Thursday, September 23, 2021

Seychelles to Tanzania


Our six-day passage from the Seychelles to Tanzania was bumpy and fast. The confused seas made most of the passage uncomfortable, punctuated too often by the big bangs of the waves slamming against Perry's underside. So we were very happy to see Zanzibar (birthplace of Freddie Mercury) on the horizon, even as we put another reef in the mainsail ahead of an imminent squall.

The local dhows are strangely fast

The anchorage off Stone Town was far from flat but was a welcome relief after the rough passage. After tossing away the partially desiccated baker's dozen of flying fish and the baby squid that had collected on our trampolines, we prepared to head to shore. We dragged the dinghy all the way up the beach (the three-plus meter tides were good motivation to fix our busted dinghy wheel--more on that later) and started the process of checking into the country and getting a SIM card.


Stone Town's doors are a point of pride

Stone Town is one of the handful of places that we had previously had the pleasure of visiting to while living on land. Usually, when returning to a location, it's been over fifteen years and some of the places are almost unrecognizable. The focus of our last visit to Tanzania 17 years ago was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on safari. We had only stopped in Stone Town for a couple days (during Ramadan). This visit, we had time to more fully explore the narrow, ancient streets of what seems like a really big maze (and we are not the smartest rats). We would see the same landmarks over and over but have no real sense of how we got there until the third day or so.


St. Joseph's Cathedral

The number of locals trying to sell spices, knick-knacks or tours way outstrips the tourists, so by the end of a walk we ended up feeling a bit drained with all the 'No thank you's'. But the friendliness of Tanzanians is real even when not trying to sell you anything. As Matt replaced the axle and fixed the flat tire on our dingy wheel, a crowd of men gathered to 'help'. They meant well but ended up mostly being a distraction. For no apparent reason, one gentleman picked up a hammer from Matt's bag of tools and randomly started pounding on the axle until Matt asked him to stop.

A view of the maze from above

But without the help of some of the locals, we would have had a hell of a time getting a SIM card or finding the machine shop that helped us with the stubborn dinghy wheel. Google maps doesn't have an icon for "the guy on the corner selling possibly-preowned SIM cards to a non-local" or "the dude near the school who fixes bike flats for the kids".

Tanzania is much more affordable for us than the Seychelles and we have been able to enjoy eating out again. We were able to visit the Forodhani Gardens night market, which we missed the last time around because we enjoyed a fancy rooftop dinner and show. Street food is one of our favorite things and the eclectic mix of cultures and flavors makes this one of the best eating experiences we have had in awhile.

We're now in Tanga, near the northern limit of Tanzania, saying goodbye to some of our cruiser friends (who we hope to see again in South Africa) and getting ready for a safari.


  1. I never cease to be amazed about all you are doing, seeing and experiencing. What an incredible adventure you are having! I love the fact that these posts are so descriptive that I feel like I am experiencing your trip too.
    The humor inserted is great!


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