Last night I arrived at Tashinga, and made a decision, which turned out to be correct that my lodge fridge would not have been turned on so I decided to camp on the bank of the Ume point before venturing down the following morning.
To give you an idea of what my luck has been like at the Ume I must just point out that on my last expedition I left my coffee behind, but found one of Nina’s (my amazing girlfriend) herbal teas, which turned out to be a reasonable substitute. It was desparate times…
So here I am, at the camp site – no sweat – Steve the young appie guide had given me a tent a while back and a stretcher so I would just use that. Problem is that I had tested out the stretcher, but not the tent…
Well blow me sideways if the tent was not a complete cluster! It had holes in it – the corners where the pegs go had been ripped off – the door was tied closed with a piece of string in the middle. It looked like a bin bag gone wrong.
So after much effort trying to see if I could make a plan I decided the better part of valour is to give up gracefully as it was getting dark and I had heard about the magnificent (and prolific) lion kills I retreated to the boat, my sanctuary!
Now the boat is not the most comfortable sleep, but I had my doss bag and a couple life jackets to prop myself up against and off I headed into a slumber only to awaken every few minutes to listen for boat engines and the odd lion roar which sounded to close for comfort. I started asking myself questions like – will a plastic paddle deter an inquisitive lion, or should I play the old baboon trick and feign death? The old rotting carcass trick left me rather dubious to say the least…
I awoke this morning at just after 6 and decided it was time to brew up on the remnants of the previous nights fire. I sauntered off to brush my teeth, came back and somehow my backpack had fallen onto a hot coal. Sjoe man… You know that point where you take a deep breath, close your eyes and count to ten in order to calm down? Well I got to five and then let the fire have it!!!! haha – funny in hindsight.
And finally – the proverbial cherry on top! Somehow my 5 litre oil can had gotten a hole in the bottom – (like a rat had bitten in) and dropped its load in the bottom of the boat!
I was on the verge of turning around and just going back to camp – as it looked like it was going to be a day full of woe and misfotune! Can you get the idea that I was feeling sorry for myself yet??
But score, we ended up nailing four likely lads camped on an island making twine nets for sale… They are illegal in Zimbabwe – not Zambia as they seem to have no Parks and Wildlife laws… hence they have shot out all their game and fished out everything on their side of the lake.
Unfortunately it is a never ending tide, as the chance of them getting away with it at least for a while is worth the fine they will get. They will be back, of that I am sure and the game of cat and mouse continues..
Until next time,