A fresh start on the high seas -

Since yesterday evening, Serge is in his bubble, his face is stern. Tension is mounting and for me too, like it or not, it’s inevitable.
It was not a quiet night; our intestines were upset, no doubt to rid themselves of the pressure which is more or less conscious.
There is a start from the Petite Plage by lots of dugouts with the beautiful sails of the « Magunga’s world tour ». Guillaumette and quite a few resident Vasahas were also present.

The launch of the boat took longer than planned, about 90 minutes; between the moment that Serge and I withdrew, too nervous to witness the handling of Middleton. René, Danz and Hassina were there to take care that the operation went well. The tide steadily went out and minutes seemed like hours. It took manpower to complete the launch, as you can see from the photos. Once off her trailer and in enough depth, Middleton could be equipped with her rudder. Then it took 4 big guys, including Danz and Hasina, to tow her to the north to a cove on the Petite Plage so that the sand banks would not be in Serge’s way. Middleton is easily affected by the wind, hence drifting, so we had to get it right.
To say the least, it was stressful because the weather was not in our favor. As the tide comes in, the gigantic estuary of Betsiboka can be a trap and Serge had to get away before the tide turned in the afternoon.
René and I accompanied Serge for one hour on board a small motorized dugout. We had a knot in our stomachs and dry throats. At 11H10 we turned around; “goodbye will be tough,” Serge read my thoughts. I had no response to his words, telling myself that we are often on the same wave length and in the same frame of mind.
Serge should leave daily voice messages, which I will try to put on-line right away. Don’t hesitate to log onto the audio gallery when he crosses the Mozambique Channel.
René and I will drive to Tana tomorrow. We will spend the night at Nathalie and Olivier’s. Then Friday afternoon we will fly to Johannesburg and stay for one night before taking a flight on Saturday to Nampula, Mozambique. I will try to tell you all about it but there may be a few blank spaces in the news. My apologies in advance, faithful readers.

As for me, I will not relax until Serge is far from the coast because it is always a danger for Serge and Middleton. Luckily, Guillaumette and a couple that lives at Petite Plage are there in case there is need for help in the next 48 hours, which is the time when anything can happen. The first danger comes from all the unmarked fishing boats and dugouts which navigate at night close to the coast. I know that Serge has to remain vigilant for the first two nights and I hope he will not be seasick.
Thanks for all the e-mails, which we received over the past days and to which I will not be able to respond personally. The words most of you used were “Fair winds Serge”.