Day 10 – 11 June 2011
Woke up to white sand and the sea virtually at my feet. The weather is perfect. After breakfast we board the boat and are on our way to catch some game fish, snorkel and scuba dive. The water is smooth but unfortunately no fish. Our oldest member of the team, Mike goes for a scuba dive with Mark while the rest of us snorkel in the middle of ocean over some rocks in shallow water. The trip back is round a magnificent island.
Lunch of crab salad and then a casual afternoon enjoying the deserted beach.
The evening brings a fantastic supper of crayfish and much hilarity again. The day is too short. Although Paul has been to the island before he is missing something special. He, however, has taken on the duty of sorting out the vehicle, a chore that has to be done from time to time when travelling.
A quiet day on the island with a visit to the baobab tree with a girth of 22m. As the tide is full Mark and myself head out to a buoy about 200m offshore to do some scuba diving. We see a fantastic range of fish from crayfish, bass and brightly coloured shoals of little to large fish including 3 devil fish.
Late afternoon we are off on a booze cruise up the river on one boats still loaded with cane for the building on the island.
As usual the supper again is superb with a not so quiet evening again. Paul has a lazy day around camp swimming and a trip into Pemba to fill up with fuel.
Unfortunately time to leave the island and get on the road again. The trip back to the mainland is very bumpy. After we meet up with Paul we leave with Team Ivory for our next stop which is Mueda in northern Mozambique. The others will catch up later. The trip is long with the last section of approx 60 km of badly potted road. We arrive at Mueda in the late afternoon where we fill up with fuel. By this time the teams are together again except for Team Halfway.
Peter has left 2 days before to get to Dar es Salaam to pick up his wife, Jenny, at the airport. Mike of Team Halfway has joined Team Ivory for the trip to Dar. We were supposed to camp at the hotel however we cant find any hotel in Mueda. Unanimous decision to do a bush camp. Again the road is shocking. Luckily we find a Sand quarry just before dark. Paul gets the fire going while everybody else gets the camp set up. An evening to be remembered with a “ wild” party with music and dancing ie until Mark’s radio decided to go on the blink.
One of our best camping nights so far.
Early morning start as we have to get to Lindi on one of the worst roads so far. The border crossing on the Moz side as well as into Tanzania is a breeze with all the officials very friendly. The road is bad dirt again. At last we are on tar again – Viva tar! Bang! A stone hits our wind screen. We suddenly have a big round crack about the size of a tennis ball directly in line of site of the driver. Icevan is the second victim as Team Lipstick has a broken suspension and has gone ahead to Dar es Salaam.
Our destination is Lindi. What a run down place it turns out to be. We hire 1 double room and 1 single room as that is all that have available. We decide to sleep in our vehicle while the other members share the rooms with tents being erected in the room and on the veranda. We order chicken which everybody agrees must be hadedah or the toughest bird on earth.
Our day seem to have settled into a daily routine of getting up while it is still dark outside and getting on the road before sunrise. Today is no different. We have approx 500km to get to Dar. We hit the mother of all deviations with potholes and matatus (busses and mini busses) travelling at such a speed that they barely have control and we have to dodge and often have to get off the road to miss them. After an exhausting drive we arrive at Dar only to be met with extreme traffic. We take 2 hours to get through the town and get to Silver Sands where Peter has organized rooms for us. We meet up with the bikers again and have a good get together. We decide to sleep in our van again which we find preferable to the rooms.
Icevan is first on the road. one and a half hours later we get out of Dar. Thank goodness. The road to Mombasa is tar with lots of villages and speed guns on the way. At every village there are at least 4 speed bumps so the travelling is slow. We only arrive at Mombassa in the dark. A decision has been made to stay at the Tamarind hotel. Unfortunately we have a long wait for the ferry into Mombassa and traffic holdups mean that we get to the hotel pretty late, only to be told that the hotel is full. We eventually stay at Nyali Beach Resort with a beautiful setting on the beachfront.
The banter regarding the vehicles ( which has never stopped) as to which of the vehicles is the best. As far as we are concerned ICEVAN is definitely still the best as the suspension on Lipstick has broken and Bulldog has to replace a front wheel bearing. Needless to say this subject will be brought up again and again.
Left Mombasa – thank goodness. The traffic and driving is terrible. We are on our way travelling to Watamu to Meet and stay at Geff Shones’ house. Once out of town the drive is quite pleasant except for the speed bumps. We arrive at Watamu with a very welcome sight. The house is a Beautiful open colonial style house – an oasis compared to what we have experienced lately.
Went to Ocean Sports hotel for drinks and met up with three guys which are travelling south they gave us some good tips for the road ahead as well as a rundown of their breakdowns. After a couple of Tuskers we went back to Club 15 to relax. All our washing was done in no time and our vehicles repacked for departure tomorrow. Later we had sundowners at the hotel and a tasty supper at SAVANNA Restaurant which concluded the evening as everybody was tired and turned in for a good night’s sleep.