East African sailing trip – log 54

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October 21, 2004

Rhett and Denise want to go ashore in the afternoon and offer to watch the yachts in the morning. Wolf and I catch a taxi into Stone Town and are able to visit many more of the little shops that line the narrow streets; One in particular called “Memories of Zanzibar” where we buy some really beautiful cool cotton shirts and 2 wrap around skirts. We uploaded the latest newsletter and sent birthday greeting to our gorgeous daughter in Canada.

We arrived back at the yacht at 1:30pm at after a swim and a siesta dropped Rhett & Denise off on the beach. They were interested in visiting the Forodhani Gardens. The gardens are located along the main sea-walk of Stone Town, just in front of the most famous buildings of Stone Town, i.e., the House of Wonders and the Old Fort. They are especially crowded after sunset, when tourists and local alike gather in a popular food street market in the main square, to have dinner eating Swahili and Zanzibari cuisine;  delicacies such as grilled seafood, samoosas, cassava and sweet potatoes.

Rhett’s all-time favourite band is Queen and so they naturally visit Freddie Mercury’s Bar. This legendary singer was born in Zanzibar.

Back on Karibu we decide to BBQ a fresh fish served with baked potatoes and a big tossed-salad. The sunsets here are amazing. The view from our floating home is always changing providing a myriad photograph images.

My best time is in the evening when the little children are playing on the beach their laugher filling the air, their goats walk aimlessly along the shore and older men sit in groups smoking and talking. From the distance the call to mosque from the Muezzin resonates through the villages and ricochets across the water. I am at peace, my heart soars with gratitude and joins the fish-eagles surfing the thermals above.

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The Lodge owners have been super-welcoming. They allow us to use the fresh-water swimming pool, the showers and the common space (which includes the dining room – beach bar and internet room). We feel safe here knowing they have a guard on the beach so when we bring our dingy ashore we drag it way up near the pool and are happy that it is being watched.

I finish another newsletter and send it from the lodge, before the 4 of us head off to find our guide for a spice-tour. Zanzibar is known as ‘the Spice Island’ and we feel we cannot leave without visiting the plantations. We are able to see, smell, feel and taste many of them including cloves (known here as the King Spice of Zanzibar) Cinnamon (the Queen Spice, because every part of this tree is used) peppercorns, Cardamom, Coffee, Cocoa, vanilla, sesame seeds, lemongrass, chili and many more.

The young boy who is fetching all the spices for us to sample begins to weave little baskets from strips of palm leaves, which he presents to Denise and I to store our samples. Next he weaves a pendant for us, and palm-leaf neckties and top-hats for the guys; all this while our guide enthralls us with information about the various spices, giving us interesting history about the origin, as well as facts regarding the medicinal properties and uses of each spice.

By midday we are hot, tired and thirsty and as we approach the cool welcoming coconut grove, our guide calls a young teenager. After exchanging a few words in Swahili the boy climbs a nearby coconut tree and pulls off a coconut for each of us. He cuts off the tops and hands them over saying, “Good try… This is Zanzibar Coco-cola.”

The sweet refreshing contents hits the spot, satisfying our thirst and bringing back memories of our stay in the Comores Islands (another sailing blog which needs recording) where it was our preferred drink of the day.

By 1:00pm we are back onboard and I make tomato, lettuce, cheese and onion sandwiches before our afternoon nap. It’s tiring work sight-seeing and we have become used to the little early afternoon snooze. It amazes me how well I am sleeping onboard. I am not one who generally requires much sleep yet I find I can close my eyes and catch a few catnaps several times a day and still sleep wonderfully at night. I am averaging 10 or more hours of sleep a day, which for me is phenomenal.

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