The Idyllic Pangane (Jan 12th - 16th by Susan)We left Pemba with the sketchy knowledge that the ferry across the Ruvuma river into Tanzania was not working, looking on the brighter side we figured that we still had some time left before our visa's ran out so we headed north anyway in the hope that by the time we got there the issue would be fixed and we could sail into Tanzania.The plan was to drive out of Pemba towards Quissanga where we could leave the car and hop on a dhow to the island of Ibo which was supposed to be similar to Ilha do Mozambique but a bit more remote and run down if that is possible!I was still a bit nervous about the dhow ride, we weren't exactly sure how long it would take and I'm just not too keen on these small boats with their none to steady masts and sails.Before I had to make a decision though we had to get there and we had two options; to go inland about 54km then up the main tarred road then back to the ocean which in all seemed like a rather long 204km or we could head up the coast only a couple of kms inland on a dirt road which Russell had advised had something like 140 causeways and 'should' be passable depending on how much rain had fallen, but was only 115kms.We decided on option 2 and hit the dirt road still not quite sure we'd made the right decisions as we could see dark thunder clouds gathering in front of us as we took the dirt road turn off, still we figured Kal had done well so far and if we were to get stuck we hopefully had enough gear with us to get ourselves unstuck!As we drove along it was apparent that the road wasn't in that bad condition, the first couple of causeways we crossed had very little water in them and since they'd been concreted the only obstacle for Kal was that we had to slow down each time we hit one as it was always a dip.Kaz lost count after 22 causeways and no one really wanted to take on the challenge it was obvious there were as many if not more than Russell had told us!As we kept going we hit rain and the dirt got muddier and muddier, thicker and thicker.Paul had to engage 4-wheel drive a number of times as we attempted to climb and descend various hills.Overall we did very well although I got a bit nervous as the back of Kal would slide out behind the front as the mud took us along its preferred path but Paul did really well and we made it through without incident.Arriving at Quissanga we knew we had to go past the town to a place called Tandanhangue where the dhow would go from and where there should be somewhere to leave the car, this proved to be a bit of a challenge as there were no signs and the GPS really wasn't sure where we were going.Eventually we choose a track and as we drove down it looking for something like a port we noticed a lot of people standing in the bay around a small truck, we weren't sure if it was stuck but stayed on the road we were on, surely that couldn't be the way, it looked like it would be covered in sea water once the tide came in…..A little further on though we came to what looked like it used to be a small bridge, it was no more and as we stopped to consider our options lots of kids ran over from where the truck looked stuck, we needed to make our way over the sandy inlet where the truck was stuck!!So we drove round and the boys performed there first rescue while Kaz and I stood a safe distance from both the truck and Kal with the locals.We were confident Kal could pull them out, what I wasn't sure about was whether this old truck would stay in one piece, I wasn't sure where they were going to attach the winch too!!After a small false start where Kal stalled Paul reved up the engine again and pop the truck was out of the thick sand to the cheers of the on looking locals, I think this was the highlight of there day or maybe even week!! Now we just had to work out the best route to drive Kal through on, with 4-wheel drive engaged again we made it across with no issues!The 'port' was nothing more than a shack with a small enclosed area under some trees where the defender could be left, there were two other vehicles there so despite it's un-secure look we thought Kal would be okay, now it was time to go see what the dhow looked like.We walked down to the shallow water through the muddy mangroves as small red clawed crabs scattered everywhere and there the dhow was.It didn't look so bad but wasn't very big and already had at least 20 locals on it and more were streaming down, this was not for me, I'm not good with small spaces or water so we left Kaz and Dave to an adventure on Ibo on there own.Our destination was to be Pangane a small village about 50km further north that I'd read about on another blog and thought sounded fantastic, I was not to be disappointed but the drive there was not to be as simple as the 50km north both the GPS and our guide book showed.The small dirt road simply didn't exist, so the GPS recalculated and found us another route, not much further but again this road didn't exist so we ended up driving inland as far as the main road, driving north and then cutting in again to the coast.We enjoyed the drive, it was the first time Paul and I had had the freedom of the landy together on this trip and it felt good.The countryside we were passing through was full of smiling and waving locals despite the rain and mud and we tried to avoid soaking them as we sped past (that might be a bit of an exaggeration, with the dirt roads we weren't able to get up much speed!).I could tell Paul was getting tired, it had been a long day of challenging driving for him.As we hit the small town of Mucojo which was about 11km from Pangane we followed the soul sign that pointed us in the right direction and got onto a very sandy single track road, the sun had set and light was getting scarce so we were both a little bit nervous as the road seemed to disappear with tracks going right and left we followed the one that seemed to head in the right direction for the GPS co-ordinates that we had for the camp (by now we were 'off-roading' in GPS terms it had no roads out this way!!).The bay looked amazing with turquoise waters and as we passed through the small fishing village that was Pangane the ocean came into sight on both sides of us, Ashim's camp was right at the end of the peninsula on the narrowest part of sand.We were very glad to have the GPS co-ordinates because there were literally no signs for the place, we'd simply run out of road!The camp consisted of a couple of coconut trees and three huts and in the fading light we pulled up next to one of the huts hoping it would give us some shade when the sun rose the following day.It was good to know we weren't the only visitors, there was an Irish couple who we'd seen in Pemba but not really talked to, they were travelling via public transport - very brave and had come down from Tanzania for a couple of days to check things out before heading back up to Dar to fly home.They said the food was very good, Ashim wasn't around but we assured his wife that we were okay for tonight and might try her cooking the following day.Very tired we cooked up some veggie noodles and enjoyed a cold drink, as we served up Ashim came to say hello, his English was very good.I could tell he wasn't too impressed with what we were about to eat and we assured him we'd try his wife's cooking the following evening, he also told us to make sure everything went back in the car before we went to bed, the camp wasn't exactly secure but we'd have a local, Nadoo I think his name was sleeping outside the car all night to make sure we were okay. It's a bit unnerving arriving somewhere once the sun has gone down not really knowing how safe you are so for the first time I made sure we had the big maglite torch in the tent with us so that it could accompany us to the bathroom in the night should we need it.Never the less we were very tired so turned in for the night!We awoke in the morning to a beautiful view out past the palm trees over the crystal clear waters, the surface looked like a mirror it was so still!It was still pretty early as the sun was on the tent by 6am despite our attempts to get it some shade, but as we looked out over the ocean it was obvious that we weren't the first up, there were already a number of dhows out on the water trying to catch the days fish!We enjoyed some coffee then I took a couple of photo's of Kal on the beach, our favourite shot of the trip so far is the one attached to this blog it sums up our experiences in Mozambique, simply magical!! As we tucked in to some juicy pineapple we could see we had a small audience, three local boys, they seemed very shy so Paul went over to offer them some fruit which them seemed to enjoy, we had made some friends!They came and joined us where we were sitting in the shade and were fascinated by the pictures we had in the guide books, they tried to teach up the Portuguese for a few of the animals but Paul and I weren't very good students.After breakfast and to shack off our new found friends for a while we went for a swim, the water was very nice but there was a bank of sea grass you had to get past before you could enjoy the nice clear waters down to a sandy beach.After this refreshing swim we had a quick rinse in the only shower in the place, unfortunately we forgot to take it's picture, it was a simple bamboo fenced square with a short coconut tree providing some shade, the shower itself consisted of a big blue drum filled with water on stilts with a shower head at one end and a small lever to get the water to run.It was very basic but an amazingly refreshing experience with beautiful views!!I'd say we were definitely more sparring with the water though, it was all brought up from the village at good couple of hundred meters away in buckets from the local well!!We then decided to take a walk into Pangane village hoping to find the market.We walked along the western beach on the peninsula smiling and waving at the locals and only getting harassed by one or two kids who soon gave up as we didn't have anything to give them. As we walked along the beach you could see, and maybe more memorable, smell the fish drying on small wooden racks, tiny little fish but thousands of them.Eventually we headed up into the village in what must have been the hottest part of the day, we were dripping with sweat, all I could think about was enjoying another refreshing shower!We walked through the small streets not having much luck finding anything like a market although we scared or entertained a number of local kids, we would see quite a few of them in there back gardens, as they saw us they would go running into the house shouting 'Mzungu, Mzungu', at the other side of the house we'd see the same smiling face often with others but more shyly hiding behind the door way peaking out at us!The market turned out to be a small street with very little on it, we managed to buy some very expensive water, a couple of cokes and a few mango's and that was about it, we were definitely going to take Ashim up on the food tonight!!Late in the afternoon we decided to take a walk around what we thought was a very small rocky outcrop in front of the camp, the tide was out so we walked along the rock shelf on the shore underneath the rocky island.As we walked along we came across some local ladies returning from there day of fishing, when the tide was out there were huge rocky/coral reefs that got exposed most of which looked very dead and devoid of life - not surprising after the amount of people and dugouts that seemed to have streamed past us that morning on there way out to fish.It wasn't all dead though, these ladies had baskets on their heads full of octopus.They were very friendly and got them off of there heads to show us and the oldest of the ladies also warned Paul that he needed to put his flip flops as the rocks would get very sharp.As we headed out further it became obvious this wasn't such a small rocky outcrop it went on for miles but we plodded on amazed at the huge piles of clam shells every couple of meters. These clams where gigantic, it was hard for me to pick some of the shells up but I wondered how many would be this size out there now!We came across another fisherman in his dug out at the edge of the reef and he was happy to show us his catch for the day, more huge clams, it was good to know they were still big ones out there! Finally at the end of the peninsula we could walk out to a sandbar that at the lowest point of the tide would almost get you to the closest island offshore but we were happy to take a short stroll along it and admire the view across the water with more dhow's with their big white sails fishing on the horizon. As we neared the end of our walk we could see one of the dhows had pulled up at the edge of the reef about 300m out from the edge of the rocky outcrop, people were ferrying buckets full of something on there heads onto the rocks.As we got closer to where they were taking them I could see they had plastic sheets on the ground that were already full of small fish drying and watched as the next lot arrived and was scattered to my surprise onto the sand, they mustn't mind a bit of sand in their fish!Finally with snakes on our mind we clambered back through the rocks and bushes to our camp and another refreshing swim!This time we took our snorkels and although we didn't see a lot, there were beautiful little yellow fish with black strips that would swim along right underneath you and at the very end were swimming along right underneath my mask, they were so close it was hard for me to focus on them!!Dinner was fish and rice, the fish being filleted barracuda.It was quite good but still had a number of bones in it so the local cat which was very skinny and had a cute little kitten with it got a lot of mine!I felt quite sorry for the little kitten that kept trying to feed from it's mum that we gave them both some coconut milk that we had left over from a couple of nights before, they both looked like they really enjoyed it.The following day I got up and out of the tent to find two of our friends from the previous day sitting at the bottom of the steps up into the roof tent, I wondered how long they'd been sitting there!!So again we had some company for breakfast, they were a bit more confident today and when I let the smaller of the two sit in Paul's chair I could see he was very proud of himself, to Paul's frustration he wasn't too keen to give up his new found comfy seat and either didn't understand or choose not to understand Paul's attempts to get him out, in the end he had to lightly tip the chair up!! Our mission today was to try to get some mobile reception so that we could contact Kaz and Dave and work out whether we'd have to go back to pick them up the following day. We had a Mozambican sim card but it was vodacom, this seemed to be an mcel part of the world, as we'd driven north of Nampala the blue paint of vodacom on all of the village huts seemed to have given way to the yellow of mcel the rival network so it seemed like we'd need to get hold of an mcel card. This meant packing up the tent and the car, which in turn meant the kids thought we were leaving so started to ask for anything and everything.As Paul packed up the back one of them spotted the sweet potatoes we had, still raw I might add and seemed very keen to get hold of one, the older of the boys had helped us pack up the chairs and things so Paul broke one in two (it might be added we hadn't really liked them when we'd cooked them up a couple of days earlier) and gave them a piece each, to our surprise they just started eating - not the tastiest of snacks!!We had hoped we'd be able to get a new sim card and reception in Muconjo about 11km away but after some friendly help from a guy who was studying at Pemba university and the locals at the bike repair stop we worked out we were going to have to make the hour long drive back to Macomia on the main tar road if we were to have any luck.I looked out for elephants as we drove back, the land after all was supposed to be a national park, not that you could tell from all of the villages and cultivation going on all around and not really surprising I had no luck although there was some old ellie poo on the road.Eventually we were back at Macomia and after a bit of a walk around we found a place that could sell us a sim card, with our new card in hand we headed to the local café/bar and ordered a sprite and got down to some texting, first a text to Dave and Kaz and then a text to the ferry man to see of it was back up and running.After finishing our drinks and with no responses we headed out to pick up some bread, water and drinks (I'd hope to find some tomatoes but to no avail).As we did this I got a text back from the ferry man, not good news the ferry was not running so I sent one back asking when it would be still keeping our fingers crossed.As we headed back to the car it started to rain and a familiar sight came into view, James and Gen.We had a quick chat and they decided to come check out Pangane for the night so they headed off down the dirt road and we hopped back in Kal and headed after them.As we got back to Muconjo Gen and James stopped, they'd read about the 5 star eco-lodge in there Moz guide called Guludo Base Camp, they like us couldn't afford to stay there but they fancied checking it out, seemed like a good idea so we decided to follow.As we headed south out of Muconjo along a sand track a local stopped us and asked if we'd deliver the post to the lodge, 'sure, no worries', at least we knew we were heading in the right direction, all we had was a GPS co-ordinate!The sand track didn't seem too used and with our roof tents both cars did a bit of bush trimming as we drove along!Finally we got to a gate with a security guard who couldn't speak much English and seemed quite surprised to have two vehicles on his door step, I guessed they didn't get too many unexpected guests!As we waited James got out of the car to stretch his legs and Paul jumped out to check on what was happening.As Paul approached James, he nervously asked if the shorts he was wearing were Paul's, they were not to his relief!!James had broken his last pair of shorts at Russell's place and had found this rather nice pair of boardies in the showers after not being able to find an owner he had clamed them as his own!I jumped out and showed the guys the mail we had to deliver, this seemed to convince them that we weren't here to cause trouble and they opened the boom gate.As we headed towards the camp though we met John, the 25 year old English guy who was in charge!This was a bit of a surprise, I knew the owners were English and had set up a charity that helped the local community but didn't expect to find someone so young in charge.He'd been on the job for only 5 months and gave us a very warm welcome!I think he was glad of the English speaking company for a bit and gave us an excellent tour of there place showing us their award winning tents and newer chalets that were under construction.It was an amazing place, perfect for a honeymoon or a relaxing holiday to get away from it all, it's hard to describe so if you need either of these and have a lot of money check out there web page at www.guludo.com or www.bespokeexperience.com.After chilling out at Guludo for a while it was time to head back to camp, Paul had wondered on our way out in the morning if we'd get back to find Kaz and Dave on the beach hopefully not too paniced at our absence and sure enough as we drove back through Pangane village Ashim jumped off a taxi to tell us they were back at camp.This was a relief, neither of us were looking forward to the 3 hour trip back to pick them up and hopefully this meant they'd gotten there long dhow ride (they'd tried to organize one from Pemba to Ibo but it hadn't worked out).Back at camp Kaz and Dave weren't around so we went for a refreshing dip.When we got out of the water they were back in camp, they'd been for a wonder and had gotten some octopus for dinner that Ashim's wife was going to cook for them.On the menu tonight from Ashim was calamari which I wasn't too keen on but Paul, Gen and James liked the sound of it so they signed up and I signed up for rice (I'd heat up one of my curries).Dinner was yummy they set up a table for us under the palm trees on the beach and we were able to look up at the millions of stars overhead as we ate then after finishing the wine off it was time for bed.Next day was pretty similar to the others, just relaxing and snorkelling.In the afternoon Gen and James left they were going to head north and try to find out more about the ferry and Dave and Kaz went for a walk.Our usual friends were around and a couple of other kids were also intently watching us reading our books so I told Paul it was time to get the cricket bat out after all it had been carried all this way and still hadn't been used!!The kids loved this, Paul was up first batting just to make sure they knew how it was done, they were all very good but two boys in particular made some amazing catches!!I got the camera out to capture the moment and hoped to get some action shots but as I brought it out all but one of the boys stopped playing and ran towards me wanting to be in the picture so I took a couple then put it away to join in the fun.After a while Paul let the boys in turn have a go at batting with the younger kids scrambling all over the place to catch and retrieve the ball, but I noticed my little friend from our breakfast encounters was being a bit left out, he was pretty small so I decided I'd have to play with him.He had a bicycle tyre to so we started to roll that back and forward which he seemed to enjoy and then we got some other kids coming to join us, which he seemed a bit jealous of but we managed to work it out.I think at this point there were 20+ kids playing and watching and I'd noticed some of them doing some pretty crazy cart-wheels so I thought I'd give it a go, they loved this and as I went back to playing tyre they would shout 'velo! Velo!' wanting me to do another one, at the same time they started to show me what they could do and gradually the cricket crowd got smaller and the gymnastic team got bigger.Some of the boys were very good and could do back flips and summersaults while the some of the younger ones were just crazy they'd run come to an almost stand-still and then try to summersault which would end in them thumping onto the sand sometimes in awkward positions, if you have time check out the video!This all came to and end when one of the kids managed to do his running cartwheel and thump the kid who'd gone before him in the face, with a thump, I felt very bad and since we were getting a bit tired and sweaty (the sun was pretty hot) we decided to see if any of the kids could climb the coconut trees and sure enough one volunteered pretty quickly.It took a while for him to get up there, not because he couldn't scoot up it I'm sure but because every now and then he'd stop and pose for the cameras (three by now, Dave and Kaz were back with there's and Paul was filming the episode with our little one while I snapped away with the SLR), sadly there weren't any ripe ones so he came back down empty handed!After all of that fun and games there is only one other thing to mention before we leave Pangane, at the time it didn't seem like such a big deal but in the following days it would become the focus of a lot of our time and energies.Paul was relaxing beside the car when he said the word "rat" which caused Kaz and I to slightly panic.He'd seen it scurry from the nearby hut up onto the front wheel of Kal.He opened the bonnet of the car and with some of the local kids tried to see if he could see it but to no avail and after making some noise we settled back down assuming it had scurried off back to it's home…………The following day were were off!!I was sad to leave our little bit of paradise on the beach but the onward journey called!!