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Thursday, August 17, 2000
Chizumulu Island to Likoma Island, Malawi
Malawi's Flag

Map
Likoma Island, Malawi:
Latitude: 12° 4' 48" South
Longitude: 34° 42' 59" East
Altitude: 1684 feet
From Seattle: 11271 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Mango Drift

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: Malawi
Region: Northern Malawi
Route: Sailing Dhow: Chizumulu Island - Likoma Island
Path:Chizumulu Island - Likoma Island, Malawi
Linear:8 miles
Weather: Sunny

Available Photos:

Our dhow Chizumulu Island, Malawi

Kids on the beach Dhow, from Chizumulu to Likoma Islands, Malawi

Loaded dhow Dhow, from Chizumulu to Likoma Islands, Malawi

Loaded dhow Dhow, from Chizumulu to Likoma Islands, Malawi

Amy and I Dhow, from Chizumulu to Likoma Islands, Malawi

Rag sail Dhow, from Chizumulu to Likoma Islands, Malawi

Chizumulu Dhow, from Chizumulu to Likoma Islands, Malawi

Sunset Likoma Island, Malawi

Sunset Likoma Island, Malawi

Sunset Likoma Island, Malawi

Sunset Likoma Island, Malawi

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

Click on map to Zoom in...
Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1225
Linear Dist: 235884
Countries Visited: 70
Regions Visited: 268
More stats...
Hotels: 443
Friends / Family: 302
Camping: 129
Hostels: 261
Transit: 76
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 4194
Hide...

Journal Entry:
We got up early so that we could have breakfast before hiking over to catch the dhow to Likoma. At breakfast we were told that the boat had been completely hired to go to Mozambique. We still might be able to get on it as it's going to overnight on Likoma but it's going to depend on the other passengers. Worse, if we can't get on it today we won't be able to go tomorrow or the next day as the boat will be in Mozambique. The other option is to charter a boat (most likely a fishing dhow or a dugout canoe) which we were told would be expensive. Asking a few more questions it turns out the expensive means realatively expensive it might cost us $8 instead of a $1.50. We got the name of the dhow captain, and of someone who might charter us a boat if the dhow fails and headed off.

The walk to the otherside of the island was nice, but longer than I'd remembered it. Got to the fishing harbor where the dhow was supposed to leave from around ten fifteen and started asking around. Found the captain and was told that there shouldn't be a problem with us going and that the boat would leave at twelve or one. We sat down in the shade and I tried to work on my journal but we were instant celebraties and the constant interuptions meant I didn't get anything done.

Watched them fit a patchwork sail on to what we had assumed was a derilict boat, then at about eleven thirty they started loading. Most of the passengers were women - and the boat was absolutely packed. By the time they squeezed Amy and I on there were fifty three of us! On a normal day the boat would take five or six passengers - I asked. The sail is incredible - full of holes and made from perhaps a hundred separate scraps of cloth - we even recognized a pair of jeans near the mast! Amy and I sort of nervously looked at each other - I mentioned that we'd been looking for an adventrue. Amy says she's glad she knows how to swim.

The first three or four hundred yards took us over an hour and a half as there was no wind and two of the crew had to paddle. After that the wind picked up and at least the boat moved. Just after we launched we had a great surprise. The women burst into an incredible series of songs. Their voices were so beautiful - Amy and I just grinned dumbly at each other.

It turned out the group that hired the boat was going to Mozambique to compete in a music festival. That first hour was undoubtably one of the highlights of my trip. It was beautiful, it was adventure, it was unexpected, and it was so real. I so wish that I had had a video camera or at least a tape recorder.

Unfortunately shortly after the wind picked up the singing died out. Many (most?) of the women ended up seasick. Between the retching and several crying babies the next hour was audibly almost painful - especialy in contrast. The last hour the wind picked up even more, the boat steadied some and the dhow was quiet and peaceful. We pulled up on the beach at the main town (maybe five buildings?) and unloaded.

We were fantastically lucky with the trip. Both he fact that we got a ride and with the experience. I got pretty sunburned. We'd put sunscreen on - much to the amusement and I'm sure puzzlement of the rest of the passengers - but it was already to late. We got directions from the captain and set out on the hike to Mango Drift on the other side of the island. Mango Drift is the budget camp and the only spot on the island that has diving. The walk was pretty - lot's more baobabs. It took us about an hour to hike over and by the time we arived we each had one or two kids hanging off each hand. Sometimes its fun to be an event.

At the camp we sat down at the bar (on the sand, built around a giant mango tree) and had a well needed beer while waiting for our hut. We were unexpected as it wasn't a ferry day so it took awhile for them to prepare the room. Our hut sat under a baobab - still grass, but with a stone floor and a wooden door. After moving in we went for a swim and then hung out until dinner. We asked about diving but there's a class going on and they only have enough equipment for the students so it's looking unlikely...


Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Malawi
CIA World Fact Book: Malawi

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