Monthly Archives: June 2016

On the Water… Lake T

Richmond Reports:

Mpululngu, 14.30 Wednesday

FD is in the water at last. No petrol here for the outboard so had to drive 100km to Mbala for it.

We should leave under sail by 5pm. Hot and dusty and no one really does anything, but there are lots of males lying around and women working.

Gunnar Sejlitz - Mpulungu at Lake Tanganyika have Zambias only harbour.jpg

Mpulungu at Lake Tanganyika have Zambias only harbour – (photo credit Gunnar Sejlitz) 

We’ll be home 21 July. Maybe 20th.

The vehicle is now staying in Mpulungu so we have to sail both ways; north and south so we won’t save time overall by not going to Mwanza.

karonga to mpulungu.jpg

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Karonga and Flash Dancer

Delayed receipt of news…

Richmond reports:
18.20 Sunday 26, Malawi, Hakuna Matata.

Robbie and Di have just arrived at Hakuna Matata.

Mat and I picked up Ian on time and drove five and a half hours to be here by 4.30 R and D just arrived at 6.30.

Willie and Meggie greeted us on arrival. When I climbed out of the Cruiser he said, “ I remember you. You’re Rich MacIntyre. You’re the sailors. I didn’t think you would come back after last year. You’re the one with guts.”

The fire is now started and the meal is being prepared.

lilongwe to hakuna

Lilongwe to Hakuna Matata and then to Karonga to get Flash Dancer

Karonga and Flashdancer.

We got up early to head to where the boat is stored in Karonga at the Carlsberg Coke depot. We immediately set to work deck scrubbing it and meticulously unpacked every item – after a long busy day we eventually left the depot, boat proudly in tow.

We are sitting in a bar having a beer together and planning our trip tomorrow to Lake Tanganyika. Destination Mpulungu about 400km. Feeling happy that we are still on schedule. Long hard day today, but very productive. We are loaded to leave for Lake Tanganyika at 5am tomorrow.

We have been having trouble with the starter motor which wouldn’t disengage and Avis contacted the Auto Electrician who had serviced the Beast for a prognosis. It was long and involved – but instead, this is what we did –

We hit the solenoid with a hammer and problem sorted! The bigger the problem the bigger the hammer…We met up with two RSA bikers travelling to Mozambique – they helped us sort out our starter motor problem.

All are happy and well.

I’ve decided to bring Flashdancer back this trip. Lake Victoria I’ll do by chartering someone else’s yacht – this long-haul and long-distance-logistics is maddening.

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No news today…:(

No word from the guys since they got to Lilongwe on their way to pick up Ian.
It’s likely they have no access to data or wifi.

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Chipata Update

map to chipata

Johannesburg to Chipata

Richmond reports: We’re in Chipata. Long day from Gabaronne – 1500km. Border  crossing at Kazangula. Started 3am. Arrived 21:30. Staying in a dodgy roadside lodge.  A room each.

Richmond having dinner in Lusaka

Richmond having a rough day in Africa 😂 eating curry at Protea Hotel in Chipata. Photo credit: Mathew Browne

Mathew also reports hardship:

I am also taking strain as a result of a lack of nourishment 👍 Mat

I am also taking strain as a result of a lack of nourishment 👍 Mat

Quick Update Later from Mat: We have just checked into Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe inside Malawi. Been hectic but we have talked a lot which has made it an interesting journey; 16 hours of driving first two days and 13 hours today to make sure we can get Ian on time tomorrow. Pick up scheduled for 10.15am.

chipata to lilongwe

Those who followed the Lake Malawi blog will recognize some of the spots like Monkey Bay that Richmond stopped off last year. From here they will head north to Karonga to pick up Flash Dancer.

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Prep: 2016 Expedition to Lake Tanganyika

Proposed sail route

Proposed sail route

Team Tanganyika prepares to mobilize on June 24:

Richmond:
Mathew and I will be leaving Hermanus early morning of Friday 24 June. If work allows we will leave midday of 23, which is by far more preferable – we have to cover 3800km to collect Ian on Sunday morning (in Lilongwe). We will be driving my land cruiser (the Beast) – it has been checked over in detail and will have another service before we leave.

As 24 June is the start of RSA school holidays the Beitbridge border post will be more chaotic than usual so we will be routing through Bots (crossing at either Parr’s Halt (open 8am – 4pm) or Martin’s Drift (open 6am – 10pm)) to Francistown, Nata and crossing the Zambezi on the ferry at Kazungula and so into Zambia. Distance Hermanus to Kazungula is 2450km. This border is an expensive shambles and will take a few hours of hassling (open 6am to 6pm). We now leave the wide, open, well-maintained tarred roads behind and look ahead to not-so-good tarred roads with lots of big transporter truck traffic and loads of pedestrians and cyclists.

We head northeast to Livingstone, Lusaka and on the ‘great east road’ to the Malawian border just beyond Chipata (open 24 hours). Distance 1150km. Another tiresome border post where great patience is required and then another 180km to the Lilongwe airport where we collect Ian, Sunday morning.

We head for Robbie and Di at Hakuna Matata, a distance of 520km with the rugged Nyika plateau to climb over after the city of Mzuzu which we can expect to take us about 9 hours, so we won’t have time to dally in Lilongwe.  Hakuna Matata is a rustic camping ground on the shore of Lake Malawi owned by a weathered Afrikaans chap named Willie and run by his Malawian companion Rose. R & D will be waiting with chilled wine and sizzling steaks.

View from Hakuna Matata Beach (photo: . Clemens R, TripAdvisor)

View from Hakuna Matata Beach (photo: . Clemens R, TripAdvisor)

The next morning we have about 70 km to drive to Karonga where Flashdancer is parked under a tree in the local Carlsberg beer depot. The last I heard from Paul Kennedy (Carlsberg Beer) was that FD is OK and unmolested but needs a big cleanup – he advised to check for snakes when opening up.  I will be in contact with Paul before we leave and maybe see him somewhere along the way to give him my thanks.

Karonga doesn’t have much to recommend. It was an Arab slaving base in the late nineteenth century until the Brits stopped it. And, during WWI, the Brits and Germans columns fought each other in the region. There are competent, friendly mechanics, fitters, welders etc.. but their workshops are inevitably under a tree, in the dust, beside a ditch. The electricity line has been reinstated since FD’s mast pulled it down last year.

Apart from opening FD up and giving her a thorough clean out our first priority is to service the trailer. Some or all the tyres will be flat. We need to inspect and re-grease the bearings, adjust the brakes,  check the suspension and tow hitch etc…

After thorough check-up, we will now be towing FD, all up about five tonnes, and driving, over mountains, to Mpulungu, in Zambia, and on the southern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Distance 540km, driving time total estimate is at least 14 hours, so we need to start the day by 04:00 or have to overnight along the way and the only place that has any facilities that we call facilities is Mbala which is only 50km before Mpulungu. 

All going well, we launch FD in Mpulungu. The lake ferry, M.V.Liemba, sails the lake every week or so with Mpulungu and Kigoma being the extremes of her voyage. Therefore there are sizable docking facilities in both places, though I doubt their standards are up to much.

As soon as we know she can float and the mast is up I will take the vehicle and trailer to Kipili and Lakeshore Lodge with Robbie and Di, leaving Ian and Mathew with FD to complete the rigging and stowing, do a shake-down sail and find a suitable place to anchor.  The three of us will spend the night at Lakeshore and leave together the next morning for Mpulungu.  The vehicle and trailer will be left at Lakeshore.  By now it will be 1st, 2nd or 3rd July, depending on time saved or lost. Robbie and Di will start their drive back to Hermanus and us sailors will head north on the Lake.

The adventure begins!

Categories: Hermanus Preparations, Lake Tanganyika | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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