The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Mon 9 Oct 2017 05:49



21:40S 035:25E


We’re anchored in Bazaruto, Mozambique (21°40S 035°25E), waiting for a weather window to head south towards Richards Bay, which is still 500 miles away.  Here's what we did yesterday.


8 October 2017   Madagascar to Mozambique (Day 6)

At dawn, we had light north winds, so we were only able to sail at 3-4 knots.  This was okay because we wanted to wait until midday, when it was low tide and the best time to start to negotiate the channel through the sand bars.  Unfortunately, the sea was still very confused, making us bounce around unpleasantly for six hours.


We had a bit of confusion with time zones.  Our Ship’s Time was UTC +3 with all our clocks set to Madagascar time.  Our normal source of tides is the Navionics Chart app on our Samsung tablet.  It told us that low tide was at 12:00, but indicated that the tide was in the “Central Africa” time zone, but what was that?  Was the low tide really at 11:00, 12:00 or 13:00 in Madagascar time?  The last thing that we want to do after five nights of sleep deprivation is wrap our heads around the conundrum of time.


Fortunately, technology came to our aid.  We configured our tablet to automatically set the local time zone and it used it’s GPS position to work out that we were now in the Central Africa time zone (UTC +2) - an hour earlier than all our other clocks.   Phew!  So low tide was actually at 13:00 (Ship’s Time).  To avoid any more confusion, we turned all our clocks back one hour, so Ship’s Time is now UTC +2 and low tide is now at 12:00. (I think!)


We started our approach into the channel at 11:00 (UTC+2), following a set of waypoints published by Des Cason.  They were spot on, but we were eye-balling the water depth all the time, using the colour of the water.  There are a lot of sand banks along the 12 mile route, but the water is clear and the lighter colour of the shallow spots is easy to see.   We had to do a bit of a dog-leg around one shallow sand spit - 21°35.711S 035°24.441E and 21°35.930S 035°24.819E gets you around it.


All the way points are:  21°30 00E 35°25 00S; 21°32.50E  35°23.40S; 21°35.50E  35°22.40S; 21°35.90E  35°24.10S; 21°35.711S 035°24.441E; 21°35.930S 035°24.819E; 21°38.77S 035°25.60E.


“Red Herring” and “Luna Blu” came in with us and there was much debate about where to anchor because the normal anchorage north of Ponta Gengare was very gnarly in the NNE15 winds which had picked up as we came in through the channel.  Eventually, we all headed to the south of the point and anchored at 21°40.39S 035°25.87E in 12 metres, which was much more sheltered.


Once settled to anchor, we had a shower, an afternoon nap; a few cold ones; dinner and early to bed.

Today’s weather forecast shows that the low pressure system is not going to produce such high winds, but the south winds are hanging around the coast for longer (until the 15th.)  This means that we won’t be able to start heading south for a week, but at least our time here in Bazaruto will be pleasant without any storm force winds.  Of course that could all change tomorrow.


I’m going to continue to post a daily diary until we reach South Africa.