East African sailing trip – log 47

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October 7, 2004

Stomach cramps still plague Wolf and he has visibly lost weight – we are all worried, Rhett brings him 2 Nexiums and asks if he is up to sailing today. Wolf was determined to keep up and says he is fine to continue.

Sailing is the life for us
Sailing is the life for us

We sail a few miles to Barakuni Island (Barakuni Island, with a latitude of -7.73 (7° 43′ 60 S) and a longitude of 39.75 (39° 45′ 0 E). The location is situated 559 kilometers east (110°) of the approximate center of Tanzania and 116 kilometers south east (154°) of the capital Dar es Salaam. It has an average elevation of 1 meters above the sea.

It is still early so we move on to Shungu Mbili 8.2 miles northwest of Barakuni. Our sole purpose for visiting this Island is to take photographs. This island is 2 meters above sea level at its highest point but we have become accustomed to the beauty that surrounds us and don’t find this as spectacular as expected.

Our overnight waypoint is a little island called Kwale. We approach it in the late afternoon after seeing 3 dhows in the distance also making their way towards the island. We anchor off the little village.

One Dhow manages to sneak in just before dark. the second one is heading straight towards us and we quickly swtich on our anchor and deck-light. He drops his sail but underestimates the distance to the shore so has to spend the night anchored behind us. The last Dhow makes it to the beach assisted by our bright spotlight to guide him in.

October 8, 2004

We are so excited we only have 50nm to sail to Dar es Salaam so wake up eager for an early start. The anchorage was bumpy and noisy and we are happy to leave. In a few minutes we are heading out across the Mafia Bay though really big swells on a Northerly heading. The little clump of tress on the horizon indicates the island of Sukati and since it along the way we decide to take a look.

Sukati island - tree houses
Sukati island – tree houses

What a fascinating place! The mangrove trees look strange, protruding from the ocean with no sight of land in the area. The little sandy spit is completely covered at high tide which is when we arrive, leaving this odd phenomenon of trees in the ocean.

Fire Pot
Fire Pot

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My photograph shows how the fishermen ingeniously use the trees for their Robinson Crusoe type temporary shelters; protected from the water and perched in the branches. Wolf climbs up to examine the little tree-houses. The make shift houses are erected from drift wood and materials floated out to Sukati on small dugout canoes. We see evidence of a fire which obviously burnt down the little house and braches of the mangrove tree it was constructed in.

The tide is receding and by the time we inspected the tree-houses we are able to comb the beach for shells. Something that I find amazing is the number of flip-flops we see, either floating in the sea or washed up on the beaches.

boats at anchor
boats at anchor

Reluctantly we board our yachts and leave this exquisite little island and its quaint tree-top village. Our unwillingness to leave is quickly replaced with the anticipated excitement at visiting Dar es Salaam (The name is Arabic for “Harbour of Peace”) I know very little about this place and keen to discover all I can.

My research has revealed that this is the richest city in Tanzania, with a population upwards of 2 million inhabitants. The original Swahili name was Mzizima, which translated means “Healthy town”;  It is situated at 6° 48’ South, 39° 17’ East on a huge natural harbor with sandy beaches in some areas.

Dares Salaam Yacht Club

We head for the Dar’ Yacht Club which is our destination for the next few days. It is a hard sail. We fly the spinnaker and switch on the motors; we need to make the DYC anchorage before night-fall.

The Dar es Salaam Yacht Club was founded in 1933 on the waters’ edge of Dar es Salaam harbour by some keen sailing members of the then Dar es Salaam Club (the location is now the Forodhani Hotel on Kivukoni Front). In 1967 the DYC was moved to the present site of Leopard’s Cove in the clean waters of Msasani Bay.

The sun drops rapidly as we motor sail past Dar’s harbour mouth. Wolf leaves the spinnaker up until we reach our waypoint at the entrance to Leopard’s Cove where we bag it and head in to the yacht club/marina dropping our anchor behind a sea of yachts.

We sip our sundowners absorbing the sounds of music and laughter from the boats, drenched in waves of emotion – from exhaustion, excitement and satisfaction knowing that we are about to meet new yachties and share sailing experience.

While we relax in the cockpit we are visited by a club employee in a dingy. He drops off temporary membership forms as well as the rules and regulations of DYC, we go ashore to complete the formalities; however the office is already closed.

The quarterdeck is a hive of activities, a member kindly signs us in, and Rhett opens an account which allows us to buy supper and drinks. The evening passes in conviviality and we are thoroughly relaxed when we drop exhausted into our bunk.

1 thought on “East African sailing trip – log 47”

  1. Hi there Barbi,
    I got around to it……………..been reading all your blogs, and good to hear that you gearing up to set sail again. Am I right in saying you having visiter’s soon, the Buttlers may even be with you now??? We can never keep up with their movements.
    love Ashton and Zelda

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