Captain’s Log December 2004


CAPTAIN’S LOG October to December 2004

In October we went back to Australia for Eric to work on the designs for his shipping project on Lake Victoria. Things are really moving now with this project and we are delighted to say that in February 2005 we have a new crew joining us to assist with the charter work.

It was lovely to catch up with friends and relatives back in Australia and Lynne had her chance to spend a little time with the new addition to the family, Eric’s grandson, Bayden. He is a big boy now and no doubt will follow in his grandfather’s footsteps becoming a rugby player in time!

Lynne had a bit of a scare whilst in Oz when having a routine medical check up. She had noticed a dark ‘mole’ appear on her chest earlier in the year, so had it checked out. It turned out to be a malignant melanoma, which thankfully was immediately & expertly removed at one of the specialist skin cancer clinics on the Gold Coast. We had no idea just how serious these things could be, so we urge you, if you ever notice any new ‘spots’ or ‘moles’ on your skin, get them looked at without delay.

Our first weekend back in Dar saw the end of the Tanzacat Races, so we joined the party and headed over to Mbudya island for the weekend celebrations. Many people camped ashore and the Yacht Club put on a BBQ and bar. Tanzacat attracted catamaran sailors from many countries and was yet again a most enjoyable and successful event. Well Done DYC!

In early November we had another charter across to Menai Bay with a family group from South Africa. We took our party to the usual places, Pamunda island, Kwale sandbank and lagoon and snorkelling at Pungume. We anchored at the island just south of Miwi. It had been over a year since our last visit and the island was stunning. A mini sandbank had formed, separated from the main beach by a stretch of water, which we could wade through to the sandbank. We decided to clamber up the rocks and wander in the rainforest, where we marvelled at the array of birdcalls and enjoyed the coolness of the shade. The next morning we sailed down to Kizimkazi where we anchored off the beach for lunch before sailing back to Dar in the afternoon.

From the middle to the end of November Eric was busy with a visiting expert, Daan, from an organisation called PUM, who had come across to Dar to write up a report on the Lake Victoria project for funding from the banks. This involved taking Daan up to Mwanza, across the lake on the existing 40+ year old ferry to Bukoba, plus introducing him to all the parties and aspects involved in the project.

Just after Daan left we had a corporate charter with Celtel, which went very well. We took the group out to Mbudya and as most of their guests were on a flying visit from UK, they were delighted to jump into the clear, warm waters of the Indian Ocean. They were also very happy to have the day out on the boat as a break from the monotony of the boardrooms.

From December 8th – 12th we had the 40th Dar – Tanga Yacht Race from DYC. It was great to be a part of the action again this year, having cruised along with the race 2 years ago. We had the largest number of participants in the race’s history. 22 yachts if I’m not mistaken. As usual Tanga Yacht Club put on great food for us and even kept a meal for the final sailors who arrived in the early hours of Friday morning after being becalmed for hours. We had some spinnaker trouble on our way back, but luckily sorted it out and once again sped past most of the yachts at an average of 9.5 – 10 knots as far as Bagamoyo when the wind died and after attempting unsuccessfully to get a reasonable angle on the wind, we dropped anchor and dozed for a few hours. The wind didn’t pick up so we decided to motor the final few hours. There’s always next year…….

As always December is a party month in Dar and with ex-Dar friends arriving for the holiday period, the pantomime, various other parties and do’s, it was a relief to take off on a pre-Christmas charter for 5 days from 18th – 22nd December. On the first night we decided to anchor again at the pretty island just south of Miwi, that we had rediscovered in November. Eric announced that it would have been his Dad’s 100th birthday, so as the island didn’t have a name on the chart, we christened it Centenary Island & cracked a bottle of bubbly to celebrate. We enjoyed oysters off the rocks and the kids paddled the kayaks between the island and it’s sandbank. Later we cooked up the tuna we had caught and the next day we sailed up to Stone Town for the Spice Tour, Prison Island visit and obligatory sundowners at Mercury’s bar. After some more snorkelling we sailed across to Lazy Lagoon to try and catch a fish for the 2 avid fishermen we had on board. Unfortunately we had to wait until the last day when we managed to catch a baracuda on the sail back to Dar.

Christmas Day was spent with a big group of friends and an even bigger amount of food and drink! What we remember of it was great fun! The next day we sailed with some friends across to Fungu Yasin sandbank. Mid-morning Lynne’s mum phoned to check we were okay and told us about the dreadful tsunami that had hit many parts of the Indian Ocean.

We turned on the news and watched in horror as the numbers of casualties rose by the minute. Whilst we were swimming we did notice some very unusual tidal motion and peculiar fish behaviour. Also we felt an incredible pull when attempting to swim back to the boat from the island. We can only think that this was caused by the tsunami. We took the precaution of anchoring in deeper water out in the bay that night just in case. We were very fortunate and our hearts go out to the people who have lost family, friends and their livelihoods in this terrible disaster.

After a fairly subdued few days watching the tsunami news unfold, we spent a relaxing couple of days up in the mountains for New Year. Let’s hope that some good comes out of the earthquake disaster and brings people closer together, helping us to recognise the value and importance of our family and friends above the crazy conflicts that continue in our world.

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

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