Our plan from the start has been to paddle 500 miles from Pemba to Zanzibar via the Quirimbas Archipelago. That said, I’m referring to nautical miles… so I actually have no idea how many miles the trip actually is!
Most of you that do know me realize that I am an obsessive planner. I’ve had to let go of that even before the trip started, because local knowledge is pretty key. As it turns out, some of the information had to be obtained right here in Africa.
One thing I couldn’t turn off, however, was a feeling in my gut. Things were fine and dandy the entire time I was on my computer home in Montana, but I have to admit I started to get a nervous anxiety about three days before departing. What was troubling was the fact that I’ve had this exact feeling before… and suffice it to say, those trips didn’t go well. I don’t like that kind of shit. I plan to live a long, long time.
After almost four days of travel to get to Mozambique, my partner for this expedition, Kirk Hollis, and all the equipment make it. It feels like a miracle, but things still just didn’t feel right. As I stood on the beach for the first time with the howling KUZI trade wind, the ocean was not calling my name.
Right away we learned of Punta Diablo, which just out 10 miles east into the ocean immediately north of the Pemba Bay. Had we just gone for it without asking around, there was a 100 percent chance that the wind and swell from the KUZI would have pounded us straight into rocks and cliffs. So, naturally I started arranging a boat around it, but it immediately brought up more concerns about the trip, the KUZI and the geography.
For instance, the Tanzania border crossing, and the 50 miles we would have to paddle out of our way just to get a passport stamp. Or, the private islands in key geographic locales that cost $800 per night that are fully booked to wealthy Italian tourists years in advance, and have armed guards who are unwilling to provide us with any support. And, many other islands have internal tribal conflicts from nomadic groups who have taken up residency there.
What I knew I was getting in to with this trip was an Adventure, and that’s what we have. Some of this stuff I can live with, even with the additional threats of piracy, sharks, and the extraordinary weather currently happening from climate change.
The deal breaker for the scope of this mission is that potable water is virtually nonexistent along the old route that we had been planning on taking.
But it bears repeating that what we’ve got here is an adventure of epic porportions. We’re here, we have better knowledge and best, we have the opportunity to do something even better. So, I scrapped the old plan and made an entirely new program that gets back to the core philosophies of this project: kite, SUP, camp, fish, exploration. We will head out early next week for the Quirimbas, and hit up about 20 islands or so and set out on the adventure of a life time. I think we are going to find plenty to do!
Stay posted to www.thekiteboarder.com for more updates from Seth and Kirk as they embark on their adventure. The KUZI Project is powered by Liquid Force Kiteboarding and custom-designed and engineered paddleboards made especially for this adventure by Glide SUP. Other sponsors include The Kiteboarder, Patagonia, Kialoa Paddles, Goal Zero, Sea to Summit, Smith Optics, SUP Magazine and Wide Open Camera. EPIC TV, a European adventure sports network, has also contracted for a five-part series on the project to be aired in fall 2013.