The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Wed 11 Oct 2017 05:23



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.


10 October 2017   Bazaruto North, Mozambique

The NE wind continued blowing strongly until the early hours of the morning and, to make matters worse, the current switched at midnight and turned us so that our stern was pointing into the wind and the waves.  We have a “sugar scoop” stern, which is a low angle extension to the hull, designed to increase the waterline length and make the boat sail faster.   Unfortunately, it’s hollow and when waves slap underneath it, the loud bang is amplified and it sounds awful in the back cabin where we sleep.  There’s nothing worse than being “slapped up the sugar scoop” to keep you awake.


After breakfast, the Park Rangers arrived in a small power boat and we had to pay $10US per person and $20US for the boat - we didn’t escape after all.  I tried to negotiate them down and didn’t want to pay for the boat, but they produced an official looking receipt with the tariffs clearly shown, so I paid up.  We’re not cleared into Mozambique, so we want to keep a low profile and don’t want any trouble with the local officials.


A cynic might say that the money we paid out will go into their pockets, but we’re clean - we’ve paid what we should officially pay.  I’ve heard that one scam is to put a piece of card behind the carbon paper, so that nothing is imprinted on the “office copy” of the receipt book.  They then later write in lower figures on the “office copy” and pocket the balance.  On the other hand, they may be honest…


I downloaded the latest weather forecast and the southerly winds expected after midnight have intensified to 25 knots and could possibly be slightly west of south.  We were all planning to head down to an anchorage at Benguerra today, but the prospect of SSW winds made us rethink because Benguerra might not be so good in that wind direction.


After some debate, our mini-fleet upped anchor and sailed back north a couple of miles to anchor to the North of Ponta Gengare, which is better protected from the SW.  We dropped our anchor at 21°38.66S 035°26.43E in 5 metres on a huge area of good holding sand.  (There’s a recommended anchorage closer to the point, at 21°39.13S 035°26.04E, but there seemed to be too many coral patches for my liking.)


As a matter of interest, if we’d have tried to out run the storm, hopefully we’d be approaching Maputo today.  Gale force winds are forecast to hit Richards Bay at 14:00 and Maputo at 18:00, so the forecast that we had a few days ago was very accurate.  The low isn’t coming up north as much as the earlier forecasts, but at midnight, the winds 100 miles east of Richards Bay are forecast to be 40 knots with 6.5m seas - you wouldn’t want to be out there.


At sunset, we had NE 15-20.  It was a little bit bouncy, so we hunkered down below and watched a movie.