Captain’s Log February 2003

After our fascinating trip to Aldabra & Cosmoldeo in November, which you can read about in our November Captain’s Log, we had a slow start to December, as we had a last minute cancellation. However the month picked up and we had more interest from the corporate market in Dar es Salaam. Our catamaran provides an ideal platform for companies to entertain their clients or have management meetings along with a little R & R thrown in.

We were delighted to participate in the Dar to Tanga Yacht Race from 5th – 9th December. We hadn’t entered the race as we hadn’t expected to be around, but with our cancellation we decided to join in the fun. Although we simply went along as a cruising yacht we found that despite being a heavy live-aboard catamaran we performed extremely well and made a big impression with our newly returned 200 square metre spinnaker.

It blew out 500 miles out of Darwin on the first part of our Australia to Tanzania passage back in early June and what an incredible difference it makes to our performance. Fantastic! We sailed extremely well and provided a useful mark for many of the other racing yachts with our huge red sail flying. Finally around 0500 on the morning of 6th December, some 18 hours after the start of the race we, along with most of the other yachts, were becalmed. As we were not racing we decided to use a little help from Mr. Diesel and arrived at Tanga at around 1030 hours. The next 2 days were spent in fine party form with Tanga Yacht Club proving to be admirable hosts with beach games, and delicious evening BBQ’s. The return leg of the race set off at 1100 on 8th December and once again, although we weren’t actually participating we managed to pull in every yacht except another catamaran, Mamba, which weighs about 1/5 of Amarula’s weight. Our intention had been to stop off and have a dive at a reef just near Pangani, but we were going so well that the competitive edge took over. Once again we were becalmed at around 0030 and spent a frustrating 10 hours on the last 19 miles. We finally came in at 1130 and were third in of those yachts who had sailed, out of 9 participating yachts.

Having finalised the last of our permits and licences to conduct our business we are getting down to the serious business of marketing. Next month a UK magazine “Country” is publishing an article about Eric and our business. Unfortunately with the recent UK warnings to tourists about visiting Tanzania, it may not be the best time for the article, however we are having more and more enquiries and are confident that our business will be very successful as we have had positive feedback from the various guests we have had on board to date.

In December, apart from the corporate day trips, we took a family across to Zanzibar on an overnight stay. The delight they experienced when snorkelling at a deserted sandbank was terrific and for the children it was their first experience of snorkelling on coral and seeing the wonders of the underwater world. They thoroughly enjoyed the moonlit evening and we prepared a seafood dinner for them of freshly caught kingfish whilst they were ashore.

In early January we had a group on board who were celebrating 2 of the party’s 60th birthdays. We started in fine style with Moet champagne, then sailed to Sinda Island, where Eric prepared his special, spicy pumpkin soup, followed by honey glazed prawns with sesame dressing. We were expecting a long night of partying, however the excitement of the sail across to Sinda had tired the group out, so most of them retired to bed after dinner. The next day was spent exploring the island with Eric as the guide. We collected fresh oysters and ate them with lime juice & tabasco, delicious. Everyone had fun trying out the kayaks and after another great sail back to the Slipway, a very satisfied group said their goodbyes with promises to return for more!

We spent another Sunday with a group of friends, mostly sailors who enjoyed the thrill of the Kaskazi winds, which provided us with yet another great sail across to Sinda. It was so exciting that the Spinlock sheet clamp, which holds the spinnaker sheet broke sending the huge sail flailing. We managed to get it under control and decided to head back to Sinda for the party to swim, kayak and generally relax. Being a fairly competitive group the kayaking became a test of who could surf the waves into the beach. Lots of fun was had by all and it was a great day for Paul & Astrid in particular who had organised the trip whilst Astrid was back here on a visit from Germany where she is now working.

We are putting the Log on the website before the end of the month as this Thursday (23rd January) we are heading south for a week or so to dive the islands between Kilwa and Mafia. Three of the group who came with us to Aldabra & Cosmoledo will be joining us, so it will be good to catch up with them again.

We have begun to note our guests comments on our Guest Book page – Enjoy!

Click here for the October/ November Captain’s Log

Click here for the September Captain’s Log

Click here for the August Captain’s Log