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SHIPWRECKED IN AFRICA, PT. 2 — In last month's issue, two of the most experienced cruisers we know, Nick and Bonnie Nicolle, wrote about the loss of their Ingrid 38 Rise and Shine on the east coast of Africa last October. To briefly recap, they were headed from Madagascar to Richards Bay, South Africa — about a two-week trip. The 10-day forecast was for good weather, but the trip would take roughly two weeks. About two thirds of the way, a new forecast warned of a brewing storm with winds of up to 75 knots. With no time to make Richards Bay, they ran for shelter in Inhambane Bay, Mozambique. They made it to the entrance, only to run onto shoals near the unmarked channel. The boat went sideways, and gale force winds and big waves began to pound her, tearing off the rudder and putting cracks in the hull. Amazingly, the wind blew so hard that Rise and Shine was eventually blown over the shoals into deeper water. The Nicolles managed to anchor, but it was obvious Rise and Shine was a loss. After one last anxious night aboard waiting for the wind to abate, they launched the dinghy and made it to shore, where the real adventure began . . . ALL PHOTOS / NICK AND BONNIE NICOLLE

W

e had landed in Mozambique without a visa. We were illegal aliens and subject to arrest and imprisonment. Our goal

Bonnie and Nick in Sri Lanka.

now was to somehow get legally admitted to the country so that we could legally exit the country and fly out. Even though we knew Rise and Shine was a total loss, we also knew that it would be necessary to maintain the fiction that we intended to salvage her and remove her from Mozambique. Otherwise, we might be required to pay 'import duty' on her and that would entail endless interactions with the authorities and God knows how much wasted money. We would tell the authorities that our plan was to fly to Durban where we would contact our yachtie friends and arrange to return to our boat and tow her to Durban. So, in order to give the impression that we were coming back, we carefully carried the dinghy into the dunes and set an anchor. Returning to the beach, we met our first three Africans. We could tell that they were perplexed at our arrival, but they were friendly. We quickly realized that we had Page 84 •

Latitude 38

• April, 2018

no common language. I had an English/ Portuguese dictionary, but it became apparent that they could not read. I drew a picture of a bus in my notebook and said, "Maputo," the national capital city. They immediately understood that we wanted transportation, but they knew something that I didn't — yet. That it was impossible to get land transportation to anywhere from where we were on the Linga Linga peninsula. There were no roads. It might as well have been an island. It took us several minutes to understand this, after which one of them pointed down the beach and said something that sounded like "tourist." I was elated, recalling that one of the publications I'd read mentioned a resort at the tip of the peninsula. We picked up our eight bags and started walking. It was 7 a.m. and already hot. Walking in the soft sand was difficult. We could only go about 100 feet without resting. And we had no idea how far we would have to walk. After about a quarter of a mile, we came upon two more men. We asked about the "tourist place" and they confirmed its existence, saying, "Linga Linga Lodge." They then made signs for carrying our bags and the universal finger/thumb sign for money. We, of course, had no local currency, just US dollars and euros. I offered the guy 5 euros (about $6) with raised eyebrows to ask, "Is this enough?" He had obviously never seen a euro before, but after some discussion, one of them took the note and ran down the beach to consult with some unseen person across the dunes. About 20 minutes later, he came sprinting back with a big grin on his face and picked up half of the bags. We assured the other guy that he would get 5 euros too, and off we went. After about four miles, we came to a big beach resort, which was closed tight for the season.

Our porters didn't even glance at the place but instead kept walking. Another mile and we came to a second resort. It was also closed, but a small group of men were hard at work building new cabins. Their supervisor, Henrique, spoke some English. We explained our situation and he agreed, for 100 euros, to open up one of the cabins and let us stay there until the storms abated — and feed us, as long as we didn't mind eating what he and his men ate. He also pledged to get us transportation off the peninsula, guide us to a road on the mainland, find transportation to the nearest town, and then lead us to a hotel. Not a bad deal. We settled in. Dinner was tiny fish and boiled rice; breakfast was boiled cassava. That night the wind suddenly shifted from north to southwest and blew even harder. The next day we had a visitor. It seemed that there was a village on the side of the peninsula that we could not see, and in that village was a professional boat captain. He had graduated from a three-year maritime academy and had seven years' experience in the local waters. He told me that the sands on the bar were constantly shifting and that the deep channel was very narrow at the present time. He said that the buoys (noted on our chart) had been

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Latitude 38 April 2018  

The April 2018 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 April 2018  

The April 2018 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.