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going to limited-electricity island - any good solar chargers?

Discussion in 'Tips and Techniques' started by M DeM, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    Not sure where in Madagascar you will be but the eco resort in Bafoataka Bay I stayed at had (as most limited power hour resorts I've stayed at) tend to have their off time after breakfast until about an before dinner is served. Are are you flying Air Austal or Air Maybe/Madagascar?

    Hint - you're probably going to freak out at the "baggage handling" system when you see your expensive camera gear disappear when you check in only to have to go and identify it the next time you see it - sitting on the Tarmac next to the plane so it gets on when you get on. I'd also suggest keeping a few hundred thousand ariaries on you at the airport for "massively overweight" and "even if not on the items on the board banned from leaving Madagascar we've decided today your item is banned so pay while I dangle it over a bin" items :wink:
     
  2. M DeM

    M DeM Barracuda

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    I'M NERVOUS ABOUT THE BAGGAGE. Holy crap-- holding your gear hostage!

    I'm actually flying Ethiopian Air. I"m trying to use all points to get there, so it's 4 days of travel and 3 different airlines. In retrospect it might have been worth spending the cash and having the piece of mind of not worrying about my checked bags with all those transfers (4 of them!)
     
  3. M DeM

    M DeM Barracuda

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    Oh, and I'm staying actually staying at the "Turtle Cove Research Centre" (Google Maps) on Nosy Komba near Nosy Be in the north.
     
  4. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    Oh say hello to Eddie from the two old ladies that tried to buy his wife :) - great food at Eddies restaurant directly on the main beach.

    Komba is beautiful (make sure you find time to zip over to Nosy Verona and if you do go to the beach party on Sunday's in Amboatalaka only take what you can afford to be robbed of and have a good time!) you may actually find there's a bit more electricity available per day on the island because of the upmarket resorts but I don't recall any power during the lunch at Eddies. It took me three flights from Aus but it's worth it. Fascene airport in Nosy Be should be called "obscene airport".

    Your baggage will get onto the plane with you...I'm not sure if it works that way with Air Ethiopia but seems the standard and only "baggage handling system" out of Fascene. You will have an amazing experience - I think the trick to Madagascar is the country is poor and corrupt so a few airiaries here and there stuffed inside your passport factored in to your budget as "miscellaneous sundries" makes it seem not so bad while you're being ripped off. Only other critically important tip I'd have is never ever ever kiss large Madagascan policeman on the cheek for Valentine's Day and don't steal anyone's pantaloons

    The turtles at Komba are so cool and it's the only place I've ever sat on a boat listening to the sound of dolphins breathing as they play around the boat. Also nearby you have Nosy Sakatia with a good dive op and Nosy Tanikely diving isn't bad, has the worlds mellowest Titan trigger fish, lots of nudibranchs and leopard shark showed up at the end of the dive. Enjoy, I'm jealous, and have fun on this amazing bunch of islands where everything is lost in translation by someone somewhere and you randomly find yourself having to pull up a bit of beach and have a nap under a palm tree until the tide comes in....beware the "squish"
     
    M DeM likes this.
  5. M DeM

    M DeM Barracuda

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    I will *definitely* keep this advice in mind.

    I only have the weekends off, and I want to hit up Ankarana NP on the "mainland" on one of them, but I think I'll be spending a lot of weekends taking trips from Nosy Be.

    Were you able to go to Russian Bay? And how much in airiaries should I grease palms with?
     
  6. M DeM

    M DeM Barracuda

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    DELETED

    (I asked a question that had already been answered)
     
  7. M DeM

    M DeM Barracuda

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    Alas, I've no car because the island has no roads. While I'm sure there are trucks and whatnot on the island, I won't have access to them, nor to any petrol.
     
  8. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    When you go through the mosh pit that is customs stick a 50,000 airairie note in your passport - and stage dive towards the woman in the box because if you try and wait your turn you will be there forever. Komba is small there is no need for cars, Nosy Be has a few "roads" and is the graveyard of every Citroen from the 1970s in the world...strangely most of them still work but all will have broken windscreens and at least one door will require "outside assistance" to open. You won't have any trouble exchanging USD on Komba or Nosy Be but if your currency is from anywhere else be aware it may not be so easy. Even the bank of Africa in Hellville wouldn't exchange my AUD because "we don't know this money". No cars or trucks on Komba, you walk everywhere or take a boat to another point on the island. Unfortunately couldn't get to Russian bay due to cyclone season and the Mozambique eddy flowing.
    Also be prepared for Zebu milk and meat - no "cows" but Zebu is a good substitute.
     
  9. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
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    There are, literally, military grade portable solar power generators like SolarStik on the market. A large Pelican case with batteries, controller, inverter, built in, then a separate solar panel array. Ain't cheap but it won't fail on you. The cheap stuff from Horror Freight...is more affordable but I wouldn't bet on it working for a month, I don't think it is even rain-proof.

    As the others have said, you MUST begin with an energy budget, how many watts you will need, then multiply that out to see what storage capacity and panel capacity you would need. It may be easy, it may not. Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries are a little pricier--but safer. Lithium anything is still a logistics problem once it gets to a practical size.

    The alternative might be to carry or ship a small generator, but then you've got the question of whether you can arrange for the place to have fuel brought in for you, it may not be easily available. Or, perhaps paying them to keep their generator up for an extra hour or two so you have more charging time. Could be cheaper to just pay them to do that. Buy their power, instead of trying to bring in enough of your own.
     

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