Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Southern Cross - Tanzania to Lake Malawi and Sailing

25th - 29th August - Tanzania to Lake Malawi

25th - 26th August
We say goodbye to Dar Es Salaam and make our way to Malawi. It is a two day drive of about between 10-12 hours (ish ish) per day. Needless we all dehydrated ourselves to avoid the constant toilet stops. We stayed the one night at a snake farm, luckily for us after one long day of driving we arrived at the camp-site to an already cooked meal for us. The lady running the place was lovely and welcomed us. We had a posh dinner consisting of a pumpkin and sweet potato soup but the boys were most impressed when the roast beef came out! It was nice to have a warm home cooked meal after so many weeks of constant potato or rice or pasta dishes.
27th, 28th, 29th August
After crossing the border from Tanzania into Malawi we could already notice a change in the terrain. You could tell that the farming was a lot more organised and that subistence farming had been encoraged. Land had been drawn out to separate one family’s farm from another’s. We assumed immediately that the Malawian government have spent some money to educate their people and you could see the benefits from the standard of living and general friendliness. We arrived at Kande Beach on the shores of Lake Malawi. What an amazing place, and even better none of us expected Lake Malawi to be what it was. If someone had blind folded us, dropped us off there and did not tell us where we were I most definitely would have said it was by the ocean. Such clear, fresh water and a few waves rolling in. Stunning place indeed! We were told that this was the last fresh water lake in the rift valley. We spent our days here sun bathing, playing beach volleyball, Dave was taught how to play the Boa game by one of the locals. We got a wooden one hand crafted for us. Malawi make some of the most amazing wood work and its most famous for the Malawian chairs. One of the mornings Shev and I took the catamaran out it was a cross shore wind and perfect for a new crew, we pushed of with one of the locals Godfrey helping to push us out. We almost sailed round the island however as the crew were not feeling that great, we came back to shore early. We had been out for an hour and a half! After recruiting a new crew member I sailed out with Tom one of the Kiwi’s on the group that had never been sailing. Tom was grinning from ear to ear and so we tried putting her downwind and picking up speed on the run but as I have never sailed a small cat before we actually slowed down and found a broad reach was far faster and easier to handle. Eventually after tiring ourselves out and getting Tom to take the helm for a brief moment we decided to head back in as the sun was getting low and it was time for a few cold ones.
The one night we all opted to have a traditional meal in the local village with interactive dancing. We were all led into the bush for dinner, and arrived to 20 or so kids running around playing and laughing. We had sweet potato soup for starters followed by rice, beans and spinach. After dinner the kids lined up for us and sang and danced. There were dance offs organised between us and the little kids. Some of the kids sure knew how to shake their booty, better than Shakira! Dave was dragged up and he was paired up with this little girl no older than 8 that really shaked her booty. Good effort on Dave’s part but the kid won outright. Me and a few other people managed to escape a dance off.
The last night we upgraded from the tent to a beach hut. It was only $8 for the both of us, plus saved us the hassle of packing away the tent for yet again another morning that was starting at 5.30am!

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