. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: August 15, 2000

Tuesday, August 15, 2000
Nkhata Bay to Chizumulu Island, Malawi
Malawi's Flag

Chizumulu Island, Malawi:
Latitude: 12° 0' 48" South
Longitude: 34° 37' 11" East
Altitude: 1622 feet
From Seattle: 11261 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Wakwenda Retreat

Today's Travel:
Country: Malawi
Region: Northern Malawi
Route: The Ilala (Ferry): Nkhata Bay - Chizumulu Island
Path:Nkhata Bay - Chizumulu Island, Malawi
Linear:38 miles
Weather: Mostly Sunny

Available Photos:

Lizard Nkhata Bay, Malawi

Lizard Nkhata Bay, Malawi

Lizard Nkhata Bay, Malawi

Lizard Nkhata Bay, Malawi

Canoer Nkhata Bay, Malawi

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1223
Linear Dist: 235832
Countries Visited: 70
Regions Visited: 268
More stats...
Hotels: 441
Friends / Family: 302
Camping: 129
Hostels: 261
Transit: 76
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 4193

Journal Entry:
Slept in! First thing, visited Norman (my carver) to drop off the deposit on the chairs. We had a banana shake for breakfast at Mayoka then walked in to town. In the market I negotiated to buy some frames, and Amy shopped for fabric. After she found the pattern she wanted we went to the tailor to have him make a skirt and some bags. Had a huge lunch of curry and nsima (the local staple goo) at Jonathan's (the same place we had lunch yesterday). After lunch walked back in to the market and I picked up half the frames I ordered - the others should be ready when we're back next Sunday. We played cards overlooking the water in the Safari restaurant to kill time until Amy's skirt was ready. Picked up the skirt and bags - it all looks good, not bad for $1.60 worth of tailoring. We walked back to Mayoka, and I just hung out until it was time to head for the ferry.

About seven thirty we walked back in to town to wait for the ferry there. Katherine (the co-owner of Mayoka) and her sister were also heading for the ferry so there was a group of us. We stopped in the Safari restaurant to hang out until the ferry sounded its hour warning horn, but Amy and I got a little nervous and headed out. On the ferry we fought our way through the lower deck and went up to the first class deck. The economy decks were absolutely packed - we were quite literally climbing over people and baggage. The upper deck was almost completely deserted - a couple small groups of people and a couple tents was it. We got a couple cheap beers from the bar and settled down on a bench. Minutes after we sat down the horn sounded, and minutes after that the ferry was on its way - so much for the hour warning! Katherine and her sister did make it, but it was close.

The Ilala must be fifty years old - it's (or at least was) a beautiful ship with teak decks and graceful lines. Shortly after leaving the dock the bar closed and there was no food to be had on board either. It was to windy and rough to read so we tried to sleep. It wasn't terribly cold, but every once in awhile the boat would hit a big wave and even the top deck would get some spray. Didn't get much sleep but the views of the moon (nearly full) and stars between the clouds provided entertainment. Just after midnight we got to Chizumulu - only three and a half hours and I was glad to get off. When we first got on we were a little disappointed that we'd been unable to arrange for a longer trip, but by the time we got off I thought three hours was enough.

The stampede for exit was incredible - even ridiculous when I realized that most people weren't getting off, they were just swarming the exit to watch the action. Getting into the shore boat was mad - people literally climbing over people - I was really surprised that no one got hurt. When it was absolutely impossible to put another person in the boat we headed for shore. On shore we had to wade out then thread or way through the people crouched on the sand waiting to get on. We really had no idea which way to go so we headed for the only lights. That got us to the retreat - the only place to stay on the island. Then we had to wait about half an hour until the manager got back - he'd gone out to pick us (or those like us) up! Our reed hut is very basic - just a bed, a kerosene lamp, no floor, no electricity, and no lock. The highlight of the retreat is a huge old hollow baobab tree which houses the bar - it's like the keebler elves' pub. The bad news is that the owner who normally runs the diving is on holidays, so no diving of Chizumulu. We decides to stay tomorrow then head to Likoma (the next island towards Mozambique) the next day to dive.

Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Malawi
CIA World Fact Book: Malawi

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