Île Sainte-Marie, known more formally as Nosy Boraha, is an island off the east coast of Madagascar. The main town is Ambodifotatra. The city covers an area of 222 km2, and had a population estimated at 16,325 in 2001.
Sainte-Marie became a popular base for pirates throughout the 17th and 18th centuries due to several reasons: it was not far from the maritime routes along which ships returning from the East Indies sailed in transit, it had bays and inlets protected from storms and finally, it had abundant fruit and was situated in quiet waters. Legendary pirates like William Kidd, Robert Culliford, Olivier Levasseur, Henry Every, and Thomas Tew, lived in the île aux Forbans, an island located in the bay of Sainte Marie's main town, Ambodifotatra. Several authentic pirate vessels still lie within a few meters of the surface in the Baie des Forbans. Two of these have been tentatively identified as the remains of Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley and Captain Condent's Fiery Dragon. The utopian pirate republic of Libertatia was also rumored to exist in this area, although the republic's existence, let alone its location, has never been proven.
The channel between Sainte-Marie island and Madagascar is a hot spot for whale watching. Substantial groups of humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic here as it is a good breeding place, conditions here that are favourable for the growth of their young before their return to the cold seas.