Captain’s Log September 2004

CAPTAIN’S LOG July to September 2004

We had a busy July with 2 mini trips across to Menai Bay and some day trips out to the local islands of Sinda, Mbudya and out to Fungu Yasin. Lynne’s niece, Bryony was with us until mid-July so she accompanied us on some of our trips and improved her kayaking and dinghy driving skills. She was a great help in the galley as she works in a restaurant back in UK, so she assisted with food preparation and presentation.

At the beginning of July we had a large family gathering on board. The group had come together from various parts of the world for a big family wedding in Dar. What better way to spend their time together than to share a wonderful day swimming, kayaking, eating, drinking and chatting on board Amarula.

Just after this we had a family group plus 2 friends join us for a trip across to Menai Bay.

Their trip started in a bit of a blur as they had been out partying the night before. Ooops, not the best way to start a cruising holiday! However after catching up on some sleep on the sail across to Menai Bay they soon brightened up and as always enjoyed the special places that the area has to offer, the Kwale lagoon, Pamunda ‘jacuzzi’ and the snorkelling, swimming and diving off the sandbanks and reefs. The 2 little girls were delightful and wrote lovely Thank you notes to us to put in our visitors book (we have just updated it). Sadly the family were leaving Dar to return to the UK at the end of July, but maybe they’ll be back for a visit in the future….

When Bryony flew back to UK mid-July we accompanied her as far as Dubai, then she took the Manchester flight and we carried on to Gatwick, as we had a big get together with a group of ex-Dar Hashers in Hadlow Down, East Sussex, the DOBBIE Hash (Dar Old Boys & Babes In Exile!) What a fabulous event it was, what we can remember of it…. Our excellent hosts, Bonkers & Delilah, having retired to the delightful village of Hadlow Down organised a large marquee and between that and the various tents the rest of us brought along, they had 28 of us, plus rugrats, sleeping in their garden! Friends came from around the globe for the event and we are all looking forward to the next one in 2006. ON ON!

Photos here.

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After the event we attended the wedding of some even older Hash friends from Dar (circa 94 – 96!) at Knebworth House, which was great fun, then we visited some friends around the south of England who we hadn’t seen for many years and even managed to buy some new UV material for our sails, so it was a busy but excellent week.

Unfortunately our trip back to Dar went a bit off the rails. On our way to Dubai our plane was diverted to Tehran to get a sick passenger to a hospital. Now, personally I think I’d rather have taken my chances and stuck it out to Dubai. Consequently our plane was late in and with Emirates’ tight change over times between flights, we missed our connection to Dar. With a layover of 31 hours we were put up in a hotel and resigned ourselves to going out and exploring Dubai, however on arrival at the hotel Lynne suddenly had a massive muscle spasm, which rendered her incapable of moving. After a doctor’s visit, an injection and 2 sessions of physiotherapy, she was taken in a wheelchair the following day to board the plane back to Dar! Not much fun…

Luckily she recovered enough before our next charter in early August. We sailed across to Zanzibar to meet up with an Australian family group. They had been on safari and flown across to Zanzibar where they did the Spice Tour and Stone Town Tour, then joined us on board to go across to Prison Island to anchor for the night. It is a great feeling waking up in the morning and being able to jump in the water and snorkel off the back of the boat before breakfast. The best part of the live aboard lifestyle is the freedom to simply up anchor and sail off to another location without having to be constanly packing and unpacking. If the diving or the anchorage is not great that day we can just move on, or if we find an idyllic spot to have lunch we just drop anchor and eat! Fantastic!

Anyway we caught 2 baracudadived a few different sites and explored the Menai Bay area before sailing the group back across to Dar es Salaam. The children made themselves at home and didn’t want to leave at the end of the 4 days. Another excellent trip thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Later in August Eric went to Mwanza, Lake Victoria, for an Investor’s Forum which went very well. The region is really beginning to move ahead and there is a definite need for improved transportation on the Lake, which is what he has been actively working on for the past couple of years (not to be confused with the 2 Lake ferries presently stuck in Dar). His project is really gathering momentum now as his company has been granted Strategic Investor Status by the government and TIC (Tanzania Investment Centre). This is a special status which is given to certain projects concerned with developing the infrastructure of the country and aiming to improve the lives and opportunities of the people. In late September we both visited the region again, to do a survey of the Lake levels in certain areas to establish whether they are high enough to accommodate the draft of the various vessels we are planning to build for the region. At present the Lake levels are at all time lows, which creates further challenges with the design, however I have never known Eric to be put off by yet one more challenge! Next month we will be in Australia to finalise the design of the 3 vessels, a 61 metre catamaran ferry, a 60 metre fuel barge and a 60 metre container vessel.

Around mid-September we beached “Amarula” up at Lazy Lagoon and finally got round to cleaning and painting the anti-foul on her hulls which we had hoped to do last November, whilst she was on the Slipway in Zanzibar. Unfortunately the paint didn’t clear customs before we had to come back off the slip, so it’s great to have the new paint on and she looks and sails a whole lot better. We also fixed the new UV (that we bought in UK) on the sails, as the old UV strip was hanging off and looking very shabby, so she is looking very smart again now.

Lazy Lagoon was a lovely place to take some time out for a morning kayak amongst the mangroves before starting work on the painting. The bird life there is stunning and you actually see, as well as hear, many of them. We kayaked ashore for walks on deserted beaches tucked away in the mangroves, then kayaked around the various islands and watched the pied kingfishers, kites, herons, fish eagles, yellow billed storks , pelicans and a myriad of other birds.

With that we look forward to seeing you on board soon.

Why not read our Guest Book page (newly updated) – Enjoy!

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