Yesterday afternoon, René and I arrived in Nampula, Mozambique with our 100 kg. of baggage (the excess baggage cost us 400 Euros for the 80 kg. that went in the hold). It took us 45 minutes to get our 30-day visa, at a cost of U.S. $85 per person.
At 16H00 we arrived at our hotel in the center of Nampula, a city of 500,000 inhabitants. It is the third largest city of Mozambique. We are now on the same time as France.
Bertrand and David are enjoying their last weekend before joining us on Wednesday for the beginning of a long trip. They will land at Windhoek in Namibia on April 30. They will take delivery of 2 rental 4-wheel drives equipped with roof tents and camping equipment. They will reconnoiter the trip between Windhoek and Angoche (some 3,500 km). They should arrive May 5 or 6. As you can see, the logistics are rather complicated. And all the while Serge is fighting like a demon to get out of his current dire straits.
Being Sunday, it is status quo in a 50% Roman Catholic country. Nampula, the capital of the North, has a mixed population with many Indians and Muslims and a great many Chinese, who are here for business and seem to be well established. At the airport and in the street Chinese and Indian businesses thrive.
When we landed we were immediately surprised by the scenery. We are on a plain but there are isolated hills or mountains rising abruptly from ground, in the shape of domes or sugar loaves.
This Sunday it was time for the routers, Michel, Xavier and Maxime, to take a decision concerning Serge’s heading, which is getting bogged down in spite of all his effort. Maxime mentioned Serge’s extraordinary ability to make headway in spite of a contrary current of 3.6 km. Serge is a fighter but he will not be able to go on forever if he sees that there is no improvement and conditions don’t improve. The distance is only about 100 km, but at oar’s length it is much further.
Serge tells me he is eating less than on his first crossing, he is nauseous but not sick. He is drinking more. The sea becomes calm for about 5 hours and he takes advantage of it by rowing to move forward. He is rowing about 12 hours per day and he wakes several times at night to check his heading.
In spite of the head wind and a contrary current, about which there is little to be done, the Mozambique Channel is not easy due to the changing currents and winds which create heavy seas at the end of the day. Serge has just been told to head further south, if he can. He tells me the reality of the situation is often different and it changes from hour to hour.
We are crossing our fingers. Tomorrow we head for Nacala to begin prospecting for the arrival of Middleton and Serge in the district of Nampula.