June 21 stats
Distance – 48 kilometers
Total time elapsed- 3 hours 54 minutes
Total ascent – 315 m
Total descent – 425 m
Av heart rate – 116 bpm
Max heart rate – 169 bpm.
I much enjoyed our last bush camp outside Nangurukuru. It will be our last time to sleep under msasa trees on this Tour, listening to night-apes being murdered.
Would you believe, big brother popped into visit us yet again. We sure are people of interest. This visitation was headed by the local party political commissar, a very nice young Muslim lady, accompanied by 2 less nice deputy political commissars who remained sternly suspicious throughout, despite my best efforts to schmooze.
I told them why we are doing what we are doing, and gave them a guided tour of our route map. I also told the commissar that I had hugged it up with the immigration officer in Liwale, and that he’d given us his blessings going forward. But she remained less than impressed and told me to report to immigration in Kilwa Masoko. Liwale was in a different district and what happened there, didn’t count. The commissar also asked me for some sweets for her kids.
As it turned out, the Head of Immigration in Kilwa Masoko was a nice guy and I also hugged it up with him. He was only slightly wary that I was wearing the Dick of the Day hula skirt and a pair of full-length pink socks complete with flamingos.
I am Dick of the Day yet again thanks to my ex-friend Pete and his baseless allegations that I attacked Alastair with an army of carnivorous ants, which I did, but only because Alastair has thrown me with dead snakes every chance he gets.
Unfortunately for me Alastair is also my lawyer but instead of mounting my defence, he flopped around theatrically, pretending he was still being eaten by ants.
NB The Dick of the Day is now a blonde. I hated the old pink wig, but hate the blonde one even more.
Back to the cycling part of the blog. Despite promises of downhill all the way to the beach, there were some disappointing uphill bits.
It was my first time seeing the Indian Ocean from my bike, apart from when I saw it from my bike on Wilderness to Cape Town Tour, and I was very excited. The Indian Ocean in Tanzania, framed by baobabs and coconut palms and warm like bath water, is more exotic. Oceans are supposed to be exotic, not cold like the Atlantic .
Even with only a half day on the bike in front of me, I was dreading the ride into Kilwa Masoko, in case I was still sick, but my body behaved, and the ride went just fine.
After 8 days of bush camping, our accommodations on the beach in Kilwa Masoko were bliss. They’re right on the beach and have porcelain ensuite, and soft beds complete with mosquito nets. Mosquito nets are great, unless the mosquitoes are able to sneak inside the net, at which point you are buggered, because they can’t even leave after dinner. Alas. Mosquitoes feasted upon me like locusts, to the point where if you punched me in the nose, nothing would happen.
We are now 18 on Tour, having been joined in the peloton by Sean Collett, and in support by Debbie Wetzlar. Sean has long been a friend of the Old Legs Tour and it will be very cool to ride with him to Dar. And Rafe was so happy to see Debbie.
The support crew especially look forward to rest days, because they don’t have to feed the masses. We enjoyed seafood starters and seafood mains, apart from Kim who doesn’t enjoy seafood. For dinner, they served up a delicious grilled line-fish, massive like Jonah’s whale, but it was reduced to bones only in minutes. A swarm of locusts came to mind.
Inspired by dinner, Pete, Zack, Clem and Sean went out fishing at the crack of dawn. Their boat was the size of a dinghy, but that didn’t stop them from sailing that far out they couldn’t see land. The fishermen cunningly followed the flocks of feeding sea birds for 5 long hours, but were able to catch not a single fish, although they did see 2 sea turtles. I really do wish they’d applied themselves more.
While our fishermen were messing about mindlessly not catching fish, Gary and I busied ourselves purposefully, geocaching. According to the app, there were 3 geocaches in Kilwa Masoko, our first since leaving Harare.
Accompanied by some very excited geocaching newbies, Gary and I spent a fascinating 3 hours scouring arbitrary patches of bush that ordinarily we wouldn’t scour, having much fun looking for geocaches that unfortunately weren’t there anymore.
Even though he enjoyed himself hugely, George says his jury is still out on geocaching as a pastime.
Afterwards some of us went pub hunting in town, and actually found one, while others went on a guided tour of a 15th century fort and slaving station. The pub was very enjoyable, although the beers weren’t the coldest.
All in all, it was the perfect rest day, apart from our fishermen wasting their time not catching fish.
I also enjoyed my last antibiotic and can now see my ankles again. We have 3 days riding left to get to Dar es Salaam, before we paddle to Zanzibar in kayaks, before riding the length of Zanzibar from south to north. Please wish us luck. We are riding for Zimbabwe’s pensioners who need more than luck. Please help us help by following the donate prompts on www.oldlegstour.com.
Until my next blog – have fun, do good, and do epic if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong