We headed on to Pemba, the last major town heading North before the border, and the southern gateway to the Quirimba Archipelago and National park. Again it was just a larger congregation of grass huts, but we felt like we were back in civilisation, sort of. We camped a few kilometres south of town at Russels Place on Wimbe Beach. We met Russel, a nice Aussie guy from the sunshine coast, another expat who came and just never quite made it home. Russel's was in the middle of renovations, a new bar and toilet facilities amongst other things that when finished would make it a great place to stay, but like most places in Mozambique, construction seems to go on forever and who knows whether it will ever be completed.It must be said that, although there was no running water in the new ablution blocks, the warm water heating on coals in the corner of the bucket shower room was a luxurious touch and ladling the warm water over myself was something that I would look forward to every evening despite the weather. The weather in Pemba was relentless, we had missed the week of rain thankfully but perhaps it may have been a welcome relief from the 35deg days, sky high humidity and the even more so unpleasant sticky evenings, almost unbearable in the tent when the wind died off at night. We spent 5 nights at Russels and I think I could've done this solely for the showers, but Russels place was also the local expat hangout and it turned out to be a great source of information on the surrounds and practicalities of heading North to the Tanzanian border, one which is said to be one of the most challenging in Sub-Saharan Africa.Whilst at Russels we ran into a couple of fellow travellers who we had crossed paths with several times whilst in Mozambique, firstly in Tofo, then Vilankulos and again in Ihla. On Ihla we met James and Jen and heard a brief story of their travels from London down and round Africa. Initially, they were just going to Morocco, and I guess they loved it so much and just kept going. We had a good chat with them and figured we'd cross paths again in the near future.The weather in Pemba was relentless, we had missed the week of rain thankfully but perhaps it may have been a welcome relief from the 35deg days, sky high humidity and the even more so unpleasant sticky evenings, almost unbearable in the tent when the wind died off at night.Our days were spent lazing about and contemplating our next movements.We'd take the occasional swim across the road at the reef fringed Wimbe beach, but at low tide the water would recede a couple of hundred metres making it difficult to swim, the reef would become exposed and the locals would gather to rape it of anything that moved. Kaz and I spent one morning exploring the shallows, but other than countless sea stars and a couple of moray eels which had temporarily escaped the locals, there was little to be seen. We spent some time in Pemba itself, stocking up and sorting stuff on the internet, ad spent a couple of afternoons paddling on a deserted beach pass the lighthouse to the south of Wimbe.We perhaps wouldn't have stayed so long in Pemba but for 2 reasons. The first coming after a recommendation by a local expat to treat ourselves to a Chinese feast in town. Having scarcely seen a vegetable for days, we figured it was a good idea and a nice change. The restaurant was open air, but a sweat box all the same and it was here we witnessed a strange local custom. Numerous plastic bags filled with water were hung from the roof as a deterrent for flies. In theory, the flies see their bulged reflection in the water, and are scared off, thinking it a monster fly. We remained sceptical of this hypothesis because like everywhere else, the flies resided in their thousands, but thankfully for the other 3 of us, they just harassed Susan the whole time. Our feast was neither overly tasty or healthy. That evening we again feasted, this time on mudcrab we had purchased, 8 in total for about $4. Admittedly they weren't the biggest mudcrabs we had ever seen, and in our days in NQ we would have thrown the lot back, but these were getting eaten tonight, if not by us, by someone else. We had also purchased several kilos of prawns for $8, but by the time we were through the crab we could barely eat one prawn and so they went to the fridge for another day. Getting back to our reason for staying in Pemba - the morning after our day of feasting I awoke with an overwhelming feeling of nausea and abdominal pain. Something I had eaten was slowly poisoning me to what felt like near death and so I spent the day writhing in agony with little to do but ride it out. I had unfortunately experienced food poisoning a couple of times during previous travels, and the burps of beef in oyster sauce gave the dodgy Chinese away. I lay on my chair in pain, it was typically stinking hot no matter where I went, but outside the flies and mosquitoes got just too much and the only option left was to spend the day bathing in a pool of my own sweat in the tent. I was fortunate enough that Karen was there to look after and tend to me, without her I would have evaporated away. By evening I was over the worst of it, but still confined to the tent and by now my pillow was completely saturated. It was a horrible experience that knocked me around for the next couple of days, but something I've almost come to expect in these countries, although for some reason Karen has been lucky enough to avoid it thus far on our worldly travels.A couple of days on and my energy levels were back to normal. By now we had made the decision that Ibo Island would be our next port of call, but we were still undecided on how we would get there. The most common route would have seen us drive 5hrs north along a bumpy dirt track to a small village where we would leave the car and catch a dhow (traditional Arabic sailing boat) a couple of hrs across to the island, however through the expat grapevine we had established that there was a supply boat due to depart in a day or so, and to Kaz and I the romantic notion of 10hrs sailing through the islands sounded appealing to us. Not to mention that the captain apparently like to fish along the way. We made a few calls and eventually spoke to the captain, who agreed to have us on board. He was to depart, in a couple of days time, and so we had another reason to stick around in Pemba. The following day we received a call from the boat captain, whose supplies had been delayed and so his journey would be postponed by a day (being Africa this could have meant 2 or 3). By now we were running out of time on our visas, and so we decided to dismiss the boat journey from Pemba and drive north with Bones and Susie the following day.We left Russels the next morning, but with a whisper of news along the expat grapevine that would change our travel plans dramatically in the coming days…….apparently the ferry across the border (the only option from Mozambique to Tanzania) was not running. With little more information than this, but armed with a couple more phone numbers we decided to push on.