We had had to leave Lake Tanganyika due to the constant bouts of malaria my husband was suffering, and so we returned to Zimbabwe. It was not too long though when he again went down with another bout. Off to the doctor and explained the frequency of his attacks while at the Lake, and was told the malaria was probably permanently lurking about in his liver and was repeatedly rearing its ugly head when he was perhaps a bit run down. The doctor prescribed three courses of treatment to be taken consecutively. The first, a week’s course of Chloroquine, to be followed immediately by two days of Fansidar and then a fourteen day course of Primaquine. We collected the prescription and treatment began. We thought twenty three days of malaria tablets would either kill or cure him! But cure it did, at least as far as the debilitating, frequent occurrences were concerned. Thereafter,in the following years he had malaria just once or twice.
With that out of the way, we took up an offer to manage a crocodile farm on Bazaruto Island, just off the coast of Mocambique. We were met at Prince Charles Airport and set off for the island in a light aircraft. A rusting, well-used Land Rover was waiting at the airstrip to carry us to the camp site. The living quarters consisted of three large, thatched A-frame chalets and a separate dining/kitchen area all positioned right on the beautiful beach.
The view from the chalets was spectacular
Feeding the crocodiles was a major operation and was totally reliant upon the fishermen bringing in their catch. And this depended upon the tides, meaning that Peter would have to meet the dhows to fit in with the time of tides no matter what that time might be, and so there were no regular hours as such and an eye had to be kept on the dhows to monitor their progress coming in. Then Peter had to leave and drive up the beach immediately. It was crucial to get to the dhows quickly, a tardy arrival meant the fish would be sold out to the local islanders scrambling around the boats, and there would be no feed for the crocodiles until the next tide.
The camp was on the sheltered side of the coast, and we could just make out Villancoulos on the horizon. The tide this side went very far out, and in fact could hardly been seen at times. Our grandsons came to visit just as the tide was almost up to the chalet doors and the oldest was very excited and wanting to swim right then but was told no, it was bedtime, and he could swim in the morning. The next morning very, very early we heard wails of despair : “The sea’s gone! It’s gone!” It took some time to persuade him not to worry, that it would be back soon!
We would sometimes drive across the island to go to the main sea and would often see dolphins close to the shore. Those of you who have read my Blog Limbikani will remember that I used his “magic” technique to get the Land Rover going again when it refused to start. Here is a picture of that day, and that Land Rover just before that event:
At one end of the island was The Spit, it was quite magical there. Birds were abundant, in fact all over the island, and at times the sea, clouds and the sand would take on an eerie greenish hue, with the wind blowing wildly. It was always exhilarating. And of course, the flamingoes were magnificent.
One morning we woke to the news that a yacht, The Maraposa (Butterfly), had become beached and so we rushed along to have a look and see what could be done. Already it was surrounded by sightseers and people from the nearby lodge figuring out how to get the vessel to rights and on its way.
It was a major task, that took several days and, of course, the tide had to be high enough for it to float again. But it was at last accomplished, and although there was some damage the owners, who had sailed from the Cape, decided to take a chance and get on their way. We know they made it safely because we later corresponded with them. So it all ended well.