We bid goodbye to Heather and John who were staying a few extra days to hike, and with them, our luxurious private transportation options! Fortunately, it was the best brousse ride we'd had thanks to the one great road Madagascar has to offer, and the limited stops. Within four hours we'd pulled into Tulear and were jovially discussing prices with taxi drivers. Erin enjoyed immensely the experience this time because they were good-natured and less aggressive about the whole thing. We still were inundated when we first got off the brousse, and they must have heard us say something to each other in English (or maybe they just guessed by our Canadian-good looks!) but one driver adamantly explained to us how we should go with him because we'd be able to communicate with him and the others wouldn't know what we were asking. When finally pausing to take a breath, Erin gave him a great big smile and replied in French, "Or, we could just speak in French with everyone!" He laughed heartily and refused to get caught in a bidding war, instead just told us we were going to go with the other driver.
We headed off to find our boat transfer to Anakao, a fishing community on the southern shore of Tulear, but apparently the boats only go back and forth in the morning. (That might have been a nice tidbit of information for our hotel in Anakao to share with us when we reserved!). Another tour operator caught wind of our situation and came running up trying to help (and then get his cut of the share). He convinced us to go buy tickets for the local transportation ferry, assuring us that it was leaving right away, and would take the same amount of time as a speedboat (you're reading this at home thinking 'how gullible are they?' but it felt more adventurous at the time!). When they wanted us to leave our bags behind in the office and get in a truck to take us out to the end of the kilometer-long pier, we decided to cut our loses, find a hotel for the night, and take the official Anakao transfer in the morning. They shook their heads at us for walking away from our purchased tickets, but we found a great little hotel on the water with a surprisingly huge balcony, wi-fi, and a decent restaurant. We watched the sun set into the Mozambique Channel for the first time, and went to bed happy with our decision.