In September 2016 we travelled to Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world. It is about the area of Texas and has a population of approximately 24 million. Seventy five percent of the people live in poverty with the yearly per capita income being $412. Sanitation is very poor. Improved sanitation is considered having flush or pour-flush toilet or pit latrine with slab or composting toilet. Only 12 percent of the population has improved sanitation. Eighty percent work in small scale agriculture with seventy percent of the population working in rice farming and most people eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The median age is 19.5 (U.S. is 37.9 years).
It is estimated that 90 percent of the original forest is gone from clearing the land for farming, and using wood for cooking (charcoal). There are 105 species of lemurs with 41 percent of them being threatened. More than half of the chameleon species in the world are found in Madagascar.
Madagascar completed its separation from Africa, Antarctica, and India around 90 million years ago. More than 75% of the 200,000 species of plants and animals evolved into species that exist no where else on earth. People didn't arrive until around 2000 years ago and 1000 years later most of the large animals became extinct.
We focused our trip on visiting national parks to see lemurs, chameleons, frogs, insects and other animals. We also saw lots of unusual plants. We saw a lot of amazing things on our trip, but we had to work physically hard for many of our great sightings.
Alaska 2013 Photos
We flew into Juneau, and then took a seaplane out to the town of Pelican located about 100 miles west of Juneau where we met up with Jay and Benita. We were then with them for 12 days on their trawler the Moon Angel in almost total isolation ending up at the end of the trip in the interesting town of Sitka. Sitka, with its rich long history of the Tlingit people evident everywhere and the more recent infusion of Russian and U.S structures, stories and people, is worth an extended visit.
We will be forever grateful for the invitation to join Jay and Benita. Good food, conversation and learning experiences provided by them will last our coherent lifetimes.