Captain’s Log April 2007

APRIL 2007 –

click for update by crazy crew member Rhona (May 13 2007)

Sorry we are pretty slack in doing our own updates but Rhona’s Ramblings No 2 & 3 (or Princesses Ponderings No 2 & Ponderings No 3 are now online)

We are getting very close now to our ETD of May 1st, when we plan to start our long trip down to Mozambique and Madagascar. We intend to spend the next 6 to 7 months sailing and head back to Dar by the end of this year.

Our Christmas/ New Year trip to Pemba and Kenya really whet our appetite to get out there and do lots more sailing and exploring new places.

We departed Dar on December 22nd and sailed very slowly towards Pemba arriving just north of Bagamoyo to anchor up for sundowners and a relaxing evening. Our second day’s sailing wasn’t much quicker, but as we approached Pemba from the west on Day 3 we had much better wind angles and arrived at Fundu Lagoon in time for sundowners and a warm welcome from Julia and Merv. The next day, Christmas day, they kayaked across to join us for Bucks Fizz breakfast cocktails, then we tucked into our delicious Christmas lunch of roast pork and vegies. We enjoyed relaxing for the rest of the day before setting sail for Tanga to clear out of Tanzania on Boxing Day.

Clearing out in Tanga was a breeze and clearing in a couple of days later in Shimoni, Kenya was also easy. We decided to spend the day in Shimoni before heading up to Mtwapa Creek ready to meet up with friends for New Year’s Eve. As all the sailing north was against wind and currents we ended up motoring most of the trip up to Lamu, near the Somali border, knowing that it would be a lot easier sailing back south later in the month!

New Year’s Eve was spent with friends who we knew from Dar almost 10 years ago, so it was great to catch up with them and party.

We had drinks and snacks at Kenya Marineland before going back onboard to watch the fireworks go off along the Creek at midnight. On New Year’s Day we all went into Mombasa for breakfast before saying our farewells. The rest of the day we spent meeting new people at Kenya Marineland, which was very pleasant. The managers, Gary and Francee, are great hosts and make yachties particularly welcome.

The first week of January we were busy organising new batteries, anti-foul paint and other spares and provisions in Mombasa. To make things easier we hired a car for a couple of days. Towards the end of the week, Geoffrey, our Tanzanian crew member caught the bus up to meet us and join us for the rest of the trip. The 3 of us motor sailed up to Kilifi Creek on Saturday 6th January, where we met up with friends at the Kilifi Boat Club for afternoon drinks. Quite a party!

Then on the Monday another friend, Cathy, who had sailed with us across from Darwin to Dar back in 2002, joined us for the trip up to Lamu. Again we motor sailed north as the winds and current weren’t in our favour and we took 3 days to reach Lamu. There are not many sheltered anchorages north of Kilifi, so we had a couple of choppy nights and a rather unpleasant welcome at Tenewe Island as we anchored for the night there. Apparently the island is owned by a South African who doesn’t like visitors! Nor does he allow the local fishermen from Lamu to fish off his island anymore, so we were told whilst we were in Lamu. Not the best way to make yourself popular with the locals…..

Lamu was really special. A place that evokes romantic images in the way that Zanzibar does. Whilst it has Arabic influences and similar beautiful doors to Zanzibar, the lack of cars on the island make it so much more relaxed and peaceful.

There’s a very friendly atmoshere at the Peponi Hotel at Shela town about a 40 minute walk along the beach from Lamu town. It was particularly pleasant to mix with the local people and learn about their culture and the background of the region. We were told that people moved from one island to another over the years in search of fresh water and that many of the battles between the islanders was over water!

From Lamu we sailed to Kiwayuu Island just a little further north where we relaxed for a couple of days and tried to find some interesting dive spots, however we were not too impressed with Kenya dive sites and the inclement weather didn’t help with visibility. Pemba, Tanzania, still has to be one of most spectacular places we have dived to date and we enjoyed a few days there on the way back to Dar at the end of January.

On our way back from Lamu to Kilifi we heard from friends that a little Jack Russell puppy was available in Malindi, so we called in and picked him up! We’ve named him Chui, which means leopard in Swahili, because of his black spots, plus he is also very ‘chewy’!

He’s adorable and whilst we still miss Chumvi so much, we are thoroughly enjoying settling Chui into our liveaboard lifestyle and he’s doing great. We try to kayak ashore with him as often as we can and take him walking on the beach, which he loves. He’s also a good little swimmer and jumps in the sea to swim back and forth between our 2 kayaks! He can’t seem to make up his mind which one he wants to travel in…

Our return sail from Lamu via Kilifi and on to Mtwapa was wonderful with the wind and currents working with us. It was also a much more comfortable ride which was great for little Chui to settle in. We enjoyed catching up again with friends at Kilifi 

and were joined by Anne & Horst and another couple on the sail back from there to Mtwapa. Cathy wanted to stop en route to dive at Vuma caves she had heard good things about. Whilst the visibility wasn’t great, there was plenty of fish life and turtles making the dive worthwhile.

Cathy left us at Mtwapa to join other friends for the rest of her visit to Kenya and we all enjoyed a lovely lunch together at the Tamarind in Mombasa before saying goodbye. Eric & I spent the next few days provisioning and collecting all our spares ready to head back to Tanzania.

We picked up some friends in Shimoni to join us for some diving in Pemba. Again we were rewarded with spectacular diving and fantastic visibility. We managed to dive at least once a day for most of the Pemba trip. We also enjoyed watching the marlin broaching, however we didn’t enjoy losing our fishing tackle to them! Our friends had a great night dive at the wreck at Panza Point before we sailed back to Zanzibar where we had dinner with them at 236 Hurumzi (formerly Emerson & Green’s rooftop restaurant) in Stone Town.

Geoffrey also dismebarked in Stone Town and caught the ferry back to Dar. Lynne, Eric & Chui had a couple of days in Menai Bay enjoying swiming, kayaking and relaxing before heading back to Dar to carry on preparations for the bigger sailing trip coming up.

At the end of February Eric popped back to Australia for his daughter Jody’s wedding. Unfortunately Lynne didn’t make it to Oz as Chui, still being a young pup, needed his mum!!

Since Eric’s return from Oz he has been busy doing last minute work preparing Amarula for the trip south. He took the boat out in the Navy dockyard in Dar to antifoul and fix up some of the other jobs. Meanwhile Lynne flew back to UK for a couple of weeks with mum.

All being well or insha’allah as they say here in Tanzania we plan to set sail in just over a week’s time. We hope to see some of you join us from time to time as we sail. Just drop us an e-mail (contacts page)

Our good friends, Rhona & Hannes, will be joining us to share the sailing, travelling & dog watch duties! As Hannes is a dive instructor it’s an ideal opportunity for any of you who want to get certified to enjoy the liveaboard experience whilst training to dive!!

For previous Captain’s Logs, please click here