in a kayak

Arrival to Beira.
On June 11 Misha, Yuval and their 2 kayaks safely landed in Harare, Zimbabwe. From there, they took a bus to Mozambique border.
The bus was in the poorest condition, broken doors, Misha's sit was right on the engine. In the middle of the ride, the bus driver got cross at
one of the passengers, switched off the engine, got out of the bus and disappered for some 15 minutes. When he came back, he pointed at Misha and Yuval,
and explained that the taxi is waiting for them outside, to continue the trip. "The taxi" was a small car that had hardly place for a few passengers,
nothing to tell about 2 kayaks. Eventually Misha's and Yuval's puzzled look and their vivid Izraeli articulation convinced the driver to move on to his destination.
At the end of the long and exhausting ride, Misha arrived to the conclusion that people in Zimbabwe though terribly poor, are joyful and good-natured...

At night the bus arrived to Mutare, at the Mozambique border, and the travellers stayed overnight at a gloomy local hotel.
On June 12 they crossed the Mozambuqe border and headed for their starting point - Beira. They arrived to Beira in the afternoon, and
the rest of the day they spent shopping and getting the kayaks ready for the upcoming trip.

Day 1, June 13. 13nm (24 km) away from Beira
About 12 pm, after everything was finally packed and set, Misha and Yuval started their paddling journey. They had about 4 hours till darkness.
The sea was calm. Most of the time they were padding against 1kn current. And at the end of the day they landed with 2 meter dumpers. Some local guy heped them to carry the boats to the beach.
They saw a small village not far from their landing place: a couple of bungalos, a few locals and a roaring generator. The generator was needed to arrange
some kind of a disco at the village. Yuval and Misha asked the villagers whether they could have some food but the puzzled locals said they had nothing to eat...
Tomorrow the team will paddle more north, moving away from Beira, which means that the cell phone reception is going to be poor.
Hope to get some more news from them in the nearest days.

Day 2, June 14 (19.33.184S 35.17.706E)
The whole day, Misha and Yuval were paddling against the wind and against the current. After the first days of paddling they realized that the Soviet Military maps
they use (they were cheaper to buy than the British Admiral Charts) mark entilrely opposite directions of flood and ebb. They'll have to time their paddle differently, according to their observations.

Day 3, June 15 (19.22.634S 35.28.162E)
The paddling day started with 5bf head wind. In the afternoon the wind calmed down, but then the current turned to be against them.
Some fishermen told our paddlers that northerly winds were common in this area. That was quite an opposite to the information that Misha had
collected as part of his preparations to the trip. Afterwards they met some other fisherman who told them that the southerly winds were much more common,
and that the wind direction is going to change soon (which was quite true).

Day 4, June 16 (19.07.165S 35.41.460E)
The south wind started coming up from the very morning. Soon it reached 6-7bf. Seas were building up. It became very messy next to the river deltas.
There was no point in getting deeper into the sea, since the waters here in the Zambezi area are rather shallow. They stay shallow for miles into the sea.
Therefore, in high seas there are miles of surf deep into the sea.
At some point, Yuval and Misha approached rather close to the shore and found themselves in the middle of unpleasant surf. 2 and 3 meter waves
were crashing on them. Yuval capsized, rolled and started making his way deeper into the sea. Misha was too on his way into the sea
when one of the waves that crashed on him, washed almost all the maps away from the deck. While trying to collect the maps in the middle of the surf,
Misha was getting closer to the shore and more waves started breaking on him. It took him about half an hour (and a few rolls) to get back deeper in to the sea.
They carried on paddling a bit more and then landed at one the river deltas on their way.

Day 5, June 17 (18.55.974S 36.00.875E)
6bf wind was still blowing. It was rather easy to get out to the sea because of the river bank shape that protected them from the crashing waves. The plans were
to land at the second river delta. It was raining constantly for the past days, and the visibility was pretty poor. The waves started getting bigger. The paddlers
thought they approached one of the deltas and made their way deeper into the sea. They reached the zone where occasional huge 4 to 6 meter waves were breaking around them. They were already very far from the shore and there was no point to go any deeper: due to proximity to Zambezi that carries out enourmous amounts of sand the sea bottom gradient in the area is extremely low. The paddling reminded walking in a field full of land mines. It was safer to get closer to the shore rather than risking of being hit by an occasional huge breaker. This meant 1.5km of big surf. They started making their way to the beach. According to Misha, this was the most fascinating
paddle of the trip. The most amazing thing of all was that Yuval, who has less than a year of paddling experience, could go through this surf really nicely.
He capsized once and rolled, and reached the shore in pretty high spirits. All this in spite of the fact that Yuval's stomach is costantly aching,
and he can hardly take any food. The current area is absolutely uninhabited. The moment they reach a populated area, he'll have to see a doctor.

Day 6, June 18 (18.52.625S 36.04.842E)
Yuval and Misha started paddling along the coast in gentle surf. This time they used the low gradient of the sea bottom for their favor. The huge waves were crashing deep in the sea, while Yuval and Misha were paddling along the shore catching the remaining foam... At some point they reached the river that was supposed to be a tributary of a big Zambezi river.
Due to the high seas and uncertainty regarding the next landing spot, they decided to follow the river and enter Zambezi this way. They carried on
paddling the river which was getting more and more narrow. At some point they couldn't continue paddling - this narrow it was! They decied to come back to
one of the fishermen whom they met on the river on their way. The guy told them that tomorrow he would show them the right way, and by now they put
a camp next to his bungalo.
By this time Yuval's stomach was aching severely, and they asked their host whether they could find a doctor in the area.
The nearest village was a few kilometers from their camp. They followed the guy. Part of their way they made by his boat, and part of it by foot
throught the mangrove forest. The village consisted of a few bungalos. The "doctor" was not present. He comes to the village every 3 weeks and it wasn't the right day. However it was a school teacher who replaced him temporarily. He gave Yuval some drugs
that were supposed to make him feel better...

Day 7, June 19. Matilde
Together with the fisherman, Misha and Yuval paddled to the broader part of Zambezi river tribitary. At first they could hardly make any progress because of the
narrow stream. Finally they reached Zambezi and paddled up to Matilde, a small place not far from Chinde. Tomorrow they plan to paddle to Chinde, where
Yuval will finally visit a doctor.

Day 8, June 20. Chinde
The team finally reached civilization! Zambezi river is about 0.5km wide but eventually appeared to be very shallow. And here is how the guys discovered it.
They were paddling in the middle of the stream when suddenly they saw a hippo. They knew that hippos live in shallow waters and therefore were quite
surprised. The hippo was surprised either...
They arrived to Chinde and stopped at the hotel. It was amaizing to see what local people need electricity for. They arrange a disco! Crowds of people
gether in a small hall with a TV set in it. The films are always in English with no subtitles. Needless to say that nobody in the village speaks English. However people look happy. They dance, watch movies and finaly... of course the Mondial game.
Yuval visited a doctor, and the medicine the doctor gave him made him feel much better!
Tomorrow is a day off.

Day 9, June 21. The day off.
Chinde is a small town and a port. The locals are quite disconnected from the outer world. They say last time a ferry visited their port was a few months ago.
But there some paved roads and even some lights in the streets. In fact, only very rich families can afford themselves electricity at their homes.
Today Misha was exlploring the place, and he was not alone. But not with Yuval this time. Some local guy joined him and escorted Misha all around Chinde.
Misha was buying him food, and he was teaching Misha Portuguese. After the week and a half in Mozambigue Misha is already able to communicate with
locals in basic Portuguese. Any place they arrive at, they are immediately surrounded by locals of all sizes and ages. There is always a person
in the circle who entertains the others. He touches the strangers, jokes and chatters all the time. It seems that the places Misha and Yuval are paddling
along were never visited by tourists. People here say that last time they saw a white person was about 2 years ago. So think of two white kaykers appearing there out of the blue...
All in all the locals are very welcoming and joyful people.

Day 10, June 22. Back to work. (18.19.769S 36.43.279E)
The seas are still pretty high. The fishermen are not getting out to the sea for 7 days already. There are 2m waves and 5bf wind.
It seems that the landscape is going to be quite predictable for the nearest days: sands and surf.

Day 11, June 23. 18.04.809S 36.57.097E
It is still quite difficult to get out through the surf into the sea in the morning. Today Yuval capsized twice. Once he rolled successfully, the second time
he got out of the kayak but made reenrty and rolled. Good job Yuval!
Today it was the first time Misha and Yuval had chicken for dinner. Up to now they've been having LOT'S OF FISH. The sea is the main source of food
at these remote places.

Day 12, June 24. 17.48.987S 37.08.754E
The sea is calming down. There are still breaking waves but no big surf. The only unplesant thing is the current which is against the paddlers from 8am to 2pm.
The current is about 1kt, which means that Misha's and Yuval's daily speed is about 2.5 knots - a significant slowdown. They will try to change their schedule:
early wake up, morning paddle, a big break in the middle of the day and a few paddling hours in the evening. Unfortunately, they cannot paddle in the darkness:
at the time of landing, it's important for them to see the shore, both in terms of surf and in terms of the land's shape, villages and wildlife.
Today they landed not far from a village. When they approached to it by foot, they were striken by a view of a restaurant, yes a real restaurant, with chairs,
tables and ... electricity. WOW!

Day 13, June 25. 17.35.315S 37.29.878E
The team's schedule is now built according to the current's timetable. They wake up before 5pm and make their best to start their paddling with the sunrise.
They paddle for about 4 hours, take a rest then, and paddle another 3 hours in late afternoon.
The winds are mainly southerly. There is still some surf on their way out into the sea.

Day 14, June 26. 17.23.420S 37.53.025E
The team's progress is much better now, due to their new paddling schedule. Today Misha and Yuval landed with unpleasant dumper waves. The moment the
villagers got sight of them, the whole village - about 200 people - gathered around our kayakers. They talked and sang and danced. One boy, about 7 years old,
climbed a 20 meter palm and removed a couple of delicious coconut fruits for the guests.
That evening Misha had an opportunity to practice his Portuguese explaining the locals how to paddle a kayak. For dinner, they had a chicken, which is
considered a delicacy at these places, where most of the food comes from the sea.

Day 15, June 27. Pebane
In the morning, the whole village was escorting the team to the water. The good thing is that the locals love someone taking their pictures. So Misha doesn't
even have to feel uneasy pointing his camera at the entertained folks.
Today Yuval and Misha arrived to Pebane, a very nice town (or village). Both Chinde and Pebane leave a very good impression. Although the villagers are
poor and many of them are hungry, they don't look miserable at all. They LOVE music, merry african music. All the villagers hang around with radio sets,
they listen to music and dance. What a lovely people!
And the last but no the least: lobsters for dinner today...

Day 16, June 28. Pebane. A day off.
Another day off. Pebane is a nice place to stay. Misha and Yuval are walking around, meeting people, "charging their batteries" for the nearest paddling days.
This time not just local guys but local girls too become attracted by a blond long haired kayaker...

Day 17, June 29. 17.08.131S 38.30.443E
Full of energy, Yuval and Misha paddled about 7.5 hours making breaks every 2 hours. They covered about 28nm, in 2m swell. The seas next to the shore
were quite messy. They landed into the river, where the waves were breaking gradually and the landing was not problematic.
The fishermen at the beach had no fresh fish - they hadn't been fishing for a few weeks already, because of the high seas. This evening Misha and Yuval
had to have some dried salty fish for dinner.

Day 18, June 30. 17.01.464S 38.56.447E
The seas calmed down a bit. The landscape was pretty monotonious - sands, rivers, sands. Again, they landed into a river. Again, they were offered
dried salty fish for dinner. This time they decided to cook their dinner by themselves, for a change.

Day 19, July 1. Moma village.
Today Misha and Yuval spent 10 hours on the water - 33nm. When they landed at the sea shore, they discovered that a river was running
along the sea coast, and a village was located at the river bank, at some distance from them. Some 200 meters were separating them from the river.
They decided to carry their kayaks to the river and get to the village by the river.
Upon their arrival to the village, they were immediately rewarded for their hard paddling and portering job. They found a restaurant there...
They went to the market to buy some bread. They bought about half of all the baked products of the store and paid $2.5 for it. This amount is a
standard daily salary of a local Mozambique employee.

Day 20, July 2. 16.37.372S 39.32.751E
"Only" 24nm today. During the day the wind picked up to 6bf, then calmed down and then picked up again to 5bf. It started raining heavily, and the guys
decided to land. This time, the landing was not easy due to the reefs next to the beach. Luckily, there was a small village on the beach. As usually,
the villagers surrounded the paddlers, started touching them, especially excited by Misha's long blond hair.
Misha, in his turn, is really fascinated by the locals. He likes their spirit, their smiling nature, their love to music. He feels so good being among them!

Day 21, July 3. 16.26.373S 39.49.944E
The paddle was quite monotonous, both in terms of the sea and in terms of the landscape. At some point Yuval and Misha decided to continue their way
by the river that was supposed to eventually lead them to the town of Angoche. They met a fisherman who was also heading Angoche but had some
trouble with his boat. They helped the fisherman to reach the nearest village and stayed there overnight.
The day after they plan to paddle to Angoche, escourting the fisherman.

Day 22, July 4. Angoche.
Finally Misha and Yuval had a chance to pay tribute to local community: today Misha was dragging the fisherman's boat tied to Misha's towing line,
quite a long way to Angoche...
They paddled around the island of Angoche, and when they landed at the town's beach, they were welcomed not just by local population but by the port
police. They were asked lot's of questions about their paddling equipment and the purpose of their visit. And afterwards, they were introduced to the
Chief policeman of the town, who invited them to have a dinner with him. During the dinner they discovered that their host have spent about 7 years in
Russia (and spoke quite good Russian). He also happened to be in Israel. He explained the visitors that during their stay in Angoche they would be
accompanied by a soldier, for their own security. Misha and Yuval were not too happy about having this kind of escort 24 hours a day, but it was
impossible to convince the chief officer otherwise. In the evening the Chief asked our paddlers where they hide weapons and commanded to search their kayaks the next morning. Very strange place...

Day 23, July 5. Angoche. Another day off.
Another day of wandering around the local markets, meeting people, being invited to their homes, and this time being followed not only by local girls but also
by a police soldier. However the bored ex-Russian Chief seems to relax a bit. In the evening Yuval and Misha enjoyed drinking beer without the annoying convoy.

Day 24, July 6. 16.03.456S 40.06.127E
In the morning, when Misha and Yuval were ready with their kaylaks, they were suddenly summoned to the police Deputy Chief. The officer received them
in a luxurous room and asked the guests to show their licenses for the kayaks... Misha explained him that a kayak doesn't need any license, just like
a bike. Without batting an eye, the officer answered that in Mozambique people do need a license for a bike. M-m-m... "Well, then how about the kids
riding bikes, whom we saw yesterday,"- Misha asked: "Do they have a license?" He didn't receive any answer. There was a paper in front of the officer with a long price list and a sum equivalent to $600. "You need to purchase a license for the kayak..." - started the officer.
Misha, who remembered that they have already paid some kind of fine before and which appeared to be
absolutely illegal, decided that he is not going to be fooled once again. He explained the officer that this paddling expedition is getting world-wide
publicity, and if the officer wants the whole world to know about the bills that Mozambique police requests to pay for a kayaking license, he is welcome
to continue this procedure. This very moment the officer turned to the soldiers, and gave them instructions (in Portuguese, which at this stage
Misha and Yuval comprehend quiet well) to escort the kayakers to the shore and let them go. With shining smile he shaked hands with his guests
and wished them all the best in their expedition.
Misha tells that he won't be surprised if the port police of the next big town welcomes them with oysters and champagne...

Day 25, July 7. 15.52.391S 40.12.948E
Today was a short paddle. Misha and Yuval just started paddling, when they saw a bay on their way, with a river running into the sea. According to their maps,
the river continued along the shore up to the next bay, where they were planning to land at the end of the day. They preferred paddling the river
because of the landscape which was much more green and picturesque there. Unfortunately, in most of the parts, the river was very shallow, all covered
with mangrove vegetation. Instead of a broad bay the guys found themselves in a maze of rivers and mangroves. Very soon Misha and Yuval decided to make their way back into the sea.
This attempt to paddle the river took them about 4 hours, and when they finally found the way into the sea, they didn't have much paddling time left
and set their camp no far from the river mouth.

Day 26, July 8. 15.36.932S 40.25.724E
Paddling far more north you get more and more signs of approaching civilization. More villages on the way. Local people start begging. If earlier Misha
and Yuval were happy to land each time they saw a village, now they land a few miles far from the village, so that only the fastest and most curious
villagers come to welcome them on the shore.
Today they bought some fish from the fisherman and cooked it on the fire. They could hardly finish the amount they bought. All the remaining food they put
into the fire and went to sleep. When they woke up in the morning, they saw the locals taking the leftovers out of the fireplace and eating them with
great pleasure. They were happy with their breakfast and didn't show any inconvenience. It was Misha and Yuval who felt confused...

Day 27, July 9. 15.15.189S 40.40.671E
Paddled 29 miles today. Got almost to the Island of Mozambique, their final destination. In the evening they sat next to the fire and chatted with
the villagers, played chess and had a very good time together. Next morning they discovered that both Misha's and Yuval's sandals were gone...
The good thing is that these signs of "civilization" started emerging only recently. Most of the trip the guys paddled along remote places where local
people get in touch with you just because they are curious. They touch you, they try to get to know you. They treat you are a person, a different one,
but still a person, and not a faceless owner of goodies.

Day 28, July 10. Island of Mozambique.
28 days ago they started their journey. 28 days ago they knew nothing about Mozambique and its people. Today the landscape, the faces, the speech and ...
the sea look and sound quite familiar. They got to know each other.
Today was their last and enjoyable paddle. Finally they saw the rocks and not just sandy beaches, there was a huge and fascinating lighthouse at the
port entrance.
There are many ancient buildings built by Portuguese colonists. Most of them are in very shabby state. The locals don't seem to care much about
the architectual side of the place. They live their own life among the remains of foreign culture.
Misha walks around the place, tries to avoid touristic areas, enjoys local food and familiar atmosphere of the market, misses the places where
he and Yuval were the first (and probably the last) tourists ever.

Last updated: December, 2010