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Rockclimbing expedition to Madagascar by MCS AlexClimb

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Climbing trip to Madagascar - here!

Part I. Madagascar. Abandoned fort. Story from the series "Climbing geography of MCS AlexClimb"

Somewhere here time has stopped. Rusty muzzles of guns stare into the shining distance of the ocean with their fixed pupils. The heated concrete of an abandoned fortress burns the heels, making one involuntarily dance and seek shade. From behind the rocks, the roar and heavy blows of the ocean waves can be heard.

Rockclimbing on the island of Madagascar, a secluded bay - a former military base location.

But it's quiet and secluded in the cozy uninhabited bay with a white strip of abandoned sandy beach, where our tent has found shelter in the shade of a huge mango tree.

Do you know this word? Secluded. A warm Russian word, cozy like a blanket. It our language that means being at the edge, at the border. And that's what it is here - think about it - this is the edge of the world, a faraway distance. And the whole world is somewhere far away, and you don't know where it is.

An abandoned non-working lighthouse on the island of Madagascar, a rock climbing expedition by MCS AlexClimb.

An uninhabited secluded bay sheltered from the heavy Indian Ocean surf by a narrow rocky arrowhead, at the very end of which, on an inaccessible rock, the tower of an ancient, long-abandoned lighthouse gleams white. Closer to the shore, coastal rocks are disfigured by a strange, time-blackened concrete structure, bristling towards the ocean with rusty barrels of long-range guns.

An abandoned 19th-century French fort on the island of Madagascar, a rock climbing expedition by MCS AlexClimb.

Once there was a fort with an artillery battery here, a sad monument to the global colonial fever - there are plenty of such "sights" all over the New World.

The giant gun barrels, weathered through by sea salt and time, gaze out into the ocean. Luckily this battery will never speak again. The guns will never aim at the silhouette of an English brig or a Spanish pirate corvette, swathed in sails. Never again... Strangely, even the echo of my footsteps in the hollow corridors of the abandoned French battery sounds French - "jamais encore" (never again).

Inside the old fort on the island of Madagascar

The inscription "Fourchambault 1884" is engraved on the heavy carriages of the antique guns, immortalizing the creation of these machines of death, of maritime horror. Now it is a monument to time, a phenomenon devoid of meaning and causality, a crooked scar on the rosy and exuberant face of tropical nature.

The concrete citadel of the French fort on the island of Madagascar

The citadel looks much like the concrete ruins of the "impregnable" Mannerheim Line in Karelia in the north of Russia close to the border with Finland. The same "architecture" adorns the sand dunes of the Baltic Sea, where the German army intended to stand forever... only to be completely defeated a few months later. Even at the edge of the world, in New Zealand, I have seen these structures, which, regardless of their location, carry the sad tone of ancient hatred, senseless and are still cruel in their senselessness.

The number and year of manufacture of the cannon 1883. The abandoned fort in Madagascar, a climbing expedition by MCS AlexClimb.

Time has devoured valor and pride, greatness and dignity. History has been rewritten, distorted, and condemned anew. Only the concrete bones and rusty skeletons of colossal guns remain from the achievements of the past. And from the lush overgrowth, the green foam that surrounds the bay, ruins of barracks almost completely consumed by the jungle appear here and there.

Ruins of military installations on the island of Madagascar. Climbing Expedition MCS AlexClimb

Hundreds of years pass, progress allows us to spin the globe like a toy, to overcome any distance, to create what only the best sci-fi writers could imagine fifty years ago. But the concrete ruins speak of something else.

And the iron barrels, blindly looking at the ocean from under the concrete armor of an ancient fortress, mean much less than a simple thin stem that has grown through all this thickness of concrete. And, with its delicate and weak child's hand, has broken through the invincible barrier, created by humans...

Only fishermen occasionally visit the bay near the abandoned fort. MCS AlexClimb climbing expedition.

I stand alone in the empty high room, where the floor is covered with concrete crumbs and marine debris. Rusty gun carriages silently keep their inglorious, abandoned, and forgotten history.

Something strange prompted me to think about this pile of concrete and metal. Vague thoughts, as if not mine, fragments, as if someone else's feelings and sorrows. Maybe I should understand something, guess something important? But there is no answer to a direct question. Only a soundless echo around... Jamais encore.

MCS AlexClimb rock climbing school on the island of Madagascar.

The leader of the rockclimbing expedition to Madagascar, author of the text and photos - Alex Trubachev