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By spring of 2014, the Stovalls left the Chagos Archipelago and set sail across the vast Indian Ocean. The trip from Chagos to their destination of Nosy Be, an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar, was over nautical 1600 miles. Nosy Be means "big island" in the Malagasy language and is Madagascar's largest and busiest tourist resort.
Once “Imagine” was secured at the anchor, the Stovalls explored the surrounding islands. They island-hopped over to Nosy Komba where the lemurs are the star of the show. Stu quickly learned if you feed the lemurs a tiny banana, they crawl all over you and beg for more.
From Nosy Be, the Stovalls headed down the Mozambique Channel, an arm of the Indian Ocean located between Madagascar and Mozambique, towards their destination of South Africa. A pod of migrating humpback whales escorted them the part of the way. After arriving in South Africa they toured a wild gamepark and did a safari in Kruger National Park. Its high density of wild animals includes the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Stu recalls the elephants were bigger than the safari jeep. The hyenas were taller than expected and stood eye level while seated in their rental car.
After arriving in Simonstown, near Cape Town, South Africa, they waited on the weather to sail around the Cape of Good Hope. The cape is situated at the convergence of the warm Mozambique-Agulhas current from the Indian Ocean and the cool Benguela current from Antarctic waters and is known for stormy weather and rough seas. The Stovalls’ patience paid off, they had a calm crossing.
After successful circling the Cape and back into the Atlantic Ocean, the Stovalls explored Namibia, a country in southwest Africa. It is distinguished by the Namib Desert along its Atlantic Ocean coast. They also made a stop at St. Helen, one of the most remote islands in the world, where Napoleon was exiled.
From St. Helena Island, the Stovalls prepped for the 900 mile passage to the Eastern hemisphere and Brazil. Sailing up the South American coast proved to be just as exciting and breathtaking as the rest of the world. They saw Devil’s Island, off the coast of French Guiana, the famous prison of the 19th and 20th century. They explored the next country up the South American coast, Suriname, a Dutch colonial country known for its vast swaths of tropical rainforest.
By fall of 2015, the Stovalls had been cruising the world for 10 years. The next stop was a short jaunt to Trinidad. When they arrived in Trinidad, the circumnavigation would be complete. The final leg from Suriname to Trinidad conjured mixed emotions for the Stovalls. This was more than a trip – their circumnavigation was a life altering experience. It was the trip of a lifetime that not many people achieve. Never regretting the trip, Stu says, “It was the journey we will never forget, we will never forget all the wonderful people we met all over the world, I would say to anyone “cast the lines and GO!””