Catching a pirogue to visit the tropic bird breeding colony on Nosy Ve is undoubtedly the most fun thing to do from Anakao and makes for an interesting and relaxing half day trip.
After the relentless jolting of the power boat from Tulear to Anakao, the pirogue was a gentle and tranquil alternative. The trip to Nosy Ve takes about an hour, depending on the wind, and is a contemplative experience - just make sure you bring a hat, sunscreen and cover up as it would be easy to get sunburned.
In terms of scenery, Nosy Ve itself is nothing to write home about, being little more than a scrubby sand bank. However, the tropic birds are great, and it is a privilege to be able to wonder through the colony and peer under bushes into nests where parents and chicks shelter from the relentless sun. On the ground, tropic birds look like larger terns, but really come into their own in flight, with their unmistakable elongated tails flaring out behind them like streamers.
After the disappointment of the snorkelling at Anakao, we had high hopes that things would be better off Nosy Ve. Sadly, it wasn't much of an improvement, with highly degraded coral and limited fish life: clearly the combined effects of bleaching and overfishing that have devastated Anakao's coral have also impacted on Nosy Ve.
Nosy Ve is officially uninhabited, although it is apparent that fishermen do overnight here from time to time. We were amused to be accosted by a chicken which had clearly been left on the island as a future meal - as there is no permanent fresh water on Nosy Ve, the chicken was only too happy to drink its fill of fresh water that we poured into one of our snokel masks!