Madagascar Marvels Part V: Gecko love and a last blast on the mainland

One of the couples in the group on Sakatia had done this last part of my itinerary before getting to the island, so were keen on reporting how wonderful this leg of the trip would be. The woman was also very eager to remind me to check my shoes. While I didn’t know exactly how big the cockroaches were at that point, I’ve spent enough time in nature to cautiously ask why. She proceeded to tell me that she found a scorpion in one of her boots. One of the little white ones. Ew.

So as we drove the dirt road from the main road through dry, dusty, rustic little villages, I thought about scorpions. We were going to a Bush Camp, after all. The good news is that not one of the 52 (!!!) species of scorpions endemic to Madagascar is venomous. The little white ones, apparently, still pack quite a punch.

The 35kms took almost 2 hours (did I mention the state of the roads here?) and so almost felt like a commute back home, driving virtually the same distance from home to office in roughly the same amount of time. The difference of course being the crystal blue sky contrasting against the red-dusted, 38-degree air, the tsingy springing up out of nowhere and lining the last 5kms of the drive, the zebu-dodging we did along the way, the smiling and waving children singing “salut” at me as we drove down the road… so in reality exactly nothing like a commute, except possibly a better use of time.

The next couple of days were to be spent at the Iharana Bush Camp, situated on the edges of a Tsingy massif. I don’t think I was wholly prepared for the experience: in my head was a scorpion farm, or at least a rustic bush experience and all its accoutrements – rustic huts and scary toilets not least. In front of me as we drove up was an absolutely gorgeous natural wood and stone and thatch camp that seemed to bloom and wend in concert with its surroundings. There was only one place on the camp with electrical outlets. Internet only available in another area, and then for only a couple of hours a day. Shoes completely optional. A stiff breeze created its own air conditioning as the warm air wafted through the feuilles de satrana (the roofs were thatched with the leaves of the Bismarck palm, called satrana locally). My bungalow, crafted in the style of traditional Malagasy housing (per their website), overlooks the (at present very dry) lake and, beyond it, the Tsingy massif itself. I think the Tsingy creates its own magnetic field: it is so mesmerising that you simply can’t not look at it.

Because of the heat, we wouldn’t go out hiking until later in the day, so I arrived with enough time to settle in, greet my very sweet house gecko, and have lunch, at which they were serving the local poisson fumé, smoked fish. From day 1, if I could have eaten one Malagasy dish every single day, this would have been it!

After a siesta, the first hike was to the Mandresy Cave in Tsingy Mahaloka. Like the Red Tsingy, this cave seemed to have been dripped from a prehistoric giant’s sand bucket, the stalactites and stalagmites meeting in the middle to form artworks from the limestone. Bats, check. Precarious footing, check. If I’m honest, I’m lukewarm about caves in general; it’s not the enclosure, but more the lack of sunshine that makes me want to leave a cave about halfway through. Glad to have continued on this one though: the cavern, an impressive grotte des chauves-souris (squeaks audible well before we came upon them), was absolutely massive. This cave is locally known for its population of Rousettes – the Malagasy fruit bats (Rousettus madagascariensis), just one more endemic species of this wild place.

Look through these photos: there is a special one, where I turned around shortly after entering the cave and noticed that the entrance looks like Africa itself. My guides were equally moved by the sight!

I was waking up early every day; 4:30 or 5, listening to the sounds of the Crested Drongos, Malagasy sunbirds, and the different Couas…the dawn chorus played out in so many different keys. So by the time the carpet of stars rolled out, I was firmly planted in bed, cocooned by a mosquito net.

The next morning was an early start – we would be hiking to the roof of the Tsingy, on a private trail curated by one of the local naturalists. Same rules hold here: défense de tomber, as these Tsingys are no less sharp and unforgiving as the last. The views were nothing short of stunning! And no photos will do justice to the landscape that unfolded around each turn or over each viewpoint. I am a big fan of rocky, above tree level hikes, so this really ticked all my boxes as far as hiking goes. Note the birds (gray-headed lovebirds, a gorgeous red kite, crested drongos!!), as well as the carefully placed wood and wire footbridges and handrails.

A late-afternoon bike ride through the dry lakebed and into the local village was a treat. I can still hear the children’s calls of “salut, salut” as we rode past, the kids stopping to watch and wave. I smile to think of the man I saw so gently petting the head a zebu calf as he rested beneath a tree; his well-loved herd grazing nearby. He invited me over, “caresse, touche…” He wanted me to pet the calf as well. I did. Visitors, I think, are still something of a curiosity here, as tourism hasn’t really, fully taken hold. And so we rode through the village as life unfolded: tending chickens, weaving baskets, hand-hulling rice, playing football, chasing tires with sticks… “Don’t let the modern world steal this beautiful simplicity,” I want to shout; but the fact that many of these villages still don’t have clean water makes me hope for a happy medium once tourism comes via the new paved roads they’re building here.

At this point, had I known what the following days would entail, I would have extended my stay here. But since my future sight was wonky in the heat, I got up that next day, pulled my things together, and said au revoir to this lovely oasis by the Tsingy. Not captured on film: just before I left, I went back to my bungalow and said veloma, goodbye, to the very sweet day gecko who lived in the bathroom. More than once I found him drinking from the water left in the shower, so I made it a point to leave some water for him throughout my stay. It’s like he came down to say goodbye to me. So as I slowly reached a finger towards his little nose (thinking “boop” in my head), he looked directly at me and then bravely and tentatively took the drops of water I offered before retreating up into the satrana. It’s dry season here and every drop matters.

I walked away thinking about that tiny encounter, thinking that small gestures matter, that each critter has its place. Even the horrible hissing cockroach serves some reasonable purpose (even if they make one shudder to think about them).

When I go back to Madagascar, one of the reasons will be to return to the Iharana Bush Camp.

Madagascar marvels part IV: The most horrible thing in Madagascar, and why you need shoes.

After Amber Mountain, I arrived at my lodging, nestled nicely in the forest on the edges of the Réserve Spéciale d’Ankarana. Compared with the previous night’s lodge where I felt like an over-catered-to tourist, the Ankarana Lodge felt homey and perfect in its unassuming way. After checking in, the first thing I was asked was what I wanted for dinner. And though I had become used to this courtesy, it continued to strike me as brilliant simplicity. For most of the meals I took here, one had to order ahead, sometimes up to a day in advance. It made perfect sense because they are using local ingredients and buying only what’s needed on each day. For me it was also an opportunity to do some quiet self-reflection on both sustainability and privilege. Excess food is a privilege. Refrigeration is a privilege. The magnitude of choices available in the developed world is a privilege (and, frankly, also somewhat absurd IMHO). At one point during the trip, I commented on the generous meals served and was assured that “nothing goes to waste here.”

I had a few hours to kill in the heat of the day between that morning’s hike in Amber Mountain and the evening night walk I had scheduled with one of the lodge’s naturalists. Ankarana sits at a lower elevation than Amber Mountain. That, combined with the heat absorbed by the nearby Tsingy formations plus the unseasonable heat here, left the air tropical and thick and the ground feeling like it could melt your feet, tested and confirmed by my walking barefoot to read by the pool, only realising too late that my only saving grace would be to dunk the feet in said pool and either wait out the heat or hopscotch back to my room as quickly as possible while chanting the local remedy mantra: “Ow! Ow! Ow! Ouch! FFS! Oof…” Read this recent article in The Guardian on the October Madagascar heatwave.

In which I meet the thing I like least about Madagascar.

That evening, I met up with a kind local guide who led me through the trails in and around the lodge. We hiked around for an hour or so in search of night chameleons and the very cute and very nocturnal mouse lemur. As we came around one corner of the trail, he excitedly called me over to look closely at a palm frond. In it is resting a ginormous insect with too many legs and too-long antenna things. I am noticeably horrified and ask if it is going to fly at or jump on me. Grinning, the guide says something to the effect of non, il n’a pas des ailles. It doesn’t really matter that it doesn’t have wings, more that it just exists is a problem was my response. This, my guide tells me, is the cockroach (the Madagascar hissing cockroach to be exact). And my brain flashes on the fact that people in my part of the world keep these things as PETS! Gah! This, I tell him, is the most horrible thing about Madagascar. As he tries to explain to me their purpose: they are recyclers – they eat rotting plants and bugs to help break down organic matter in the forests, I agree their role is important but wonder to myself if this role could be filled by something much less terrifying.

I’m eager to move on and spot some less-frightening critters. Which we did: we saw some sleeping magpie-robins, some skittering mouse lemurs, and a humongous panther chameleon sleeping in the big tree near the entrance of the lodge.

I got into bed that night thankful that hissing cockroaches prefer to sleep in travellers palms and not traveller’s beds!

Tsingy Rary: Défense de tomber.

A note about the tsingy: I am sorry to report that Tsingy Rouge is, apparently, an imposter. Or, rather, a geologic novelty with aspirations of tsingy grandeur. So while I’m loath to call Tsingy Rouge not-a-tsingy, I think just maybe it’s riding the coattails of its sharper and more massif (sic) national park cousins. I say this because the real tsingy is actually a limestone karst landscape, and is organised in formations, some of which UNESCO calls a “forest of limestone needles” in the Andrefana Dry Forests on its World Heritage Sites list.

Apropos, in Malagasy, tsingy means “the place where one cannot walk barefoot”.

And so as we set out for Ankarana early the following morning, I had firm instructions: bring a hat and sun cream; wear hiking boots. We were going to see Tsingy Rary.

While rocks were our primary objective for the day, we found ourselves on several kilometres of beautiful trails beforehand, and saw a few Sandford’s brown lemurs and the wide-eyed Ankarana sportive lemur, as well as a pair of beautiful Madagascar Scops-owls. Despite the efforts of a group of Italian tourists to chat up the forest, it was really a spectacular hike… I could have marched around this place for days!

After a while in the forest, we arrive at a clearing where my guide signals we should stop, as he makes sure I’ve got my hat and sun cream on and gives me some words of caution: défense de tomber. In other words, there is only one rule: no falling. On that note, we continue over boulders that are becoming markedly more razor-like with every step. This is where I understand why one cannot walk barefoot here. The forest of limestone needles has begun. It is as spiny as it is vast, with the weird gray rock formations as far as the eye can see.

We traverse the exposed tsingy field, arriving at a long wooden footbridge that crosses a tsingy gorge. While I am not particularly afraid of heights per se, I am particularly uneasy around high and precarious situations that I might fall off of, backwards. And so, hands gripping the rails, I tuck in my fears and cross the bridge. Only to find another one, shorter but more precarious, waiting for me at the end of the next narrow and quite sharp stretch of tsingy. Défense de tomber indeed. This mantra will play in my head for the next 3 days.

We exit the Tsingy Rary via another really nice, forested trail, my guide pointing out the baobabs and other endangered flora as we walk to our outdoor picnic spot. We had ordered lunch from a woman in a little house earlier in the morning, and as we waited for the food to arrive we were entertained by a cheeky family of crowned lemurs honing in on a German family’s mangoes. One sassy lemur would hop down on the table and do the distraction dance while one or two of the others would come around the back and grab their objects of desire (baguettes and mangoes appeared to be their favourite). Note the baby in a couple of the photos (and its little hand jutting out from below its mother while in a tree nursing):

Luckily, the lemurs appeared to be mangoed-out by the time we had our lunch, so I got great photo opps and we were able to keep our mangoes for ourselves.

While it was blazing hot out (I think the thermometer read 38 in the shade that day), this didn’t dissuade me from wanting to explore more tsingys! Good call, because the next day we’d be going to what would turn out to be one of the most delightful lodges I’d ever stayed at: Iharana Bush Camp, and with it their own private tsingy.

Stay tuned for more stories and thoughts from Madagascar!

Madagascar marvels part III: What’s this tsingy?

After 10 days of sun and salt and sharks and palms, I did the Malagasy version of planes, trains and automobiles (pirogue and taxi and speedboat and 4×4), meeting up with a local guide and driver to see the national parks in the north of the country. On that first day, I had a bit of shell-shock with a 10 hour drive on terrible, not-quite-paved roads, from the port of Ankify to area near Joffreville. En route, I am sure I inhaled half a kilo of red clay dust, had a pit stop in one of the most unusual outdoor toilets I’ve ever experienced, and fully realised the value of a sea breeze as we drove towards dry season in the interior (hint: 39C feels quite different inland v the coast!).

I spent the hours in the car with a traveller’s guilt: the conflicting feelings of being privileged in affording this kind of trip while simultaneously observing straggly stick homes with no running water, outhouses, skinny zebu, over-farmed land; but also thriving local markets, self-sufficient small villages, and wide beaming smiles on everyone I encountered. I consider how complicated life back home is in comparison.

On this first day, a “travel day”, the saving grace was a quick stop for a nature thingy, a tsingy called Tsingy Rouge. You leave the main highway and wend through a maze of sand and clay-dirt roads to reach it, diggers and roadwork vehicles everywhere. They’re digging and paving in the name of modern infrastructure. As I watched the small rustic villages go by through my window, I considered whether modernization is really worth it. Water, yes. Sanitation facilities, of course. But the chaos these new roads will bring, and the tourism… can the ecosystems sustain the influx?

Tsingy was a new term for me. In Malagasy, it means “the place where one cannot walk barefoot.” As I was to learn, so named for good reason.

Tsingy Rouge is Madagascar’s miniature Grand Canyon. It’s a red (rouge) geologic marvel, formed of eroded laterite and looks like some prehistoric giant played sand castles and then got bored half-way through. It reminded me of a cross between a model of Bryce Canyon and a salt mine, out in the open even though it looks like the bottom of a cave. This place looks like it should be underwater – and it probably was, a million or so years ago – the formations were carved by the rivière Irodo.

At the time, I was road weary and dusty from the drive, but the short walk down into the tsingy and then the sight of some gray-headed lovebirds nesting in the red clay helped me reset. At the lodge that night, I chalked (clayed?) the day off to what it was, and delighted in the thought that tomorrow we’d be hiking through Parc National Montagne D’Ambre, Amber Mountain, and the hunt for chameleons would begin in earnest.

Zoom in on this map to see the different places I visited during the trip.

A slight detour about the climate of Madagascar. As the 4th largest island on this planet, Madagascar is simply enormous. So the country encompasses rainforest through savannah, with a dry season (of which we were at the end) and a rainy season. From zebu to man-on-the-street, it seemed like everyone was looking forward to the rains! In a recent article, The Guardian highlights that these inconceivable temperatures are a clear result of climate change. Entering Amber Mountain was like travelling through different worlds. On the one hand, it was hot and humid, and as we got into the forest the air turned almost sweet. On the other hand, it was so dry that the riverbeds were completely dried up and one of the waterfalls we were to see, there was not enough water for it to actually fall. I was thankful for the lush forest canopy to provide shade.

We hiked to the Cascade Sacrée (Sacred Waterfall) and the Mille Arbres (Path of a Thousand Trees) trail, all the while feeling ensconced in a terrarium separate from the hot and humid outside world.

Montagne D’Ambre feels like its own bioverse, with endemic birds, lemurs and chameleons found specifically in this reserve. It was very cool to actually find some of these critters, including the Amber Mountain rock thrush, the Amber Mountain chameleon, and the very adorable and teeny Mount D’Ambre leaf chameleon (note how small he is on my hand!). While not exclusive to Amber Mountain, the endangered Sandford’s brown lemurs were an amazing find, as was the very weird and master of camouflage leaf-tailed gecko (can you spot it in the last photo in this slideshow?).

Possibly the highlight of the day came as we were exiting the park and really more focused on lunch than seeing any more critters, since the day was already full of such wonderful sightings. As we were driving down the main reserve road, we spotted a beautiful little pygmy kingfisher perched on a branch where he gave us a fantastic view of his bright plumage.

Of all the wildlife experiences on this trip, I think this one wins for the most unexpected sighting. The grin and sheer joy on my guide’s face at the sighting was absolutely priceless.

And, no, I didn’t get a photo of that.

This concludes our tour of Parc National de la Montagne D’Ambre. Stay tuned for Part IV including the most horrible thing in Madagascar and why you need shoes. In other words, next up is hiking in the tsingys of Ankarana.

Madagascar marvels part II: Idyllic islands and land-based critters

As if spending a week spotting whale sharks wasn’t enough!

Another aspect of the first half of the itinerary was to experience some of the other flora and fauna in and around Nosy Be. So one morning we set off to see Nosy Tanikely, a marine reserve with a lovely, preserved reef. We snorkeled there for a bit before heading farther out to look for more whale sharks.

Back at Sakatia, afternoons were for napping or swimming with giant green sea turtles in the sea grasses by the lodge. Alternately, there was a lot of nothing to do if one was so inclined. In hindsight, I’m meshing together days here and calling out highlights because I stopped trying to keep track of sightings and particulars as the days melted into one under the hot sun. There was the afternoon I was sitting on the porch of my bungalow when two chickens very deliberately climbed the steps to have some water from my foot pail. There were brilliant sunsets overlooking the little sacred forest. There were early morning walks in the mangroves at low tide.

On another morning, we were up and out early to get to a remote island called Nosy Iranja, a 3-hour boat ride out into the waters of the Mozambique Channel. We spotted fewer whale sharks as we entered the deeper (and choppier) water, but as we travelled, a pod of spinner dolphins joined us to play in the boat’s wake. And as we approached Iranja, we watched as a humpback whale family (mom, brand new calf, and dad) slowly cruised through the water, making their way out to sea (and apparently towards Antarctica); the baby getting used to its giant fins, slapping and playing in the water as they swam.

As if the magic of the sea creatures wasn’t sublime enough, we approached the beach where we were to spend the night in beachside “tents”. Pictures cannot do the setting justice, but close your eyes and imagine the whitest sand beach you can conjure, the warm turquoise waters painted in a rainbow of blues. We walked through a small village, up to the phare (lighthouse) at the top of the island, then down the other side to watch the sunset by a spit where at low tide one could walk across to yet another teeny island to hide away from the world. The mojito on the beach felt like an indulgent cherry on top.

Our last day was spent on dry land, taking a walk through the paths in Parc National de Lokobe. Lokobe occupies most of the southern tip of Nosy Be and is home to 72 species of amphibians and reptiles, 48 species of birds, and even 2 species of lemurs that are considered microendemic to Nosy Be: the Nosy Be sportive lemur (you can see them in the photos below), and the Nosy Be mouse lemur.

After a (frankly, unexpectedly hard) paddle out to the entrance via local wooden canoe called a pirogue, we entered the park to find more flora and fauna. Here, we saw a tree boa and other snakes, a variety of chameleons, and lemurs – including the very little and very adorable mouse lemur, who we saw curled up and sleeping in some palm fronds. Plied with a local lunch and plenty of fresh, ripe, mangoes (and jackfruit!), the group unanimously determined the outing (as well as the sea tow back to where we started) a roaring success.

Did you miss Part I of this adventure? Click here. Next stop: the mainland!

Madagascar marvels Part I: Sharks and palms

About 6 years ago, before the world went sideways and back when I had a regular habit of diving in far-flung places, I stumbled upon a post by a marine biologist with the Marine Megafauna Foundation talking about research he was doing on whale sharks in general, and in Madagascar in particular. The Mozambique channel is a whale shark hotspot, and apparently it was discovered that a particular stretch of ocean around Nosy Be had similarly attracted a large and healthy population. With whale sharks, both fortunately and unfortunately, comes tourism. So I was happy to see that an environmentally-aware wildlife travel company called Aqua-Firma partnered with MMF scientists to mix research with eco-conscious travel and came up with a formula to respectfully send willing adventurers to watch (and play) while the scientists did some of their work. I wanted in! It took 6 years, 2-1/2 of which Madagascar was closed to foreigners due to Covid, but I made it happen (and then some…).

I was to learn that locally, the Madagascar Whale Shark Project was well under weigh. Founded by the amazing Stella Diamant, the Project is leading research, education, and conservation efforts on the ground (and in the water) to study and protect these amazing creatures in and around Nosy Be and other areas of Madagascar.

Overall, I was in Madagascar for about 3 weeks. Here’s my telling of the adventure in several parts.

Sharks and palms: A fine line between ecotourism and impact

It starts on a tiny island in the Indian Ocean called Nosy Sakatia. Sakatia is just off Nosy Be, which is off the north-westerly end of Madagascar (which is in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa). The northwest of the country is littered with these idyllic white-sand tropical islands. It’s on one of these that Part I of my adventure was to start: 10 days at a little oasis called Sakatia Lodge for the above-mentioned whale shark trip.

Nosy Sakatia has its own sacred forest in which black lemurs, fruit bats, chameleons and other critters live. There are no cars…and an unwritten no shoes policy. In other words, my kind of place. So I arrived there a couple days before the itinerary was to begin in earnest to shut the rest of the world out, get some dives in, and take much-needed naps in the tropical air. Sakatia lies roughly 13° below the equator, so it’s late spring here, the opposite of the impending dreariness of autumn back home. The lodge resides in a small bay that opens to the waters between Nosy Be and the Mozambique channel proper.

A portent to the days to follow came in the form of a sighting of a small humpback whale greeting us in that little bay to say good morning before our first dive. Getting back in the water after not diving for nearly 4 years was like coming home.

It’s hard to explain diving to a non-diver, but it was like reinflating something within myself that had dried out. Just making bubbles underwater again felt like a gift. I’m happy to report that the corals are in remarkable shape, and although warming, the waters and its denizens seem to have withstood many of the fates of much of the (over-) developing world. So I spent 2 days diving: small reefs and sandy plateaus and even a small wreck that gave way to one of the most gorgeous coral gardens I’ve ever seen. I clocked my 200th dive on this trip, so it felt significant to dive with a team that appreciated the sheer joy of diving and natural wonder more than just delivering a guest experience. During the week, I’d do a couple more: a night dive and a final early morning dive on an exquisite reef that could double as a work of art. Back on the boat, I remarked to another diver that it looked like someone painted what a reef should look like.

On the evening of my 3rd day there, the rest of the group arrived: our fearful trip leader, an assortment of Brits, Scots, and Americans, and Stella, our whale shark researcher for the week. A genial group, some divers, some not, and even a couple on their honeymoon! Fingers crossed that the shark gods would deliver.

Lights out came early for me and I slept like a log, the dreamless sleep of recovery from 6 months of going non-stop. I woke most mornings with the sun. I was beginning to feel more human.

That’s me. Photo courtesy of Stephen Burgess @UW_Burgess

How to hunt for sharks

The daily plan was to head out into the sea after breakfast, in search of circling seabirds and tuna leaping on the surface, a froth that indicates bait balls of sardines and other tiny fish schooling in the waters below. In this part of the world, whale sharks feed on these tiny fish, so where there’s a bait ball there’s usually a whale shark.

ID: Each shark has a unique pattern, like a fingerprint. So for research, they are looking to identify resident and new sharks against the sharks in the Sharkbook international database. This is done by observing an area just over the left fin. Part of the process is easing into the water near the shark in order to get close enough to get an ID photo (the experts freedive), and when possible, the researchers attach tags: flagging and tagging, as it were. The wonder of it all is the work between the boat driver, the guide and the scientist to spot the bait balls and spot the shark and position the boat (quickly and safely) so we have the best chance to get in the water and see the animal. It’s all done quite orderly and safely, but seems a tad chaotic with the excitement never seeming to wane as we find shark after shark each day. We’d locate a shark, enter the water gently, and swim to (and with) the animal, in awe of each giant mouthful of teeny fish, of every elegant swim-by. It is breathtaking to watch the grace of these massive fish – and the ones here by Nosy Be are small in comparison (5-10 metres vs. more mature whale sharks that can be up to 15-20+ metres long).

Over the 5 days we were at sea, we spotted a total of 15 unique whale sharks (all male, as they trend in these waters) and a whopping 7 that the Project hadn’t previously identified. Fun fact: 9 of our sighted sharks were the first sighted this year (yay, us!). One shark, Ernest, has been a regular here for years…he was first identified in 2015.

To throw in bonus critters, we also saw mobula rays, two mantas, turtles, and schools and schools of the tiny baitfish that are so critical to the food chain for these marine giants. To date, and through the Project, there have been over 500 individual whale sharks identified in the waters off Nosy Be. When tags are deployed, they can be tracked and monitored for feeding and migration activity. It feels like they are doing important work to protect these gentle giants. I’m glad to have contributed minorly to the efforts.

I am so grateful to have spent this time here, but I’ll be honest, I’m worried about the sharks. Because if we were 10 people on a boat doing things the right and responsible way, there are or will be 10 boats that don’t. Research is important. So is education and conscious action and leaving soft footprints in the sand rather than the harsher kind. People like Stella and the Madagascar Whale Shark Project and the caring folks at Les Baleines Rand’eau are leading efforts to ensure this goes the right way. Read more about what they’re doing here.

I’ll be back there, of that I’m sure. It’s one of these places that works its way into your heart, delivering turquoise-infused dreams. Or maybe it was just the rhum arrangé.

Shameless plug for conservation sake: via the Madagascar Whale Shark Project’s website you can make a donation, adopt a whale shark, or even name a whale shark!

I’ll close Part I here for now. Stay tuned for the rest of the aquatic (and land) adventures!