Captain’s Log July 2009

July 2009 – time for another update. In the last update we included our 2008 Madagascar trip and our Tanzanian Northern Circuit safari. As 2009 has been a little quieter for us, we will write here about our Australia trip from October 2008, plus our friends’ 25th Wedding Anniversary visit and the 2008 Dar – Tanga Yacht race amongst other things.

In October last year we were fortunate enough to enjoy the spectacular drive along the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne. We flew from Dar es Salaam to Brisbane via Dubai on 5th October leaving ‘Amarula’ and Chui & Scrumpy in the safe hands of good friends Trish & Fitz, who had moored alongside us at Dar Yacht Club. Our first week in Oz was spent catching up with family and friends in the Yamba area and doing the usual rounds of doctors, dentists, banking and accountants.

On 12th October we flew from Brisbane to Melbourne where we were met by John & Barb (long time friends of Eric) and we began the long drive to the Barossa Valley near Adelaide.

On Monday 13th we met up with a whole group of Eric’s ex-Navy buddies for a big reunion. We arrived mid-afternoon and spent the next 4 days catching up, having BBQs, meals out, visiting wineries and various Barossa Valley and regional villages and places of interest.

Some of the group hadn’t been together since the early 70’s, so there was a lot of catching up to do and we had a fantastic time – well done to the organisers for all their hard work! Apart from the cameraderie within the group, the highlights for us were Chateau Tanunda group wine tasting, Maggie Beer’s and a day trip which took in Hahndorf, Goolwa and Victor Harbor. At the end of the week we said our goodbyes and made plans for another reunion in 2 years time in the Margaret River wine region of Western Australia. From Barossa we drove with John and Barb back along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne stopping off at some of the spectacular, historic and picturesque locations along the ‘shipwreck’ coast such as Mount Gambier, Bay of Islands, London Bridge, 12 Apostles, Port Fairy and Warrnambool.

We stopped off in Robe to say hello to Trish’s mum! Then we continued to Beachport where we found a lovely pub for the night and had a great view across to the beach from our balcony. Mount Gambier was fascinating with its blue lake and sinkholes, one being right in the middle of the town – amazing.

We also had a quick stop in Portland where we took in the Maritime museum and learnt that many ships arrived here to deliver their cargo of Brits looking for a new life and opportunities in the Lucky Country. Sadly many were shipwrecked along this coast too. The small war museum in the old water tower, run by the local RSL was interesting, particularly for Eric and John, being ex-Navy.

Plus it had great views over the city. Warrnambool had another impressive museum which we would like to have explored but as time was limited we decided to visit the sights themselves and save the museum to sometime in the future as we certainly intend to return to this area for another visit. Without doubt the rock formations including the world famous 12 Apostles were the most spectacular part of the trip, however each place had its own highlights.

After a few days with John & Barb in Melbourne showing us the city and a very memorable visit to the William Ricketts Sanctuary in Dandenong (a peaceful garden of incredible sculptures), we flew to Sydney to meet Eric’s daughter, Nicole & her partner Dave, who are both in the Ambulance Service. Nicole has since been posted to Coolah in mid-west NSW & Dave a short 120 km away. In Sydney we had the opportunity to experience the Bondi ‘Sculptures By the Sea‘ exhibition. Despite the rainy and blustery conditions the exhibition more than made up for the weather. We also met up with our friends Peter & Lorraine who had visited us in Madagascar in May 2008. We shared our photos & further experiences after they had returned to Oz.

From Sydney we returned to Yamba and spent the rest of our time with family, which was great. Jody & Graeme had booked us a surprise

stay at the Angourie Rainforest Resort as a ‘Thank You’ for their Tanzania visit in September, so we had a special dinner there with them, Nicole & Dave and Daniel. Luckily we managed to see more of the grandchildren too.

Soon after we returned to Tanzania from Oz, we had a visit from Judith, one of Lynne’s oldest friends, and her husband, Phil to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary.

We had met up with them in UK in January 2008 and were surprised and delighted when they contacted us later in the year to say they would like to come to Tanzania to celebrate their special occasion. They arrived towards the end of November and we spent a leisurely week on the boat visiting Menai Bay (southern Zanzibar) and Lazy Lagoon, after which they went on a safari to Sand Rivers Camp in the Selous and then spent a few nights at Breezes on Zanzibar’s east coast.

The night before Judith & Phil left we all went to spend a night at the Kempinski Hotel for the St. Andrew’s Ball, which was great fun.

We were lucky to have our very own ‘private concert’ onboard the next evening by the musicians who had been brought out from UK for the Ball. Then, whilst Judith & Phil were travelling around Tanzania we took part in the annual Dar to Tanga yacht race and despite our amazing record-breaking achievement in 2006 (Captain’s Log Dec 2006), we managed a spectacular achievement this year in that we got through a case of beer between Fungu Yasin and DYC – I think our return sail from Tanga took us around twice as long as 2 years earlier! Never mind we did well with the fishing…..

We spent Christmas back at Lazy Lagoon, which has become a favourite spot for us lately

as the dogs literally have free reign there – we are not tied to tide times to go ashore and there are lovely walks on long, empty beaches and through the mangroves, fabulous birdlife – we even managed to see the carmine bee eaters en route back to the Selous from northern climes – and a calm, protected anchorage. We made it back to Dar to celebrate the New Year with friends onboard and enjoyed the fireworks around Dar.

2009 has seen Eric travelling to Mozambique and Malawi on some interesting consultancy jobs (click here for more details of Eric ‘Livingstone’ Toyer’s adventures!). Easter was spent with a bunch of Hashers at Udzungwa at Hondo Hondo camp there, which was great fun.

Superb waterfalls and hiking trails and of course lots of good food, entertainment and good company. Lynne has been to UK to visit family. Later in the year Nicole and Dave are planning to visit us. Other than that we are taking life day-by day and not making too many plans at this time.

For previous Captain’s Logs, please click here