East African sailing trip – log 29

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September 12, 2004 

We stop in the Suafo river mouth… our last anchorage before officially arriving in Tanzania. 

The river mouth forms a large bay where 3 rivers combine before spilling into the ocean. 

It was our intention when we left Quifuqui to sail a distance of 30nm to Tacomagi Island but Rhett on Manatee arrived ahead of us by 2.5 miles. He called us on the radio as we are making our turn towards the island and suggests that we continue on as he can see no suitable anchorage, that might protect us from this incessant 18-20kt wind. 

His suggestion is to head an extra 20nm to this secluded bay and what a good decision that is. Just before entering the river we see a pair of whales cavorting nearby and a school of playful dolphins leads us in through the channel. It’s been a long day and the howling wind is relentless and tiring. It is dusk as we drop our anchor in 6.6mts depth. Just off the beach where a dhow has off loaded a group of rowdy passengers. 

A group of men sit around a huge bonfire on the riverbank. The reds and orange hues of the evening sky are turning to purple and deep mid-night blue as the last traces of light disappear over the tree-tops. We are settling in for the night, I am preparing dinner and wolf is filling in the log when all of a sudden we feel the boats lurch and hear what sounds like the anchor dragging. Then a snort and blowing sound sends us racing out to investigate. Rhett is out on deck too. As Wolf scans the surface of the water with the flash-light beam he steps onto a wet foredeck and feels a spray – 

The skipper of the dhow and his companions are laughing when they call out to us, “Mzungu… (white-man)… hippo here… hippo here! 

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September 13, 2004 

Once again a unanimous decision is made to stay and enjoy this lovely place. It is my turn to host the king’s breakfast. We are grateful to be in this secluded place out of the noise of the wind. And to be honest we are hoping to go up the river and spot the hippos that caused us some anxious moments last night. 

We board Duck Manatee and head for the group of locals on the river-bank. Rhett asks about the hippos and where we can find them and the spokesperson agrees to come with us to show us where they usually graze. 

We zoot back and forth craning our necks to see through the mangroves but apart from numerous water birds and pretty fishing villages we don’t see anything except evidence of where the hippos might have come out of the river to forage. After dropping our guide at his village we head back to our boats. 

Wolf climbs up the mast to fix the wind-speed instrument on the mast-head and to secure a loose spreader-end protector – he is able to take some awesome photographs of Manatee and the surrounding area from up there. 

We are truly sorry to leave this peaceful sheltered bay but extremely eager to enter Tanzania.

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