A Sailing Adventure...
       Last Updated: 2017-10-19
  

 

                          Bazaruto Islands
                                       
 
On Anchor off Benguerra Island             
Tues  22th June 2010 -  Wed  23th June 2010.

 

These two days we spent doing odd jobs. Kevin fixed the grey water bilge pump and the new water maker had a plastic fitting which broke on passage.  We calibrated both our depth meters as we were in very shallow water and we could get exact readings.

Some youngsters, in a wooden rowing boat, Sergio & Jon came round and asked us if they could take our dustbin bags ashore. We asked the fee and they said they just wanted food, and has no use for money on the island. We gave them 4 tins of food, and then later they came again and sold us some live calamari for R50. We also gave them caps and crisps. There were 8 kids in the boat ranging from 3 to about 14 years. They were very happy with their caps.

 

At last I found it – a washing machine – well sort of. 
It doesn’t work on power but rather on bribery. Anyway, it does a damn good job, so we now have caught up all the washing and we have a tub full of clean washing. Washing dries in about 2 hours here.
You are supposed to check in and do your customs and immigration duties, within 48 hours of anchoring, to avoid a large fine, so we were getting worried because we had already been here since Monday evening. 
We tendered over to our neighbours on Salty Dog, Robert and Phillipa, to introduce ourselves and get more info on the procedure. They were exceptionally helpful and gave us all the information needed, waypoints to cross the channel to mainland Vilanculos and the name & contact number of an agent ’Phillip’ who would fetch us and do all the necessary. We planned to go the next day at high tide.
Thursday 24th June 2010
The morning started with a paperfish swimming past the boat. He was too fast so I didn’t get the picture but I am on the lookout for more.
This morning Robert came to Catatude for a quick visit and to lend some of our DVD’s.
Two very old men came past in their dow and offered us live Crayfish, which they had spear fished. The one didn’t even have shorts on, so Kevin game him a pair of shorts and R200 for the 4 crayfish. They asked for caps. Word about the free caps from Catatude had got around the village. 
Later we were also offered sole and calamari by another dow.
We left at  midday for Vilanculos using Roberts waypoints and anchored outside Vilanculos beach lodge where we met Phillip.
Phillip took us in his bakkie to : 1) The maritime office where we got the boats cruising permit valid for 30 days(cost M1610/R400 ) then to the ATM, then to the airport where we did Immigration and got our passports stamped (cost M1000/R250 each) and then to customs (cost M4300/R1075) to clear the boat into the country and pay the custom duty on her.  Needless to say they (customs) had gone home early at 14h00. 
Phillip phoned them and they said it would be  fine for Philip to come in tomorrow to do it without us.  We did everything needed with Phillip except Customs (independence day tomorrow, already closed), we also visited the shop for a few things. And then there was also Phillips "fee".  In total a  quick $360. A small price for a month of paradise?
We had fresh crayfish & wine for dinner. It was delicious.
Friday 25th June 2010
Before we left Joburg, I told Kevin that I need my own transport. I had nightmares of being stuck on the yacht whilst Kevin was visiting another boat (yachties can talk alot) or had gone to land with the tender. I chose a small inflatable tender with a 2hp Honda 4 stroke motor. It was delivered to catatude the week before we left, still in its packaging and was strapped to the trampoline for the passage.
Now compared to Kevin’s choice of tender, which is an aluminium light weight tender, which I now consider as the bakkie, mine was a baby lexus. Mine has holding ropes on the sides, a slatted floor, a single seat and gives a softer ride. Basically small and nifty, a ladies tender.   It was time to launch Lexy. She was blown up, dropped into the water and had her motor fitted (this took a whole morning).   I was given the rundown on where the oil goes and where the petrol goes. Kevin started her and took her for a few laps around Catatude. I was suitably impressed. I got in and carefully did a u-turn back to Catatude and confirmed that I was happy with her.
Today was refill the diesel tanks day but we had to wait for high tide because the beach goes from 25m wide at high tide to 500m wide at low tide, and the distance to carry the fuel from the car to the tender at low tide is too great. We decided to have lunch at the lodge whilst waiting for the tide to come in. Kevin set me off in lexy and he followed in the bakkie, loaded with all the empty fuel cans. At the beach, two little boys caught lexy and guided her to her parking, they would watch the tenders for us, as outboard motors are prime thieving targets .
The lodge was having an Independence Day Fun Day. It was full of locals and lots of Vaalies. Lots of alcohol, pumping music, kids eating toffee apples, beach soccer matches and several pool activities were happening. The vibe and lunch was great.
Phillip arrived and Kevin left to meet him. His list of chores included getting 480l of diesel, draw metica’s from the ATM and get the customs documents that we didn’t get the previous day. 
I stayed at the beach lodge for another 3 hours then decided it was time to head on back to Catatude as I was waiting for an email from Annie at the office with the payroll, which I had to do. 
My heart skipped a beat because Kevin hadn’t shown me how to tilt the engine down back into the water, nor had I actually tried to start lexy on my own. Oh well how hard can it really be I thought, the kids managed fine in Greece where we had a similar tender, so with my years of driving experience, no problem!
I walked to the beach, and tossed my dry bag into lexy and pushed her into slightly deeper water. I knew I had to quickly jump in, quickly tilt the motor down, quickly start her, and quickly start going, otherwise she will turn and face the beach instead of the sea, and I will be driving onto the beach (I told Kevin I wanted a hovercraft tender!).  
I stepped into her, plugged the kill switch in, found and dropped the tilt, pulled the throttle cable with all my might to ensure a start first time. But it almost fluck me out of the boat and dislocated my arm! It is a very short cable and starts quickly at 40cm of pull! By now she was facing sideways and I’m starting to panic! Quick choke in, turn throttle, oh no, Im turning the wrong way, move the bar to the other side, now Im turning too much in the other direction. Zig zag, zig zag, zig zag, finally I get the hang of it, and Lexy and I, have 100m of relatively straight passage.  Catatude is getting closer and now my aim is critical. I want to reach her but not ram her.  Almost there, 1 meter from the boat. I reach out to catch on, loosing concentration on the steering, almost falling out of the tender. Close but no cigar round one : fail. I go around Catatude and try again. This time my circle is too great and we make a big donut around her. Round 2 : fail.  Ok, so perhaps if I go far out and come in on a straight line. I decide the ramming method is the best option at this stage. I aim for the left because the wind is coming from that side and I have the largest boat area to ram. I edge forward in spurts of speed and ram the transom square in the middle. Yahhh, I got it right, but within a split second I am bounced away from her. Its that 1meter distance again. I consider putting the motor off and using the oars to row closer. A small wave washes me within reaching distance and I grab the opportunity and tie lexy to the swim step. Now I have to stand up and transfer my weight from lexy to Catatude. After a really good balancing maneuver Im finally on Catatude. I pull lexy closer, switch of the engine and tie her up carefully. Im exhausted but happy to have got this far without flipping the tender or doing my old party trick of ending up in the water!
I look up at the shore and see to my embarrassment that I am the afternoon entertainment for all the people at the lodge! (they were probably placing bets on my next attempt).  I wave triumphantly and retreat inside to regain my composure.  Man, what a day. Such a small simple thing yet so difficult to get the hang of. Its similar to reversing a trailer.
Why don’t they teach you the basics of handling a tender when you do your Yachtmasters? Its more difficult than steering Catatude!   On a tender, left is right, and right is left, no gradual gentle pull off and you have to balance yourself whilst decoding all your movements to be opposite to what you know! Wait, practice makes perfect but not in view of an audience. Watch out Joburg when I come home and need to drive in your traffic again!
On the flip side, Kevin was having his own issues, It took 1hr35minutes to drive the 3kms to the garage and fill the 19cans with diesel. First the ATM had a queue of 6 people and each person does all their banking whilst at the atm desk. Kev had to draw from 4 different cards as his limit is still set to R1000 per day per card. Diesel costs M36.5 per l (= R9,10 / l) and he got 425l which means he had to draw at least R4000 to pay for the fuel.  
With all the cans filled, Philip drove back to the beach and they started the tedious process of loading the bakkie with the cans. The bakkie took 10x 25l cans and as Kevin approached Catatude, it looked like they were about to sink at any second they were so heavily loaded. To make it worse the wind had picked up and the tender was slamming on every small swell as he crossed from beach to boat. Once at the boat, and with great difficulty and balancing acts, he transferred  all 10 full cans onto the transom step and then repeated the same steps again to fetch the other 9 cans. He then moved all 19 cans to the front of the boat, to the fuel tanks.  The tedious job of siphoning out of each can into the fuel tanks took most of the rest of the day. Who says Virgin is the way to go for a workout?
Later, with Lexy we went and watched the Soccer (Brazil v Portugal) and had dinner at the lodge.
On Sunday we are heading back to Benguerra in time to watch Germany thrash the English.

 Luv you all

L

Go to the pictures page to see more photos

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