The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 10 Oct 2017 06:14



21°42S 035°25E


We’re anchored in Bazaruto, Mozambique (21°42.56S 035°25.86E), waiting for a weather window to head south towards Richards Bay, which is still 500 miles away.  Here's what we did yesterday.


9 October 2017   Bazaruto North, Mozambique

We slept like logs and spent most of the morning pottering about, tidying up after 5 nights at sea.  Glenys made a couple of loaves of bread and I ran the water-maker to top up our tanks.  Our dinghy is still on the front deck and I couldn’t motivate myself to put it into the water, so I’d resigned myself to spend today on-board.  Fortunately, “Red Herring” called by and offered us a lift ashore - I went but Glenys decided to stay on-board and chill out.  Oliver from “Moana” also came with us.


It was approaching low tide when we landed and the water was very shallow a long way from shore, so we had to carry the dinghy 100m from the water’s edge and left it high and dry to fend for itself.  As we walked onto the dry beach, we attracted a lot of attention and a small crowd of adults and kids soon gathered, but mostly kept their distance with a few braver children approaching us.


Being low tide, the beach was a hive of activity.  Kids were digging for lug worms for fishing bait and people were wading in the shallow water looking for clams, which they dry on platforms on the beach.  A couple of National Park wardens came over and chatted to us in broken English - they speak Portuguese, but none of us speak that language.  The wardens were very friendly and nicely told us that we would have to pay $10US per person (plus $10 per boat) entry fee into the National Park.  We said sure, but we had no money with us, so they’ll have to come out to the boats later.


The island of Bazaruto is mostly made of huge sand-dunes and it was a very steep climb up to the village above the beach.  The villagers live in round huts called Rondavels made from wood and some kind of cane - we’re definitely in Africa.  We walked around looking at the way of life on this barren island.  The people appear to live in family groups with a few Rondavels for living/sleeping and one Rondavel for cooking.  Each family had a rough set of shelving outside their cooking hut which held the pots and pans.


It was very arid, sandy ground, but we saw coconut palms and payaya trees growing.  Each family has a garden area where they looked to be growing some kind of yams.  The Park Wardens said that the villagers survive by exporting sea food to the mainland, which is used to buy rice and vegetables.  It looks like a tough life living on a sand-dune.


Back at the boat, I found Glenys painting a Mozambique courtesy flag - we hadn’t managed to buy one before we left Thailand and we were hoping that we’d not have to spend any more than a couple of nights here.  There are rumours that the authorities are red-hot on having a courtesy flag and have even fined people for having a courtesy flag smaller than the boat ensign.  Ridiculous I know, but the officials are even more corrupt than in Madagascar and will take any excuse to lever money out of westerners - we hope that we don’t meet any officials.


The wind is forecast to be NE 15 tonight and tomorrow morning, but will then veer around to 20+ knots from the south tomorrow night.  The plan is for our small fleet to move tomorrow to an anchorage 10 miles further south, which we hope has good protection from the strong southerlies.  We all moved a couple of miles further down the coast to an anchorage at 21°42.56S 035°25.86E (7m LAT on good holding sand).  The anchorage isn’t as good as the previous one and it was a bit bouncy in the NE20 winds at sunset, but at least we’ve probably escaped the $30US park fee.