Tanzania to South Africa

November arrived and with it the unsavoury prospect of negotiating the Mozambique Channel’s tropical revolving storms, should we linger. This prompted us to head south from Zanzibar, towards Richards Bay 1500nm (2700km) away, at first making day sails between night anchorages.

The current and the light winds were against us over the next six days as we tacked south in short hops in mostly calm seas. Sometimes we had to sail all day, doing double the distance to the next anchorage a mere 20 nm away. Once, with Moondust sailing erratically on both tacks, we noticed that the mast top wind vane sensor was bent to port, probably due to a collision with a bird, so Karin hoisted me aloft and I was fortunately able to remedy it.

Later, just after tacking, Moondust suddenly slowed down, dragging sideways. A glance at the port rudder showed that we had finally snagged one of the dozens of informal fishing buoys (plastic bottles) we had so far managed to avoid. With the gaff we pulled the very taut line to the surface and cut it, whereupon Moondust leapt ahead again. We made sure not to use the port engine again until Karin volunteered to swim and remove the remainder of the ‘birds nest’.

From Okuza Island on 3 November we set off for deeper water to avoid fishing boats and thus began our passage for Richards Bay. The battle south continued as we sailed into the wind and were pushed sideways by the current for almost two hundred nautical miles, until it finally turned in our favour on 5 November.

Continue reading “Tanzania to South Africa”