Sainte Marie is a 60km long island off the east coast of Madagascar. With a colourful history, various settlers have made their mark here, including most pertinently pirates, whose blurred lines between myth and fact has left it with legends such as that of the island of Libertia, a utopian pirate republic. During the 16th and 17th century this was a popular destination for pirates for its abundance of fruit, calm and sheltered bays. As well as its proximity to the spice route. Apart from its history, Sainte-Marie is an ideal diving site with substantial coral growth on the east side and is conserved as a world heritage site. The channel between the west of the island and mainland Madagascar is a major site for humpback whales.