East African sailing trip – log 23

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September 6, 2004

Londo village - Pemba Bay
Londo village - Pemba Bay

Hopefully this is the final day that the NE wind will pester us. The weather network reports a change to Southerly winds early tomorrow. With that good news to spur us on, we move to the Pemba Beach Hotel which is another belonging to the Rani Group of hotels. We are up at 4:45am.

Wolf empties our spare drums of water into our main tanks adding 75lts to them. We are hoping to fill them at the hotel. If possible we would like to catch a taxi into Pemba to get supplies, fresh produce and diesel.   

mangroves and baobabs
mangroves and baobabs line the largest natural harbour in Southern Africa

As the sun shines golden on the majestic Baobabs flooding the secluded bay with a yellow glow, we begin to see fishermen moving across the waters searching for another meal. This bay which has been our home for the past 4 days will forever remain fondly in our memory.

Memories filled with the sense of peace and tranquility; of lush green mangrove-lined rivers, of friendly locals who respected our need for privacy and of mantis shrimp rich waters luring game fish of various species.

As we tie up to the jetty and make our way to the hotel, we meet Brendon and Sue, skipper and hostess from yacht “Walkabout” a charter yacht based at Pemba beach Hotel. He has arranged for a truck to take them to town and offers to take us with him.

diesel drums of fuel
diesel drums of fuel

We get chatting and they tell us how difficult the charter business is for them in Pemba, conditions on their mooring are usually rough – the wind is predominantly from the NE and the swells run high making their anchorage rough and challenging when it is time stock up on vittles or load passengers onboard.

We walk around the town of Pemba, mainly visiting the market.

Prices are very high as usual on all imported goods one of them being cheese (we buy a 1.5kg block which costs us US$82.00) but that is our one luxury item and we feel it is worth it. Vegetables and fruit are inexpensive and plentiful especially locally grown produce.

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Pemba Rani Hotel
Pemba Rani Hotel

We meet briefly with Gustav Fouche who we know is looking for someone to take care of the “marina” and leave a resume with him.

 He shows us around the Hotel which is truly 5 star luxury and extremely beautiful. He allows us to fill our water-drums from the tap at the marina… this sounds easier than it actually is.

First we need to get all our supplies on board without getting them wet. The swells are high and the sea is rough. The NE is still blowing fiercely not making it a simple task.

We have anchored just outside the breakers; Karibu is riding the swells like a bucking bronco.

Pemba marina
Pemba Bay Hotel Marina

Then begins the task of carrying the jerry-cans of diesel onboard; I stay onboard so that I can try to hold the dingy stead – without getting it squashed under the dive-platform deck, while he off-loads them onto this dive-platform behind the cockpit.

Once on the deck he transfers the diesel into the tank trying not to spill too much of this precious liquid gold.

After transferring the diesel he loads the dingy with our empty water jerry-cans (25lt plastic drums). I feel for him as this is a challenging task. Fetching water entails a hair-raising dingy ride through the crashing waves, securing the dingy to the jetty then climbing the long steep ramp up to the wharf.

The tap is situated at least his height below the wharf which means that as each drum is filled he has to lift it above his head back onto the wharf.  Once lifted he has to struggle back down the steep ramp and make his way to Karibu – bouncing from wave-top to wave-top. He repeats this 3 times in order to fill the tanks and the drums as reserve.

wake caused by Duck Manatee
wake caused by Duck Manatee

We are exhausted and decide to head back to our anchorage of the previous nights. It is safe and calm and we are assured of a good rest. The local fishermen from the nearby village called Londo are very friendly and invite us to visit them. We did not go ashore but spoke to them from the dingy, the men sitting on the banks of the river chatting to us while the women prepared food on open fires and the children scampered about playing excitedly trying to attract our attention.


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