Gerry Ellis - September 6, 2006 – Toliara (Tulear)

This afternoon transferring between Ft Dauphin and the SW coast town of Tulear (Toliara), enroute to the Isalo National Park, we visited the small fishing village of Sarodrano of the Vezo people. A half hour out of Tulear on a broken potholed hard-clay beach road we neared the village—the last half mile in 4WD through deep sand.

Buried in the sand dunes at the end of a mangrove encrusted spit it was one of the harshest living conditions one can imagine. All around the world people decide to eke out a survival in the oddest places—but thatched stick houses buried in constantly shifting dunal sands seems crazy. The Vezo people seem consumed by one thing—sailing into the Mozambique Channel and catching the next days fish.

This afternoon the wind was racing – blowing fine beach sand in everything – making photography a nightmare – changing lenses totally out the question, so I concentrated on a wide perspective—one camera body with the 14mm superwide. Inside my shirt was the camera’s only safe haven between photos. This is one of those places where you need at least a week, living with the Vezo, and the combination of harsh conditions, the drama of survival and the contrast of sea and dunes would create amazing images.