East African sailing trip – Log 15

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August 17, 2004

The day is spent preparing for the next leg of our trip: North to the Pantaloon Islands and Angoche. Wolf scrapes the hull again; the antifouling which we applied in Richards’s Bay before leaving is not as good as the one we initially applied. We have noticed barnacles growing especially on the places where the polish was not rubbed in properly.

Vetkoek - a deep-fried bun with curried ground-beef filling
Vetkoek - a deep-fried bun with curried ground-beef

I bake a loaf of bread, cinnamon buns and “Vetkoek” (traditional South African deep-fried bread dough) which we share with Bill and Jen from Moonshadow.

At 4:30pm Manatee arrives at Benguerra. Denise has bought me some supplies and we get together on their yacht for sundowners to talk about the pending trip.


Rhett tells us that they are in a hurry to get up to Tanzania, but that we will be stopping every night at islands and waypoints along the way, once we reach the Primerras chain of islands

Manatee at sundown

We are so excited to tag along even though he has told us we will have to keep a fast pace to keep up because he is not going to hold back. He tells us that he will fly his spinnaker every opportunity he gets.

Sally from the lodge and Kilo Limo (Kathy, the owner’s wife) joined us as did Bill and Jen for an entertaining evening of fun and laughter ans excited planning.

August 18, 2004

We set the alarm for 4:35am and dress quickly, we confer with Manatee and lift the anchor, setting off at high-tide to take advantage of the depth over the sandbars as well as the outgoing current. The sea in the bay is flat and the wind blows gently from the SE

Following Manatee
Following Manatee - land in sight

Before leaving Bazaruto both yachts are flying spinnakers but soon have to snuff them as we change direction and head for the open sea.

The sea is rough to begin with but eventually settles to a SE swell: still bouncy and very choppy. We see lots of whales and dolphins Wolf loses 2 big fish,’such a pity, we are longing for fresh fish.

We manage to keep up with Manatee averaging 5.5kn… We receive the weather forecast for similar conditions through the night and short choppy seas.
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August 19, 2004

All the night Wolf is badly seasick. I am not feeling great but manage to keep from throwing up. We are taking a pounding in the lumpy chop. Water comes in through the forward cabin hatch and we realize that we will have to do something about the seals – perhaps the canvas covers I made are preventing a proper seal.

Mantis Shrimp - is not really a shrimp
Mantis Shrimp - is not really a shrimp

The wind picks up and thefront roller-furling gets stuck. Wolf has to go up front to manually furl the Genoa. The wind strengthens to 18kn but we have a 3kn current against us as we are well into the Mozambique current  (probably explains the confused seas)

By 4:00am “Bongani” the name we gave to our third crew member, the auto helm is making strange noises. And slipping so the whole day is spent with one of us at the helm; then at 11:00am Wolf checked the starboard engine (I have called it Tina) she is making a whining noise.

We decide we must change the oil at the first convenient place. We are both exhausted and Wolf manages to keep a “stugeron” (seasick pill) down long enough to help him eat a little. We spend most of the day taking turns at sleeping & steering. By 1:00pm the sea settles to a gentle rolling swell and the wind speed is also down. We hoist the spinnaker and manage to keep it filled throughout the night. We have to alter course to bypass a fleet of prawn-trawlers who stretch across the horizon for miles.

I feel awful and am no help to the skipper. I am exhausted and need sleep. Fortunately Wolf is feeling stronger and he allows me 4 continuous hours of much needed sleep. I am so grateful to him, he is so considerate. During the night the wind drops and the sea becomes glassy. Wolf is able to fix the auto helm which lifts our spirits and relieves us of the constant vigil at the wheel. It’s as good as new!

August 20, 2004

Mantis shrimp
Mantis shrimp

Another glorious morning! Just as the sun begins to pop its head through the clouds Wolf wakes me to show me a phenomenon I have never seen. Mantis shrimps by the thousands are floating on the ocean surface and as Karibu sails past they scatter in every direction, some even jumping out of the water like flying fish. We try to film them but don’t know whether it is light enough to show on video.

I make breakfast of toast, fried eggs & tomato and we are generally feeling a lot better. We have another day and night before we reach landfall.

dolphins playing at the bow
What a glorious sight

All day dolphins & whales entertain us as we sit on the front deck on our cushion in what we call our “world side seats”  Such a perfect day on the ocean definitely makes up for all the crummy days making it all seem worth while. But it’s doesn’t last for long…

The night is horrendous! The sea is calm and what should have been an easy sail turns into a nightmare. Just after sunset we encounter the first batch of trawlers netting for shrimp off the coast. They drag huge cables with metal rollers in front of the nets and as they comb the seabed they wreck everything in their path.

They work in formation setting their autopilots and often just leave the control room, they have NO regard for anything or anyone in their way. We have to call them many times to get their attention and to alter course but often they take no notice.


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