13 October 2011 | Anjouan, Comoros Islands
The name is Paddy king from London Heathrow, the latest edition to the bubbles crew. A globe trotter with a Himalayan summit (kalapathar) , an Everest base camp trek, and 4 years living in the Balearics to my name. Plenty of European travel and many a mad story from London town to bring to the table but all that said and done nothing could prepare me for the thousand adventures I have experienced in just 10 days since I joined skipper Alex, Kirk, and Christine on board his floating castle of wonders. A vessel so inspirational that even just to board her is a pleasure and a hundred tale. One example, which is what I consider the best day of me life is swimming alongside a turtle as big as me whilst looking into each others eyes. A true connection we had.
My update for you is from the Comoros islands…
Arriving at the port was a unique experience, everyone staring at us like we had arrived from another planet. It later transpired that we were the only sailing boat to enter the port for four years so the hype was understandable.
Our check in consisted of bribing customs with booze, being questioned as if we were criminals which included being separated and taken into a warehouse where we were asked over and over again why were here and who we were with, and walking through a port that resembled an industrial lego land with a maze of stacked containers of different colors separating us and Bubbles from the town.
And as the only mazungus (the local term for white folk) we got to know of the other five white faces on the island of 300,000 pretty quickly and received stares everywhere we went. The local language is a mix of arabic, Swahili, Malagasy but French is also used. The street corridors are quite narrow where in places you can barely pass the other person. Some of the local ladies did our laundry but it came back dirtier than we had given it to them with a foul smell from the polluted trash filled river it was washed in.
Driving around with new friend Makate we see incredible views, everything green, an epic waterfall, lang lang distillery, sultans abandonded palace which has now been turned into a rave venue. The contrast from the spectacular natural beauty of the island to the trash filled human populated area was striking.
We are then unable to buy fuel because the Comoros banks don’t think that money is essential to their trade and have run out! That wouldn’t cut the mustard in London. We then had to trade dvds and magazines for things we needed.
And now a poem to add to the memory ..
In a place of such beauty as the Comoros had,
So full of green wonders and the jungles are mad,
The waterfall heaven and the drive through the mist,
And the customs are sweet but you must get them pissed,
The towns are quite littered and the banks are a joke,
And we’re never quite sure of the language they spoke,
But the landscape is stunning and fit for a king,
And it left us inspired I would not change a thing.