Ibo and the masturbating sailors!
Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
125Trip End Jun 12, 2006
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Sardines, crackers, cookies, grape Fanta, Lords Gin and Schweppes tonic we purchased for the trip. Gin was only $1.50 for a half litre so we made sure we stocked up with plenty. The Dhow we were taking was only going half way to our destination and was going to pick up some supplies for the house Smitty was building. He'd bought the 2 acres of land, just off the beach for $5000!
Spent the first 20 minutes on the boat bailing like crazy. The boat was leaking like a sieve. Once our captain and crew patched it up with some putty like stuff, the boat seemed good as new again.
There were about 20 local women who were surrounding fish in nets close to where our boat was leaving from that was interesting for us to watch. It was a nice ride, but a bit choppy to start with. Roberto was sick as a dog. We saw lots of tuna fish up near the surface at a few points along the way. They were rounding up what were probably sardines and there were flocks of terns dive bombing the small fish from up above.
Once the seas calmed down a bit the food and G+T came out - All very civilized. Steve got out his IPod and speakers and we put on a bit of Manu Chau. It really doesn't get better than this and I was very happy that I'd taken the Dhow trip. At one point Roberto had mentioned to the crew that I looked like a hyena. I really think I need to have a shave and haircut!
Unfortunately that evening the wind died off and the rains came. I got absolutely drenched and we ended up downing anchor as without the wind we were going nowhere. I was wet and cold in my cotton tee-shirt and was trying to sleep on top of two oars I'd carefully balanced on 2 planks. I kept feeling like I was going to fall through the middle! Needless to say sleep didn't come easily that evening.
By 5am the sun was coming up, but unfortunately we were stuck on a sandbank and weren't going anywhere. By 9:30 the water was high enough for the boat to be freed, but within 10 minutes our captain had got us stuck on another sandbank and it was 11am before we really got up and going.
During this time we'd all been trying to catch up on a bit more sleep along with the 5 guys on the boat who said they were all brothers. Twice I'd popped my head up to have a look how high the tide was and spotted one of the other of the brothers with their hands down their pants doing what looked very much like masturbating! Both times they'd looked at me and shrugged their shoulders as if this was a normal activity for a Dhow trip. I quickly put my head down both times and pretended I hadn't really seen anything!
By 1:30 after having the captain stood on deck and navigating us through the sand channels around the islands mangrove swamps we arrived at a spot about 500m off the shore of Ibo. After saying goodbye carefully not to shake hands we had a very tough wade through the water with out backpacks held above out heads. We arrived at Casa Janine and promptly ordered a beer and cheese sandwich from Janine the French owner. Cheese is a rare commodity in Africa and when asked, most people say it is the thing they miss most from home.
A French guy who had worked there for 4 years told us we were the first people he had known to have arrived on a boat direct from Pemba. Most people flew or took the shorter one hour boat ride from the town just over on the mainland. Our route had taken a full 28 hours! I felt like a bit of a trail blazer.
Steve and I had quick wander around town, this place is really falling into disrepair! There were crumbling houses everywhere.
Dinner was a fantastic combination of crab stew + rice. The claws had been pre-cooked and were served up separately.