we drove again to Antsirabe. Unfortunately there is no airport in Antsirabe, so we know the road from the capital to our favourite town very well. We had a few days more so we used them for visiting one of the zepter localities in the area, but had not much luck there.
   After packing all stones we moved back to Tana from where we flew back to Europe.
   That was a great mineralogical-touristic trip! Surely we will be back to Madagascar soon!
   

Tomasz Praszkier

 

 See Madagascar specimens for sale in our store


 

Short movie from the trip.

 

Madagascar, the area we visited is marked. Google maps.

 

As always - we landed in the capital - Antananarivo (Tana). Google Maps.

   

First we visited a friend selling celestite from Sakoany, Katsepy. J. Gajowniczek photo.

    

First we visited friend selling celestite from Sakoany, Katsepy. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

First we visited friend selling celestite from Sakoany, Katsepy. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Celestites and kids. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

From Tana we drove to Antsirabe - the mineral capital of Madagascar. Google map.

   

The main street in Antsirabe, it is supposed to be a representative boulevard. J. Gajowniczek photo.

      

Rickshaw - the main mean of transport in the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

One of very few beautiful buildings in the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Entrance to the main market. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

At the market. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Malagasy export a lot of spices but for some reason they never use them in their kitchens. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Your dinner is here! J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

At the market. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

At the market. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

At the market. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

At the market. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Sleeping on the guts. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

After shopping you can take one of hundreds of rickshaws. J. Gajowniczek photo.

  

Poinssetia called traditionally Star of Bethlehem or Christmas Star. J. Gajowniczek photo.

  

Antsirabe is the minerals and gems capital, monument in front of one of the hotels. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Even some cars have minerals painted on them. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

The main market with minerals and gems. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

The main market with minerals and gems. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

The main market with minerals and gems. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

The main market with minerals and gems. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Quartz from the Mahaiza area. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Quartz from the Mahaiza area. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Demantoids on calcite from Antetezambato. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Selection of turmalines. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Antsirabe area is most famous for the tourmalines. J. Gajowniczek photo.

  

  

Emerald green tourmaline from Bevoandrano pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

  

Emerald green tourmaline from Bevoandrano pegmatite. G. Bijak photo.

  

Citrine from the Mahaiza area. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

New garnets from the south. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Garnets from the Mahaiza area, 6 cm wide specimen. G. Bijak photo.

 

There is several localities for rhodizities around Antsirabe, crystal 3,6 cm. G. Bijak photo.

  

Rhodizite from Antsongombato. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Rhodizite from Antsongombato, crystal 4.2 cm. G. Bijak photo.

 

  

As usually we made a trip from Antsirabe to the famous Sahatany Valley. J. Gajowniczek photo.

  

View to the Sahatany Valley. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Walking through the valley. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Walking through the valley, a shop in the background. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Kids playing. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Kids. J. Gajowniczek photo.

  

Constructions. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

   

Old church. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

The most important pegmatites in the valley that has recently produced colorful tourmaline crystals. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

One of many shafts. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Kids playing in the workings. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Kids playing at miners. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Sieving kaolinized pegmatite in search of gems. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite, Mt Ibity in the backround. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Looking for gems. J. Gajowniczek photo.

   

Workings in the Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Classic multicolor tourmalines from Tsarafara pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Big rubelite from Tsarafara. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

The same specimen backlighted. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Nice well teminated polychrome tourmaline. M. Oleszczuk collection. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Newly discovered Estatoby pegmatite which produced in June an enormous pocket with gem tourmalines - over 1000kg of gem material and many high quality crystals. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Workings in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Workings in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Workings in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Miners in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Miners in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Miners in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Going down to the shaft. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Workings in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Workings in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Going down to the shaft. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Miners relaxing on the sun. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

View to the new workings. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Tourmaline offered by the miners, found recentely in the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Tourmaline in matrix from Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Multicolor tourmaline from Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Multicolor tourmaline from Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Multicolor tourmaline from Estatoby pegmatite. J. Kureczka and J. Fisher collection. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Multicolor tourmaline from Estatoby pegmatite. J. Kureczka and J. Fisher collection. G.Bijak photo.

 

Multicolor tourmaline from Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Multicolor tourmaline from Estatoby pegmatite. G. Bijak photo.

 

Huge crystal offered for sale, Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Huge crystal offered for sale, Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Another big crystal from the find. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

The same crystal backlighted. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

2 kg heavy gemmy crystal from the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

2 kg heavy gemmy crystal from the Estatoby pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Close up of the crystal, visible etching figures. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

The same crystal backlighted showing superb color zoning. M. Oleszczuk collection. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Smaller floater from the find. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

The same specimen. G. Bijak photo.

 

Moving further through the valley. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Rice fields. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Sahatany river. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Leaving the valley. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

View to the Valley from Antokambohitra. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Antokambohitra pegmatite. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Antokambohitra pegmatite, note the numerous miners. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Walking to the Ibity village. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Walking to the Ibity village. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

From Antsirabe we came back to the capital and flew to Fort Dauphin. Google maps.

 

Forth Dauphin (Tolanaro) is located on spectacular peninsula with numerous cliffs. Google maps.

 

Dolphin - symbol of Forth Dauphin town, it has probably seen better times. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

View from the town center to the north. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Views from the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Views from the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

One of the beaches in Fort Dauphin. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

One of the beaches in Fort Dauphin. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

A shipwreck, last time I was here it was almost complete. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Views from the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Views from the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

Views from the town. J. Gajowniczek photo.

 

GO TO:   Part II   Part III




  Comments

Very nice guys. Excellent photographs and I very much like and enjoy the movie clip. Brings everything to life. Makes you want to go there yourself. :)
Inglim
2012-11-21 20:20:15


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