I want to begin by saying what a privilege it has been doing this trip and I can’t thank our supporters enough. Without you guys this trip would not be possible.

The trip from Likoma Island came with exciting times and it was probably the wildest section of all. One day we were paddling quite close to the reeds and not 20 metres behind us a hippo decided to pop his head out of the water and snorted which gave us the fright of a lifetime. I have never seen Matt paddle so hard in his life. That was the beginning of the hippo and croc fiasco. At times it has been very nerve racking paddling when you know that hippo can pop out at any moment. But when they do surface it is amazing seeing these beautiful animals in their natural environment. 
The Mozambique coastline was epic, from mountains falling into the lake to plateaus stretching as far as the eye can see. The people in general are very nice, they are interested but not overbearing (as we have found the Malawi locals to be), except the government officials! They were absolutely terrible and they left a sour taste in our mouths. We found they would try everything to fatten their pockets and they were persistent. One day in Meponde they actually searched our boats. They made us take everything out which I think was a little over the top but anyway we got away without paying a cent. The malaria has been rife down the east coast - both Guy and I got sick but luckily a course of Coartem did the trick. 
Have you ever seen a bush-pig swimming about 200 metres out from the coastline? We have! We actually had the privilege of herding the poor animal back to shore.  A lot of thoughts were thrown out there about eating bush-pig meat but the mere size of the animal would have sunk our boats and the war- wounds would not be worth it. There is really no joke when it comes to the wind on Lake Malawi. For about 3 days we were pumped in the face by the Mwera winds which made paddling such a mission. Thus the idea for a moonlight paddle was brought to the table. For two days in a row we woke up at 2 in the morning and paddled through until the winds picked up again. It is quite satisfying paddling 20km before the sun has even risen. 
We came across 2 South Africans on the lake shore who decided to drop everything back home and build a hunting Lodge (Lake Niassa Lodge) Guy was in his element chatting about the bush and all his hunting experiences. We are currently 64 days into our trip and we have seen both the top and bottom of the lake. The bottom part of the lake was the perfect occasion for the “naked paddle” which gave us a few weird looks from the local fishermen. 
Guy lost a bet and had to shave his head which lead to the rest of the team doing the same thing, so we all have no hair and long beards which is going to put a dampener on the female following - but its chilled.  
Our parents are going to join us in the next couple of days which is very exciting. Yeah so it’s the last leg of an amazing trip and we are quite sad that it is coming to an end.

 
 
Day 42-48

Our kayak was stacked onto a, now fully loaded, coal truck en route to the lake .With heads held high and spirits rejuvenated the team was ready to attack the next leg of our journey to Likoma Island.

Once in the water the double kayak seemed to be running smoothly again. The previous events on Day 40 (where we had a few issues), are not a good representation of the actual performances of our boats. They have been put to the test numerous times along the way; covering over 1000 km’s through some heavy waters, not to mention the 4 day trek to Malawi on top of the Land Rover. There are no other boats we would rather paddle in. The singles have been outstanding and are easy to handle and maneuver whilst the double isn’t as sharp on the turning but is stable and quick. All in all, the Paddleyak crafts are the way forward.
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Wild waters
Day 45 was a rather ominous day. With the clouds brewing above us we couldn’t tell if it was going to rain or snow or both. We set off with the intention of reaching Mbamba Bay which was 35km from where we had camped. We reached a point ten km’s into our paddle when Mother Nature, with her boundless sense of obscure humour, made it abundantly clear that we were not going to be travelling on her lake for much longer that day.  A brutal wind pushed a rather large swarm of lake flies into our path. If you don’t know what those are, they are a tiny insects, smaller than mosquitoes, that fly in the millions like small clouds just above the surface of the water and they easily find their way into your nose, mouth and ears. As if this wasn’t bad enough the heavens opened up and rain drops pelted into our faces making it difficult to see. After about half an hour the rain subsided and we gathered on the water to laugh at how ridiculous the past 30 minutes had been. We decided to call it a day as the “Mpepo”(wind) was just too strong to fight against. A wise move! A short while after beaching we looked up and not 500m away a water spout had formed quietly, it stretched up like a snake reaching for the dark sky.

Once clearing the immigration office in Mbamba Bay we were driven by the idea of getting to Likoma Island, this would also signify the end of stage 3. Using broken Swahili and many hand gestures we found out from the local fisherman that the new moon was due during our travels to Likoma, this was a good sign as it calms the waters for a few days. We took full advantage of our new discovery and managed to clock up 141 km in 3 days, crossing into Mozambique waters and finally to Likoma Island (which is part of Malawi.) I may have made it seem easy, but we had to complete a 25km crossing to get to the Islands. This is normally a 3 and a half hour paddle but roughly 1/5 of the way a head wind came from the South East, extending our crossing time to 5 hours. Taking a break for a bite to eat was simply not an option as you would lose hard earned yardage. It was an almighty battle and one we wouldn’t like to do again.

An awesome 3 days was spent with some great people and hospitality at Mango Drift which is situated on the West side of Likoma. The island is small with few developments. A beautiful cathedral lies on a hill overlooking the central town which is worthwhile having a look at especially as it has an interesting history behind it.

 Guy Robertson
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Build-up to water spout