Kutembea’ (to wander in Swahili) by Jack Stevenson- Part 1

Positive H2O ambassadors Jack Stevenson, Bart van Straaten and Carlo Macchiarulo have finished their adventure in Mozambique and here is part one of their story.

Kutembea by Jack Stevenson

What ultimately inspired this journey was a passion of five people!

In northern Mozambique, Pemba’s small kitesurfing community is drawn to the pristine coastline and peaceful lifestyle of Cabo Delgado,

Away from the Pemba bustle is the area’s best kitesurfing spot and at the heart of the community is Il Pirata, an intimate hideaway lodge – home to Carlo and Susanna, a place for home-cooked Italian food, a kitesurf lesson or an adventure with Carlo exploring the idyllic coast by kite.
This is where the team of seven congregated and conceived the epic challenge.

The Challenge!
The challenge was to travel by kite the length of Cabo Delgado, traveling between the River Lurio and the River Rovuma, a 210 nautical-mile stretch as the crow flies, culminating in our eight-day adventure.

A Kitesurf challenge: an aim to raise awareness for the need of clean water, promoting current community projects in Mozambique and to document a raw way of life, living along the pristine coastline of northern Mozambique.

Kusi Wind
The Winds of the east African coast are the south easterly known locally as the Kusi and the north easterly known locally as the Kazkazi.
The Kusi has the reputation for being the stronger and more consistent of the two, blowing from April to September.

These winds are the backbone of the ancient Dhow trade routes. As far back as AD600 the dhow has been harnessing these winds bringing trade and wealth – shaping the coastline cultures. To this day the dhow spirit and trade routes continue as local communities rely on these winds as a means of life.

We relied on the Kusi to travel our part of the dhow trade route, using a kite – one of the most modern forms of harnessing the wind. The Kusi lived up to her reputation throughout the trip blowing hard and consistently, though not always on our side.

Epic Adventure – tackled on a shoe string
Lacking funds for a fancy support boat, we had no option but to rely on a far from ideal weekend flat-water boat, whose hull wasn’t ideal for choppy seas.
But we had confidence in Geert our Captain.

With the seven of us scattered across a remote zone we were already facing a communication challenge. But two days before the trip onset we were able to come together at Il Pirata and managed to finalise our plans.

The most beautiful stretch of kiting was day five between Guludo and Queiterajo. The wind was pitch perfect and the islands pristine, as we cruised past idyllic beachfront fishing villages, fringed by grass roofs and hanging palm leaves. Crowds of excited locals ran along the shores to greet us with beaming smiles, arms waving frantically. We entertained them with a few displays, hoping to leave them with stories that may be recounted for years to come. Drawing closer to Queiterajo we weaved amongst the few dotted mangroves and were welcomed by happy faces.

Cat and myself entered the village to greet the chief – Chefi De Aldea and were escorted to his house by Frank, an affable old man we met en route. He explained about the ‘shambas’ (fields) and the poor crops due to the lack of rains this year – a problem all over the region. We were welcomed to the Chefi De Aldea’s house with warm hospitality. We sat outside on the road on wooden school chairs while we waited for him to return from the mosque. A curious crowd had gathered and the ensuring intense questioning from them, was broken by his arrival. After a lot of banter and laughter he kindly gave us a few guards for the boat over night, as many fishermen who aren’t local to the area pass through.
We arrange with the guys guarding the boat that we want to leave by 9am the next day and could they keep the boat floating. The next morning we woke to a low tide and no boat……
Somehow lost in translation, the guards had walked the boat round the mangroves, on the outgoing tide to another spot where we found her lying dry!
20 strong we push the boat into deeper waters in tune to the rhythm of a fisherman’s song who at the top of his voice lead us into “ONE STRENGTH”, breaking the suction of the wet sand.
We pumped our kites and headed off waving goodbye to Queiterajo.

Part 2 coming soon!

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One Response to Kutembea’ (to wander in Swahili) by Jack Stevenson- Part 1

  1. Pingback: Positive H2O » Team Blog – Kutembea’ (to wander in Swahili) by Jack Stevenson- Part 2

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