East African sailing trip – log 48

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October 9, 2004

The expression “slept like a baby” is one I never fully understood until I started sailing! Being a person who hardly ever enters into deep sleep, I discovered this luxury after long, hot days of sailing the tropics.

Dares Salaam Yacht Club

One can’t begin to describe the fatigue associated with fresh air, hard work, stress and intense heat.  The relief at knowing you are safely anchored, the onset of the cool night air, the quiet after the din of wind, sails, and motors, sends one into a state of total release and blissful peace. It was from this surreal state that I am jolted awake…

“Dingy… Dingy… this is yacht Sanyati!” we hear booming from the VHF radio in our boat.

“Sanyati… Sanyati… this is Dingy!” the reply comes.  

“Dingy…please come and fetch us” …

We roll out of bed, sleep still gluing our eyelids. I look at the clock. It is 7:30am – when was the last time we slept till 7:30am? The sun is streaming into the cabin; perspiration is beginning to form small beads on my forehead. I pull on a swim-suit and cover up with a brightly-coloured sarong, push my toes into my flip-flops and head for the cockpit stopping to fill the kettle as I pass through the galley. A cool breeze welcomes me as I walk out into the cockpit.

Sunday morning at DYC
Sunday morning at DYC

So this is Dar es Salaam Yacht Club! A vibrant community of yachties, sailors and locals, many of them expats now living in Dar’ – we met some of the members last night and also yachties who were passing by but enjoyed the club so much that 7 years later are still here. 

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The secluded swimming-pool is a welcome stop for me, and the huge quarterdeck with DSTV, restaurants and 2 bars obviously a huge attraction to the members.

It is Sunday and we enjoy the facilities, socializing with the members who are welcoming and friendly. Each evening there is a ‘special’ menu at irresistible prices – it is no wonder that the club is so well frequented. The atmosphere reminds one of what it must have been like in the days of colonialism; these members especially the locals spend their evenings and weekends wiling away their time in the company of expats and friends who form their social network and support group. I understand completely why this is such a close knit group!

October 10, 2004

The Slipway
The Slipway

We collect our gate passes and venture down the road to the ‘Slipway’ to visit the Shoprite Supermarket. To our amazement we find a modern waterfront complex complete with Curio shops, restaurants, banks, and a hairdressing parlor.

We draw money at the ATM and make a bee-line for the ice-cream shop. At the supermarket, I am like a child at Christmas time.I never thought I would ‘ooh & aah’ over cake flour, cereal, and Domestos (cleaning agent)… I was in 7th heaven strolling down the aisles of the supermarket recognizing my favorite brands. What a treat!

Ahhh ... icecream
Ahhh … icecream

Back at the DYC we meet even more people. It is the watering-hole and meeting place for the residents at expats of Dar es Salaam. There are many South Africans here on contract as well as residents who have remained here since independence. They seem to love the lifestyle even though once one leaves the sanctuary of the yacht club one sees the contrast.

We enjoyed our lunch on the cool patio then decided to stroll to the internet café to send and check for emails. I love all the inexpensive sarongs and colorful paintings being displayed along the boardwalk.

Later back at the quarterdeck we meet up with Peter and Rosie from yacht Belegaire – a couple Wolf had met in Richard’s Bay. We decide to go out for dinner and they take us to a place called ‘sweet easy’ – the offering is a mixture of Thai and East Indian dishes and while being up-market the food is extremely tasty, plentiful and reasonably priced. As they drive us around Dar’ we realized we are still in third world Africa. We sense the vibrancy and energy everywhere.

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