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Kariba--a little Nostalgia ... Part IV Tiger Bay anecdotes.

In the early 1980s, along with Frik and Sue Maas, we surveyed an idyllic site on the western shoreline of the Ume River, Lake Kariba and designed and built Tiger Bay Resort, opening for New Years of 1982 (covered in Vol.25 No.2).

As one could imagine, boating blunders stories were common and some bear repeating here.

That well-known early boat operator based in Andora, Guy de Bary, whose boat En Avant was for many years commonly seen cautiously hugging the Kariba shoreline, no further from Andora than an hour or two, suddenly became emboldened enough to convey a well-known General and his party up the Ume River.

One of our great friends, No-name-no-pack-drill, decided after a liquid lunch to serenade En Avant as she proceeded sedately back past Tiger Bay by whizzing round and round her at close quarters and high speed in his potent little 'Puddle Jumper'. What he didn't realise was that the General was seriously trolling for tiger behind Guy's boat, and with each orbit our friend was winding more and more of the General's line around the Puddle Jumper's propeller. Only when his outboard motor ground to a halt through fishing line friction did our friend realise what he was doing, and was told off in no uncertain terms by an extremely irate skipper and his esteemed angry guest in language not suitable for publication in a family magazine.

Then there was the little family, Dad built like a Blue Bulls lock, Mum a petite Scottish lass, and their daughter of about twelve. Dad came for the fishing, Mum and daughter for relaxation. I had to take Dad morning tea and a packed breakfast not a minute after 5am daily, and he would disappear for several hours in his boat, invariably returning with a keep-net full of good bream, which we had to fillet and freeze for him to take home.

On their way back to Kariba on one occasion, with the Ume basin at its most fractious, they ploughed slowly on for a while, until the skipper decided to tie up to a tree and wait until the waves abated. Approaching the selected tree with caution, wifey was given the unenviable task of roping it. With the boat plunging up and down a couple of metres, the skipper soon realised she was in real danger of being severely hurt, so he changed positions with his relieved missus.

Perched precariously on the prow with rope in hand and when he judged the time was ripe, the skipper abandoned ship and leapt into the fork of the tree. As he came to roost he dropped the rope just as the boat's motor cut. He watched in horror as his boat and family started drifting away rapidly in the strong wind.

Unperturbed, wifey gave the starter numerous long whirls, but without success. It suddenly dawned on Dad in his eyrie that the first caddy tank had probably run dry, and she should change it. By this time, however, the battery was flat, and distance and wind made voice communication unsatisfactory, despite Dad's desperate voice rising in pitch with each metre of separation, turning his face purple, flustering his wife, and making his young daughter cry. If they had heard him, some of the language he used would have made them happy to leave him in his tree, possibly for ever.

The last Mum and daughter saw of husband and father in the distance he was tying knots in the four corners of his handkerchief for a make-shift hat to give his balding pate some protection from the burning midday sun, still perching precariously amongst leafless branches. Hours later another boat eventually found Mum and Daughter drifting, sorted their problems, and the family became somewhat frostily re-united.

Not his real name, but one balmy, windless Sunday morning "Godfrey" decided his 18-foot cabin cruiser needed a good wash in lake water. He tootled gently out of the harbour and headed out for a few hundred metres. Keeping the motor running at idle to get the benefit of a cooling breeze, wearing only a cozzie, he ducked into the cabin and came out with bucket and mop. Leaning over the side to fill his bucket, he started cleaning his motor and transom, whistling happily while gradually working his way forward.

Up on the narrow deck around the cabin, Godfrey continued leaning far down to fill his bucket.

But inadvertently stepping on a wet patch, he suddenly found himself man overboard. Thinking clearly--he had been a fighter pilot in the Second World War--he instantly decided not to chase his boat and possibly exhaust himself whilst probably failing to reach it, so he trod water as his pride and joy took its leave of him.

Slowly, ever so slowly, it gradually completed a full circle and came heading obediently back to him. As he told astonished friends in the pub later, he only just had enough strength left by then to grab the transom ladder as it came abreast and haul himself gratefully back on board.

There's a good reason to never boat alone, even in the calmest weather.

David Scott was born a Wedza farm boy, with a father who understood and loved wild places feelings which he luckily passed on to David, and by the time David was seven or eight years old, his father had taught him to fish and shoot. Schooled at Ruzawi and Bishops, he went into farming and was twice runner-up tobacco grower of the year in the 1970's.

Among other things, he was involved in the design and building of Tiger Bay Resort at Kariba andMagaruque Island off the Mozambique coast. Now the Administrator of an Harare Care Home, David has published several books --Twenty When?--which reconciles evolution with the story in Genesis, and Rhinos' Revenge which tells of the rhino's plight in Africa and their retribution.
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Title Annotation:The Way it Was
Author:Scott, David
Publication:African Fisherman
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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