Category Archives: news

Thank you Lee : a sapphire in our Ali Baba’s Cave -

My name is Lee Hecht. I am Serge and Laure’s neighbor in Normandy. For the past ten years I have accompanied Serge on his races: Paris-Tokyo, the Tour of the European Union, Los Angeles-New York and now Around the World. My job?   I translate from French into English the texts and daily logs prepared by Laure for Serge’s website. You can imagine that I am involved in Serge’s achievements on a daily basis and I am full of admiration for his athletic, spiritual and mental abilities. For me, this world tour takes on a new dimension which I have trouble handling because I am a landlubber and the maritime portion terrifies me. If there is someone who can succeed such an undertaking it is Serge. It goes without saying I will be thinking of him every day and I wish him a smooth road and fair winds.

 

Thank you David -

age 42, I have worked in banking for 15 years.

I have been married to Karine since 1998. We have no children

We have 3 cats: a male Napoléon, 2 females: Epsy and Ysia.

My favorite animal is the fox.

My passions: sport, photography and video. I spend a lot of time on them.

My likes: good meals with friends. I love Calf’s head, tripe, and pig’s trotter, in fact I will eat absolutely anything, and I like everything.

I hate « DIY home improvement »

I am generous and too often impatient

The fact that I will be away for several weeks does not make Karine happy, that’s normal, but she knows that this Adventure is unique and it is a great opportunity for me to cross these countries.

I like to listen to Bruce Springsteen in the car.

My favorite color is blue.

My favorite film is The Big Lebowski by the Cohen brothers.

Aside from Karine and my cats, I won’t miss much, not my work or TV, which I never watch.

My wildest dream, generally speaking, would be to win the lottery so I could be free from daily constraints.

A nightmare I would not like to live: to be imprisoned!

My motivation to be part of the Run and Row Tour is Serge’s success and to be part of the team.

What I expect from my team mates is mutual aide and sharing of unique experiences. We have the advantage of already knowing each other

What I expect from this special trip is to meet the inhabitants of countries that are new to me.

My prognosis for Serge’s success in this adventure is 100%, but it will not be easy and we will be there to support and help him make it to the end.

For me Serge inspires perseverance, courage, the will to succeed and an incredible mental strength.

The role I plan to play in the Run and Row Tour is to be 200% present with the team for Serge’s success.

What do I fear during the trip? Nothing

What I really like about this journey is to be able to make a trip which should remain a memorable experience, through countries unknown to me, and above all to be totally committed to Serge’s success.

Thank you Bertrand -

Surname   Plaquevent > First name Bertrand > Nickname le Bernique (the Limpet > Age 54 > Profession   Electrician > hobbies   Foot races, DIY, gardening, travels > your favorite animal. I have yet to discover!!! > What do you like? My family> what don’t you like: solitude and indifference > your qualities: exactness, receptiveness, enthusiasm > your defect, inflexibility, too persnickety > the qualities you like to find in others, honesty.

The defects you don’t like to find in others: hypocrisy > what does your wife think about your absence? That it’s good luck to be able to take part in this wonderful adventure > your favorite music Queen, Véronique Sanson, James Blunt > your favorite film Gladiator, Australia > Your favorite color, Blue > your favorite food, a good steak tartare with French fries « yum » > What won’t be missing from your luggage, my knife, an adapter, my camera > Something that will not be in your luggage, my PC from work > What will you not miss during the trip, my daily routine

What will you miss during the trip, my soft bed and my sweetheart > your wildest dream> A nightmare you would not like to live, lose Serge on the road and be attacked by a lion!!! >What motivated you to take part in the Run and Row Tour? To make my talent available to the team so that Serge can succeed in his challenge > what do you expect from your team mates? A good feeling of cohesion and that everyone does his best so that things go well and without stress > what do you expect from this particular journey? Discovery of people and countries > what does the World Tour inspire in you? A different way of seeing the world > your prognosis for Serge’s success? 100%, it’s a winner!!! > For you Serge inspires ? Serenity, calm

What does this challenge make you feel? respect> Define the role you will play in this Run and Row tour. No particular role but I will always be available to help Serge and the team. I will be available to take care of Middleton after the maritime crossings. > What do you fear most during the trip? The weather at sea.

> What do you like most about this journey? adventure with a capital A and crossing the south of Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique)

 

Thank you René -

Girard René, alias « pépé » or « old man » depending where I am. I live in the French Department 01Ain, at the foot of the Jura Mountains. I will soon be 66 years old, I am happily retired, have been married to Mimi (Michelle) for 47 years, 2 children 4 grand children and 2 great grand children

My time is divided between the family, the house and sports (running, biking, cross country skiing and trekking). I have two pets: a white dog, Tim and a white dwarf rabbit, Jeannot…

I love the mountains and nature in general. Since I have started traveling with Serge and Laure I have learned to love the life of a nomad, the unexpected, and sharing. Ah yes, I forgot, I like to “talk”. But I don’t like the rain and stupid jerks!

I have qualities like everyone and one in particular I think, adaptability. Among my defects, I am stubborn and sometimes damn annoying…

I look for frankness and friendship in others and I hate hypocrisy and dishonesty.

What does Mimi think of my long absences? Well, she says that she adapts but she is happy I can take part in this unique Run and Row Tour. We communicate and she follows us daily via the website.

Aside from all that, I am not a fan of the movies and music, except that I like French songs from the 60’s to the 80’s.

My favorite color is red

My favorite food is an authentic tartiflette Savoyard

My favorite wine is Bordeaux, red of course.

Things I will be sure to put in my luggage: family photos, my notebook where every day I write my thoughts and feelings. One day they may be in a book “recollections of a support crew member”. Things I will not put in my luggage: too many clothes (I always wear the same and I don’t care about fashion). Since we will be in the southern hemisphere we can travel light

Ah, yes, my wildest dream is to live beyond 100 in order to accompany Sergio when he crosses Australia, walking when he will be 100. It is project N° 25. My motivation for the Run and Row Tour is the desire to see new horizons, meet people who are extraordinary because unexpected.

I expect that my fellow team members will support me and that we can share the joy that such an adventure offers. The expectation of this particular challenge is to live to the hilt this unique experience, which is surely the dream of thousands of people the world over.

This trip gives me the following feelings: greatness and accomplishment for Serge, our gratitude to have been chosen to accompany him and the pleasure of helping him.

I have no prognosis for success. For a long time Mimi and I have felt that if Serge starts he is ready for this historic challenge.

My role in this « world tour » is that of support crew member, to make Serge’s life easier on a daily basis, as usual.

I have no fears or particular apprehensions. We must be cool and serene, even if we know that this is not a pleasure trip but a “mission”.

What I like best about this long and unique journey is to tell myself that we are real « actors » walking in the footsteps of Jules Verne, who made us dream, we who read so much in the old days “ before we had TV!” as my granddaughter told her teacher a few years ago. See you soon.

THE END, (I have made progress in English, I can hardly believe it!).

 

Assessment of a failure -

Written while we are on the road with the team to return the vehicles to Namibia before taking a flight to Paris (we have been without Internet for 3 days)

I can already hear the comments:     Serge is not a sailor and with no experience how could you expect him to succeed?

For your information, the majority of the people who have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean had no maritime experience and some had never slept on a boat or had the training Serge received. Training on a row boat is always complicated because you are dependent on third parties, on good wind and current conditions, tides, etc. To go to sea in a row boat costs money and needs a lot of organizing. Serge trained more than some and less than others but he was ready.

To return to the famous Mozambique Channel:

Why Majunga to Angoche? This route has been rowed by Erden Eruç and it was feasible, even if from one year or season to another the conditions are not the same and the arrival at the coast would not have been easy.

A particularity of the Mozambique Channel: As its name indicates, it is a channel, not an ocean. Here you find unpredictable currents and waves which run in all directions over a relatively short distance. It is a place where navigation is difficult, even for sail boats and sailors don’t hazard out full of innocent enthusiasm on their pleasure crafts. We knew it would be the most technical maritime portion and the most complicated part for the rower.

The first mistake in the possible solutions:

After 6 days of fighting the turbulence: The heading west was taken too soon. There are several reasons for this: poor communication at the end of the day on April 22, between Serge and the routers about the heading to hold. The east wind was taking Serge away from the coast and he wanted to distance himself from the coast to avoid the possibility of being pulled back to it. April 23 it was too late and nobody, first of all Serge, reacted to do something different. We waited too long. Serge had an unsolvable problem with the water-maker. It was bad luck!

Serge’s analysis now of the situation: « I was not in as good shape as I should have been , having covered 1000 km on foot and only allowing 2 days rest, which was not enough because they were spent preparing the boat.”

The northern route was suggested as a possible solution. Even thought it was longer and the logistics to manage the boat were simpler at Pemba than at Angoche, it did not take into account the proximity of Mayotte and Grande Comore, an area where there is a great deal of clandestine navigation and where one can never be off one’s guard. But we all opted for that route and we did not choose to return to Majunga for a second start by the southern route.

In hindsight, the northern route was hazardous if you take into account the fact that oars are not sufficient to row against a south-east trade wind, with a 20° margin of maneuver against an unfavorable wind and a strong current. Once past Grande Comore, failure was certain, even if the routers told Serge on Tuesday, May 4th that he would reach the coast of Mozambique on Friday evening. Wednesday evening, the wind increased and I learned from the locals that it would increase even more, to reach its climax Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Serge was already weakened physically and on Wednesday evening he was conscious of the fact that arrival at the coast was a lure, even if he was told the contrary until Thursday, when the routers said he would arrive at the coast on Sunday evening. For you runners, just imagine you are on a 100 km race and at the 80th km you are told that instead of 20km left to run, when you are exhausted and the conditions are bad, there are 40 km to run. Where would your morale be? But Serge did not have the possibility of throwing in the sponge, he was in his nightmare.

Thursday, I began to tell him to take care of himself, to tie himself down because the conditions are not going to be easy. I could not imagine that he would be in the heart of a storm but I knew that it would be rocky. He confirmed it. On Thursday, Serge put his nose outside at 5H; the sea was too rough for him to stay outside. And then, bad luck, his inside BGan telephone stopped functioning. From then on communications became difficult. More bad luck.

Friday the routers were silent. Now Serge is in the storm and as he says “when you know what is coming you can get ready but if you don’t know it is worse”. However, he is clear headed and my recommendations concerning the fact that it is going to be rocky make him prepare his cabin for a possible capsize.

Another error, Serge was not looking at the charts of the winds and currents, because he was guided by the routers, who gave him the heading to follow twice a day. Serge followed the heading given to him, or tried to follow with all the elements at his disposal: the rudder, the floating anchors and the dagger board, and God knows that security was his first priority. Serge was in harness all the time he was outside. He did everything he could to keep the heading requested, even rowing more in the evening and early in the morning. And he got up x number of times during the night to verify his heading, use or remove the floating anchor and the dagger board and adjust the rudder.

So, Serge found himself in a storm, without really expecting it. He understood by himself that he would never reach the coast, that he was in distress and he didn’t know when it would end or where it would take him. He was also wondering if we on land would be able to save him and whether his batteries would give out and we would lose trace of him.

Friday, May 8, Serge and I were alone fighting the storm and if the sea had been like glass a few days before, that Friday, May 8th Serge found himself alone in a weakened physical condition, with his only objective to remain clear-headed and vigilant and prepare for this worst, i.e., to capsize.

Friday, May 8 at 21H45, I called Maxime to know what the weather forecast was for Saturday and Sunday and if the drift continued where it might take Serge and Middleton. He told me that if it were to continue like that due north, it would be to the coasts of Kenya and Somalia. I hang up and Serge is to call me on Saturday morning at 5H00. Given this information it seems unwise and irresponsible to let Serge continue to drift, especially because I fear he will be hurt or knocked out, which is always the risk in capsizing. Another piece of bad luck is that for the past 3 days the batteries seem to be weakening! And Serge is beginning to think that without batteries he won’t be traced.

Is it reasonable to leave Serge in the storm for another 24 hours? And if yes, where will he be after that? In an area where pirates take small craft to have hostages? Somalia is a lawless area and when you see a drift to the north at high speed with a capital H, you wonder, what is the most reasonable solution?

Friday, May 8 at 22H00: Serge calls for 3 seconds «Activate the rescue process”

To make an on-land comparison, if a runner is in the middle of the desert, lost in a sand storm and he does not know where he is or where he is headed, what does he do? And if his means of communication are getting weak and only work partially and risk to fail, wouldn’t he send up his flare? In the case of Serge, there was no possibility of stopping; he was drifting at 8km/hr, i.e., 200km in 24 hours.

Serge stayed for 60 hours helpless against a wild sea, and it was not a question of incompetence or stupidity. He stayed calm, happy to be alone in his nightmare with no team-mate on board. He remained clearheaded, remembering his lifesaving course, to stay clearheaded at all cost. He was naked in his hermetically closed cabin, wearing his helmet and braced before saying stop on Friday at 22H00. That last night he capsized, he was at the mercy of the wild sea.

This is where a few mistakes led us; but it was also a question of bad luck. We must remember that Serge, sailor or not, was dependent on a rowboat, without sails or motor and that he had to deal with favorable winds and currents which for 15 days were never present (except for a speedy race to the north between April 28-30). He did everything he could to hold the correct heading to the north, which was difficult, if not impossible, especially with the very bad luck of the storm in his path.

The Boat: When the distress process was activated, we knew that there was a 50% chance that Middleton would not be towed. The captain of the ship must rescue an individual in distress but not equipment and he is alone on board to decide. Serge boarded the Far Scotsman and asked that Middleton be towed.   He learned later that is was impossible in spite of two attempts by the crew. At 9H30 I knew that Middleton had been abandoned.

Everyone did the best he could: Serge, the routers, the Captain, Timothy Boyd, and his crew on the Far Scotsman. We extend our thanks to them all.

This experience does not come from irresponsibility or lack of realism or a crazy idea. The madness was the sequence Land-Sea and Sea-Land. But the failure is bitter; the abandon of a craft evident and Serge takes full responsibility. Monday he spent the day speaking to the press, when some would no doubt have refused to do so.

For 2 years we woke, we slept; we breathed and sweated « The World Tour ». We knew the difficulty and more than anything else the length of the challenge. I knew Serge would be capable of resisting at sea because solitude has never been heavy on him and he has unsuspected reserves. But here Serge dipped into his reserves and the red light went on. He didn’t know how much autonomy was left, even if he said that in situations of survival this reserve is inexhaustible, it is what we call the survival instinct.

Serge was saved in a state of extreme weakness and he is psychologically scarred. We will never know what the outcome of that infernal drift might have been! It is surely better thus. We do not regret having activated the distress process but we are all in a state of shock and the scar will take time to heal.

I have many letters of thanks to send concerning these painful days we have been through. I will write another text on the subject. Briefly, I thank my team, René, Bertrand and David, who lived this crisis with great sang froid. Thank you for all your messages, which have poured in and to which I cannot respond without crying… My heartfelt thanks!

End of the World Tour -

Sunday, May 10 at 20H00, the World Tour ends. Our video equipment, worth 10,000€ has been stolen, it’s the cherry on the cake!

We spoke about the possibility of heading toward Walvis Bay (Namibia), finding a boat… etc., etc. Serge could accept that the challenge would stop there; but our finances are not flourishing and buying a boat would be inconceivable unless we went to our bank for a loan! However, this did not keep us from looking at the maps and having pipe dreams, all more or less realistic. Because of the theft tonight we have to look at the evidence: nor more boat, no more video equipment for a film. What is the next stage?

It is 20H00, End of the story.

This Monday, May 11, we will be communicating with: the AFP, i.e. the press; we have never had so many calls, our partners, our friends, the family, and our supporters.

This is the first time Serge has had to abandon a challenge but reason got the upper hand. Since Friday morning, the situation became uncontrollable and Serge took off like a flash for the north. The waves increased to a height of 4 meters, and the wind at 6 to 7 on the Beaufort scale (25 to 30 knots) created wave trains that produced an uncontrollable drift. Serge lived for 60 hours closed in his cabin without being able to eat. Middleton was submerged by the waves which broke on the porthole of the cabin. After 15 days of struggling, Serge was exhausted and ready to give up. He expected to capsize and put on his helmet and braced himself and all his equipment inside Middleton. He capsized several times but Middleton righted herself and continued to resist the storm. On the Far Scotsman the situation was not good either. Serge learned that the crew was unable to sleep that night and half the men were vomiting.

It can be said that Serge was in the wrong place at the wrong time but neither Pemba nor Palma was possible and the northerly drift was taking him straight to Kenya or Somalia.

This crossing of the Mozambique Channel was in itself an adventure and from the first night everything was wrong and Serge took his heading too soon (there was an easterly wind and Serge was afraid he was too near the Madagascar coast and that he would be sucked back on the ebb tide. The heading was not very clear from 18H00). In short, Serge went into terrible turbulence, which is visible on the track of the website. From that moment exhaustion began: Serge got up 12 times per night to adjust the rudder, rowing like a madman to try to get out of the stalemate. After 6 days we decided to provide solutions and since at that point the routers said that they should not have waited so long, I began to take a serious look at the Sat Ocean maps to better understand the situation.

April 28, after 6 days of struggling, 3 options were proposed:

– Find a boat out of Madagascar and tow Serge for 15 km. Serge was only 15 km from favorable wind and wave currents (the mind boggles at the thought of it when you know what follows). However, now you know you can’t find a boat easily in African countries and we were unable to find a boat to help us, as,we had hoped before we left Majunga.

-Return to Majunga and start again.

-Northern Option proposed by Maxime and Xavier of Sat-Ocean. According to their statistics, it’s possible to reach Pemba but there is a question: Can Pemba accommodate Middleton? In 15 minutes I have a reply, yes, the boat can be handled. Serge reminds them that in a crosswind situation Middleton has little room for maneuvering and asks them how long it will take. 13 days and they take note of Middleton’s sensitivity, with her high cabin in cross winds. Everyone votes for the Northern option.

Serge swiftly changes course, the trade winds are there and the current is strong and favorable. 100 nautical miles covered in 2 days. CROSS, to whom we extend our thanks again, solved the drinking water problem. But here stress begins again. Mayotte and then Grande Comore must not be too far or too close and then there is the Grande Comore passage. Serge is rowing, Serge is thinking and Serge is making progress but he lacks confidence to hold a heading and not drift during the night. The nights are not good, there are lots of boats (not small clandestine vessels) but big boats without lights who come to fish illegally. Serge is in a state of permanent nausea, physical fatigue accumulates day after day and there is nervous tension at the same time. And there is also the promise to arrive Friday evening, perhaps a bit optimistic or hasty, which quickly becomes Sunday evening and the weather turns bad. Friday morning I realize that we have to leave quickly because Serge is heading due north. There is a current that should take him straight in the right direction but the SE trade winds are contrary. Middleton has a 20° margin of maneuver in cross winds and can’t go upwind when it hits her at 90°. It’s an impossible situation. Serge is rowing but the routers think he isn’t rowing. I realize that there is a discrepancy between the reality of what Serge is living with Middleton, that he is unable to maneuver, and what we see on the tracker and the maps.

Bad luck, the Immarsat telephone goes out Thursday morning. The batteries are weak and the weather gets worse. We don’t talk about the storm of the century but it is sufficiently strong that the small boats don’t go out, especially pleasure boats. When Serge turned over with Middleton he lost part of his water supply and then the crazy drifting is taking him where…….

The Mozambique Channel is a jumble of currents and winds. Having missed the southern route, the northern route was ambitious, even impossible, unless there was luck, which frankly Serge did not have. Lots of small factors followed one after the other and Serge was heading for Somalia. Do you let him drift in an ocean with plenty of space, knowing that it is an area full of pirates (for information, the boat that rescued Serge has 2 escort boats with 8 heavily armed military aboard! Right now in the Indian Ocean area, there are 3 ships of the French navy. One wonders why). So, what do you do with Serge in Somalia? What do you do if he runs out of water or if he is knocked out when the boat capsizes while waiting for the weather to improve Sunday? Serge is in a state of advanced denutrition; how long could he last at this rhythm? He told me he didn’t even think about hunger or that he could eat.

If it had been possible to tow Middleton, we could have considered going on, even if for the sticklers he would lack nautical miles rowed. But the question does not arise. Middleton “is LOST” and we even had bad luck on land. It is time to stop and go home. The outcome might have been dramatic if we had not taken action. It certainly is not a happy ending but Serge had to reach his physical and mental limits. And the road will be long for he who has not achieved his dream!

High-speed chase against the clock -

When he is north of Grande Comore Island, with the forecast of winds in the area, Serge knows that he will never reach his goal. He is sure of it. The conveyor belt of currents hoped for is only an illusion, especially if you take into account the direction of the wind that blows here. Serge understands the situation perfectly. After having expended huge effort and slept little for two weeks, he feels his strength ebbing and he is afraid he will lose his lucidity and become a danger to himself. He too is drifting in the twists and turns of his consciousness.
Wednesday, May 6: Serge understands that he will never reach Pemba; I feel the urgency and we have to act quickly because Serge is exhausted, I hear it in his voice, in a few sentences we exchange. We must go meet him to get him on a heading he can hold and because of the storm warnings get him to a safe haven.
Thursday, May 7: A ray of hope – Serge held a reasonable heading in view of the conditions. He was able to row for 4 hours, spending the rest of the time closed in his cabin. Middleton has a 20° margin of maneuver when the winds are not favorable. When a strong wind hits Middleton at 90° it is impossible to hold a heading. Rowing or not rowing, in any case the heading south cannot be held. Serge knows this; it is just a question of common sense!
Friday, May 8 : Red alert. At 5 AM Serge calls me. He knows he is at the mercy of the raging seas and we know that the already difficult conditions will get worse until Sunday. There is nothing he can do to prevent the heading north. He is going so fast that I wonder if we will be able to catch up with him one day. In two hours we prepare the vehicles and out equipment and we head toward Tanzania, hoping that the ferry that crosses the border is running, otherwise it will take us four days to get to Tanzania. Our emergency can’t wait 4 days and I hope we will be lucky. A contact in Palma tells me that the ferry is running so we head in that direction.
We spend the night in Palma and Andre lets us take a hot shower. We sleep in the vehicles. We hear nothing from Serge until 19H00. He continues to be on alert status because his inside telephone has not worked since yesterday and he can’t phone from the outside with his Irridium. He is waiting for a boat we found in Mtwara to go out to pick him up but at this point in time I know that the boat will not go to sea: Serge is too far from the coast and the boat is not powerful enough to face such heavy seas.
As is always the case in an emergency, when a decision must be made quickly, I suggest solutions with the elements I have on hand. Maxime tells me that Serge will not be able to reach the coast, even further to the north when the sea is calmer, or even in Somalia. David, in Mtwara, cannot go out with his small boat and we cannot go further north than Tanzania. Serge is in distress, in a critical situation and if things stay as they are, it will soon be a risk to Serge’s life.
Serge and I agree to speak Saturday morning at 5H00, if we can because bad luck will have it that communications have never been worse since Thursday, not taking into account the deplorable telephone connections in this country.
My decision is taken; tomorrow I will tell Serge that it is for the best for him to end the endeavor. I will call CROSS, just to say that Serge is in distress and drifting out of control but that for the moment we do not request help. It must be between 20H00 and 21H00.
22H00: Serge calls me by telephone and asks me to call for assistance. I tell him that I see no other solution; the connection goes dead!
The rescue operation begins, we « sleep » for 4 hours. Serge will be picked up in a few hours and taken to Mayotte or Mtwara. Foe me Mayotte represents another difficulty whereas we are at Mtwara.
At 5H30 we leave Palma toward the border on a rutted track, we leave one of the four wheel drives in a muddy rut. We arrive at the ferry, which is only a barge. It crosses the Ruwuma River to the opposite bank, a distance of 400 meters.
At 7H30 the barge goes aground on a sand bank and we are stuck 100 meters from the shore. We spend 10H00 on the barge waiting for the tide to come in to free us. Between 8H30 and 9H30 I speak to CROSS three times with my satellite telephone. There is no network here! During that time I follow Serge’s rescue operations.
The crew of the Far Scotsman has Serge on board: Phew!
They land Serge at Mtwara PHEW PHEW PEHW. 30 minutes earlier, CROSS tells me that there is a chance he will be sent to Mayotte by a French naval vessel.
It was not possible to tow Middleton – ASTONISHMENT. We are in a stupor…
The hours pass slowly, very slowly on this barge and we are finally liberated at 17H00. 5 km further is the Tanzanian border. Papers for the vehicles, visas, everything is in order in record time, it is 19H00. I have no news of Serge for there is no network and I don’t know the boat’s satellite number. I only know that he is in good hands. It is dark and the road is “rotten”. We decide to sleep at the police station where we are. No use taking risks at night, especially because CROSS tells me that the boat will not arrive at Mtwara until Sunday evening, at the best. It is 40 km from our position.
We sleep in our vehicles for a second night. At 6H30 we take to the road to Mtwara. David, the owner of the only motor boat in the area and with whom I have been in contact, is waiting for us. It is 7H45 when we arrive. I have still not been able to speak with Serge and I see that he has tried to call from a satellite telephone. There is finally a network.
David in Mtwara, who knows the captain of the Far Scotsman, tells me when we leave our vehicle that the boat is at quay. Serge is with the Tanzanian authorities on board. We are Sunday, May 10th in the morning and I wonder in what state of mind I will find Serge.

The adventure continues with a capital A -

6H30 the team gathered for breakfast before we broke rank for our jobs. But not before talking to Serge on the phone for 30 seconds. He seemed to be in a daze. The telephone of the Fleet Broad Bank doesn’t work; the inside antenna of his Iridium is down, which means he has to go out of the cabin to call us. It seems to be more important than usual for him to be able to communicate today. We can’t count on the Mozambique telephone system, which is as if your telecom provider blacked out for several hours or several days and for an unknown period of time. So several months ago and for 2 months, Pemba had big electrical problems. Those who could used generators!

To get back to Serge, he is worried. Worried about knowing where he is or where he is going with a strong wind and enormous waves. For two days he has been using his floating anchor to minimize the drift north. For those who wish to understand the situation, I suggest you look at the Sat Océan maps on the home page because the route planning gives a good idea of what is happening. 2 days ago we thought Serge would reach the coast Friday but this morning it looks like it will take longer, and Serge is having trouble accepting this fact. He is under constant stress and he is frightened by the raging sea. We no longer speak of objectives, only that he must try to get near the coast, because we don’t know where he will land. With a row boat you can’t land where you wish!
In any case, John has spent the morning moving heaven and earth with all his contacts to try to find a boat, which we need urgently, to go meet Serge several miles from the coast and tow him south if he arrives in Tanzania.
During this time, René worked to finish the cradle for the boat, which looks like a trailer. A huge amount of work has been done since Monday to have it ready so today he is under less pressure.
Tomorrow we will finish everything in Pemba and we will be ready to head north, to Palma, hoping we will not need to go to Tanzania!
David’s on-line video gives a breath of fresh air and shows what life is like at the seaside!

They arrived safely -

At 12H30, David and Bertrand arrived after driving 3,800 km in 5 and half days. They crossed 3 borders and 6 police and customs check points, not counting the frequent police checks. What joy to see them in such great shape and not in the least effected by their long hours on the road.
A portion of the day was spent looking for a boat to assist Serge if he needs it. The southerly wind is not helping him arrive at Pemba and the routers are not sure that he will be able to reach his objective. For the past week, since Middleton has been heading north, they have been in a state of readiness and I know they have a Hell of a job following Serge and being in contact with him several times a day.
We have met John and Beverly, South Africans who live in southern Mozambique and during a good part of the year sailing all over the world in their catamaran. They spent 3 hours working their contacts and we meet 5 people, skippers and owners of the handful of boats anchored here. There is no marina or harbor, nothing. We can see 3 motor boats and 4 catamarans, that’s all.
We wonder if there are other possibilities to the north. There is Palma, just below Tanzania, and tomorrow I think that we will decide if we should go to that small harbor town (it will mean a day’s drive), knowing that we will only have Friday to make all administrative arrangements and find a boat, which we have been unable to do here in Pemba. Tomorrow is another day, but I am like Serge and my reserves are beginning to run low to find solutions in a country where everything is complicated and takes a long time. And now the time that passes is not in our favor. Frankly, I don’t know if it will be possible to organize in one day an arrival up north. Will there be a miracle?

Our first jewel, a fire opal -

Brilliant, intense and sparkling, this is our first jewel right out of Ali Baba’s cave. Beware of the 40 thieves, because I’m opening our treasure chest and we will have a lot of jewels to show you. Today, our webmaster
Last name: BRAUDEL
First name: Anne
Nickname: Nanne for her family, ‘La Braud’ for friends
Age: born 16 April 1965 I let you do the math to know my age. This year, 2015, is frightening.
Profession: part math teacher, part IT specialist
Hobbies : Math and computer science and singing in a choir
The name of your pet (s): neither Titi, nor Tom, nor Jerry, nor Nemo, nor Tic or Tac, nor Donald, nor Mickey…
Your favorite animal: the cat
What do you like?: lots of things
What don’t you like?: few things
Your strong point: You will have to ask someone else
Your weak point : a nitpicker
The things you like to find in others : frankness, enthusiasm, generosity, compassion, naturalness
Your favorite music: baroque music in general and in particular The Savages in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes
Your favorite film : Rear Window with Grace Kelly and James Stewart
Your favorite color : The orange of the setting sun
Your favorite food : A fresh baguette with demi-sel butter
Generally speaking your wildest dream: An equitable world where each individual can flourish and respect mankind and his environment
A nightmare that you would not like to experience: mourning
Define your role in the World Tour: IT consultant
Is this the first time you have participated? Yes, and for a first it has started well with the World Tour!
How long have you been involved? : Since 13 July 2013
What is your job? : All aspects of IT assistance
How do you approach the subject (problems for you in your job): with pleasure, Serge and Laure have lots of ideas which I like to bring to fruition.
What do you think of this World Tour?: total madness
Serge’s chances to succeed: Inch Allah!
What do you feel about Serge and the total project? : Complete respect
What excites you in this project? : The voyage
A word from Laure: Anne is a fire opal; all fire, all flame, an exuberant enthusiasm, complete availability, fired by the desire to see improvement. An incredible association for the past few months and which will continue during the World Tour.
The chest is closed for the evening and it will open soon to reveal a sapphire.