Tag: Islands


David Loughlin Island Hopping in Madagascar, Nosy Be, Nosy Ambariovato, Nosy Tanikely.

Just an hour and a half flight north of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, lies the sleepy island of Nosy Be (big island in Malagasy). Known for its beautiful beaches, sleepy villages and French influence, this archipelago serves as a jumping off point to a number of smaller islands in all directions. One finds it easy to disconnect from the digital world here, not only because of the abundance of under water dive excursions, horse back riding, island hopping, wildlife and scenic parks, but on these islands you are so far off the grid…electricity is unstable, it can and will vanish during any one of the many fierce lightning storms which pass over daily.

Local fishermen return with this day’s late afternoon catch. Want anything?

No shortage of resorts along the beach offering a full range of accommodations. Enjoying an ice cold beer at high tide.

A local woman combs the beach in search of buyers of her fresh fruit.
David Loughlin

Low tide Southwest side of Nosy Be, peering south down the beach. Most of the fishing
David Loughlin

Warm sunsets with fast moving clouds.  The sky constantly changes.

Raw video of a lightning storm in slow motion to expose the bolts.

Exploring – Hell Ville, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Peaceful drive into Hell Villa, the main town on Nosy Be. Great deals on local coffee, vanilla and many other spices.

Here you will find hundreds of merchants selling anything from freshly caught fish, local produce, electronics or whatever you need.

Island Hopping – Nosy Be to Nosy Komba (Lemur Island)

Off the coast of Nosy Be lies a volcanic island famous for the preservation of lemurs appropriately nicknamed Nosy Komba (Malagasy for Lemur Island). For a nominal fee of $35. USD, about 110,000 Malagasy Ariary you can travel via boat to any number of outer islands and explore the deep blue, snorkel, picnic or in my case, get up close and personal with a community of Malagasy lemurs.

Nosy Ambariovato

After 35 minutes of ocean wind in my face, we arrived at Nosy Ambariovato. A picturesque island, covering 25 km2, complete with lush jungles.  This island once service as a navigational aid to former mariners with its lighthouse.

Eager to explore the island, we beached the boats inside the cove. Overhead winds from the Indian Ocean provide persistent change of light, as the clouds above cast quick moving shadows on the tropical landscape, alternating between soft and deep rich colors.

Just some stock video footage of our arrival on the beach on Nosy Komba.

Malagasy Lemurs

After a 20 minute hike into the forest we encountered thin trees with curious lemurs, hungry for a fresh banana. Connecting with these guys was an experience…playful, trusting, but mostly motivated by food, they are fun, bold and eager to jump on your shoulders for a bite to eat. Don’t be surprised if some jump on you from behind, they are not shy when it comes to asking for food.
David Loughlin

This little guy is curious to see if we have food. Friendly little animals.

This lemur is fascinated with the cell phone.

Other Creatures on Nosy Ambariovato

Lemurs a only a few of the natural surprises you might encounter on Nosy Ambariovato. The reptiles are among the most colorful I have ever seen.

I’m not a big fan of snakes, but everyone else took the same picture, so why not.

Rum & Lime – Sleepy Beachfront Bar

I found a sleepy beach bar offering shots of local rum, a 50/50 mix of rum, local lime juice served with a salted rim.

Nosy Tanikely

Heading back to Nosy Be, we stopped at an even smaller island in the archipelago named Nosy Tanikely. The lighthouse on the island was once the navigational aid for nautical traffic in these waters.

Boats tied up, lets explore this island.


The lighthouse located at the islands highest point is a reminder of days when navigation was visual not electronic.

Atop the lighthouse you get a panoramic view in all directions.



View from the lighthouse – Your chariot awaits. Gazing down at the beach you gain perspective

Horseback on Nosy Be

The mid-morning start of a half day ride across the lush countryside on Nosy Be. Horseback through the Malagasy countryside, crossing through many local farms and plantations.

Pausing for a rest and taking in the sights before descending to the beach.


A warm day today, so its time to head to the beach for some fun in the bay with the horses.

The Spice Islands of Zanzibar, Tanzania

Situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania), lies one of the most beautiful islands in East Africa.  Formerly known as a center for spice and slave trading in the 19th century, Zanzibar is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary, it’s 1,020 square miles of pure adventure waiting to be explored.

Whether you are an avid diver, beach comber, hopeless romantic, shopaholic, love horseback riding, enjoy fine dining or just want to escape and explore new destinations, Zanibar has something for you.

One of the first things you will notice are the countless miles of untouched beaches, romantic, pristine, untouched pieces of paradise waiting to message your feet.  Since this island is not a high traffic tourist destination, there are plenty of beautiful seashells to be found in the early mornings, before the locals awake to gather these gems for the market.
Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar

Zanzibar hosts many luxury resorts waiting to pamper your every need.  While I stayed at several resorts on the island, my favorite is the Sea Cliff Resort situated on the east cost, 25 minutes north of Stone Town.  Whether you like horseback riding, golf, sailing, fine dining, the spa or simply relaxing by one of their two infinity pools, Sea Cliff will sooth your senses.

Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar

Riding, Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar
David Loughlin

Equestrian lovers will find pleasure in riding horses across the tropical countryside into emerald green waters.
David Loughlin

Private Beach @ Sea Cliff Resort
Enjoy one of the private beaches reserved for guests only.
David Loughlin

Nothing like a a couple of beers, a several hour nap and waking to this scenic view.  Ahhh Yeah.
David Loughlin

D I V E R   D O W N

Whether you enjoy snorkeling or deep water diving, Zanzibar offers an array of excursions to meet your needs.
David Loughlin

Diving The Royal Navy Lighter shipwreck at 30m, Zanzibar
David Loughlin

Exploring artifacts below.
David Loughlin

Shoppers Delight
If you love to barter, then the markets of Stone Town are the place for you.  The city is a virtual maze of alleyways all lined with merchants eager to sell their goods.

Rooftop shot at 5:30 am atop the Maru Maru Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar.  Maru Maru means Tile Tile.
David Loughlin

The best deals are waiting to be had if your bartering skills are firm.  Whether you are looking for coffee, fresh vanilla, fish, antiques, artwork or what ever tickles your fancy, you will find it in the market in Stone Town.  Be willing to walk if you do not get the price you want, the merchant will follow you for blocks to seal the deal.
David Loughlin

Open air fish market in Stone Town.  Some unique smells for sure.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Day Excursions – Prison Island
There are plenty of day excursions to keep you busy.  Just a 30 minute boat ride from Stone Town lies a little piece of paradise named Prison Island.  This was a former prison, turned tourist attraction that also serves as an animal preserve for the endangered tortoise population.
David Loughlin

The snorkeling is spectacular and the waters are pristine.  Abundant coral lines the ocean floor, rich with a spectacular variety of tropical fish, star fish and much more.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

We passed some locals fishing on our way to Prison Island.
David Loughlin

The road to vanilla heaven.  Before departing for East Africa I created a bucket list of items I wanted to purchase in each country.  Coffee and chocolate were on the list for every country while vanilla was my primary target from both Madagascar and this island of Zanzibar.  Below are photos of one journey to a vanilla plantation located in the middle of the island.

Farm Country…getting close.

Young vanilla on the vine.

History of slavery is ever present.  This is a former slave cave, over 100 years ago, slaves were stored in these caves after a full day of labor on the spice plantations.

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Fishing boats.
David Loughlin

Below:  A local spear fishing mid day to feed his family.
David Loughlin

The blue Monkey.  It does exist.
David Loughlin

These kids from a local village want to model for the camera.

Double Rainbow
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Foul weather ahead as the sun begins to set.
David Loughlin

Very relaxing evening.
David Loughlin


Antananarivo, Madagascar

Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.  A city rich with a blend of Malagasy and French European influence.

Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa

I booked accommodations at Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa during both of my visits to Antananarivo.  The spa sold me instantly.  At the end of each day I booked massages at the end of each day.  Some of the best self love in a long time.

The lobby at Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa

The spa at Le Louvre Hôtel & Spa

Patisserie Colbert Tananarive – Fine Malagasy Chocolate

Stumbled upon this French Bakery just two blocks from my hotel and added a couple kilos of fine Malagasy chocolate to my luggage.

The Open Air Market – Antananarivo

Exiting my hotel, crossing the street and through the park, I reached a set of stairs that leads down to the local open air market, with hundreds of vendors to bargain with.


The Royal Palace


– – – – – – – – Related Posts – – – – – – – –





David Loughlin – Exploring Singapore

I have visited Singapore three times in 2017 already, mostly two day stays on my way to some more tropical, exotic local like Bali, Sorong and Raja Ampat.  All told, I spent about a week in this country and I must give it credit.  I love the fine dining, elegant hotels, tropical weather and shopping.  I purchased three custom tailored suites for less than $1K, about 65% less than back home in the states and to my surprise, they were delivered to my hotel the same day by 8:00 pm.  Nothing like the pool and bar at the Sands although I am not much for heights, but the view is beautiful.   The social scene at the hotel pools in Singapore is amazing.

Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

David Loughlin – Exploring Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

I love islands and the feeling of sand on my feet. Exploring new islands is one of the best feelings ever.  The Indonesian archipelago has more than ten thousand islands, only a few places on earth that create a blank canvas for explorers.  Nusa Lembongan lies just off the coast of Bali, located about 11 kilometers southeast of the main island. It is a small island with the length of 4.6 kilometers at its longest point and width of 1.5 kilometers at its widest.  Only a 30 minute ride by speed boat and your in paradise.

D R E A M   B E A C H
This statue gazing out to sea says it all and gave me inspiration to return to Singapore again, before heading to North and East Africa weeks later.  Singapore, now there is an interesting country.  I have visited Singapore three times this year already,  vastly expanding my wardrobe from all of the great deals and and new Asian designs.  Between Africa and South East Asia, my wardrobe has increased in size by about 45% which made me realize that I have a thing for shoes.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Looking out to see from Dream beach with the Devils Tears behind me and Dream Beach to the left.  Exploring this beautiful island.  The roads on these tropical islands are serene.

D E V I L S   T E A R S
David Loughlin

Tourist parking.

The view of Jungatbatu Village from the hilltop above.

On approach to the island…the bay is lined with resorts perched atop the lush green hilltop.  Take some time and resort hop and see what each resort offers, grab lunch at your favorite place.

Boat bobbing in the sea.  My view from a cliff side cafe as I mingle with a group of German ladies on holiday.

David Loughlin

Seashells are like memories
I have combed some of the most remote island beaches over the past 4 months.  Many of the beaches have loads of seashells for the taking.  Just be sure to get up early and beat the locals as they clean the beaches of these beauties before 6:00 am.   Many are the largest and most colorful shells I have ever seen and so abundant I gathered about 15 pounds of them, extra luggage was required.

Picked this Indonesian bridal necklace up in Sorong, a chartered coastal city in the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua.  Hand made of shells and red coral, this piece of art weighs pounds and is almost 3 feet long.  Returning home with this in perfect condition was not easy.  Not sure what to do with it.

Diving Nusa Lembongan
Nothing like a day of diving with Capt. Morgan, not his real name of course, but much easier to pronounce.  What a great human being.

Another beautiful day in Indonesia. Magnanimous, grateful and blessed to be here at this point in time.

Bali, Indonesia | 2 Month Luxury Yoga & Dive Retreat

On the road to adventure to experience world-class retreats that offer the best in luxury health and wellness programs, healthy culinary perfections, mind / body wellness, yoga, meditation, spa treatments and first rate diving experiences.  Connecting with nature is blissful.

Nourish the mind, body, soul and you replenish your strength and awareness.  It’s easy to get your chi aligned on this island and the 30+ messages I gave myself really helped also.  I love my life and am grateful for all it has to offer.  Feeling blessed.

I’ve had some wonderful messages in my day, but this one at Bodyworks in Seminyak, Bali had the rose petal touch.


The most relaxing and refreshing yoga I found was at the Yoga Barn in Ubud. Its a complete wellness campus.  Second floor, mid way up the canopy lies a covered, open-air studio.  While there are many buildings on site, this one is magical when the torrential downpours pass overhead.  The heavy showers block the view of everything around, while the water rushing off the thatched roof creates a natural spectacle.  The experience is so beautiful and magical and one may loose focus on the breath while smiling.


Rice fields in Ubud.

I found a popular hot spot that goes off on Sunday afternoon and evening.  Single Fin is a great place to grab a drink, a bite to eat and watch the sunset.

Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby | Kieta, Bougainville Island | Samari Island

On approach to Port Moresby, mid morning in the month of August.  I’m on deck, gazing into the distant as we get closer.  We originally planned to take a tour into the mountains on this island, but later decided to depart on a self guided tour touching on some key historical points.  Many people had advised us not to venture around here without a guide, so we hired a taxi and promoted him “Chief Tour Guide” for the day.

On our way to the Parliament building we passed through a rough part of town known as the “Stilt City” due to the fact that homes were built on stilts well into the water.

Downtown Port Moresby.

Bougainville Island

It’s 7:00 am, we arrived at Bougainville and docked in Kieta.  Nothing more then a cement slab and a warehouse for a port.  Today we head up to the mountains to visit with a local tribe and experience how they experience life.

These islands are littered with reminders of WWII and the outreaching territory impacted by the battle of Guadalcanal, which was centered in the Solomon Islands, my next stop on this South Pacific journey.

Tank decomposing from extreme exposure in this warm, moist climate.

Its a trek into the mountains that takes more than an hour.  One of the most lush jungles I have ever visited.  The vines are taking over the palms which are taking over the bamboo…everything is survival in this remote region of the world.  In fact, 70 years ago, the tribe we are about to visit were considered “head hunters,” not to worry though, that was the past.  Can’t help but think about it though.

Before we head into the mountains, we pass through Arawa, a small town with an intense vibe.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize we stand out here.

Heading into the mountains now and it gets even greener and more dense.

High in the mountains we arrive at a small village just before Panguna.  Beautiful view of the ocean from up here.

Locals hanging out on the main road outside the village.

This shy guy hides behind his stick.

A couple of kids hamming it up for the camera.

These guys didn’t like to be photographed.

Pretending to be tough, but they can’t help but smile.

The local schoolhouse.

Some of the local food.

One of the villagers showed me how he gathers food from the trees above.  It starts with the rope…

A rope and some altitude make it possible to reach ripe fruit above.


Approaching Samari Island

After departing Kieta we passed through the China Straights in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea between Samarai Island and Sariba Island.  Headed to a former WWII British military airbase for sea planes on Samarai Island.

Exploring Samari Island which once was used as an airbase during WWII.

From here we headed to the Solomon Islands for some amazing diving in warm waters.