Regarding the actual filming and editing of this program
All footage, other than that showing Taleisin sailing with both of us on board Thelma sailing, or us at Kawau Island plus 42 seconds of Galway Hookers sailing, was shot by Larry or me using Hi8 cameras. Some of the later footage of Thelma and Kawau was shot with a 3 CCD Sony camera onto MiniDV tape. All of the credit for the visual editing goes to Chris Gurr, who has edited our other DVD programs. He has won three Emmy awards for his work on TV programs about sports. (He loves small boat sailing and works with us at very special rates.) Chris worked from a generalized concept with input from us. To compile the African segment he waded through 34 hours of wild footage.
The narrative, other than that describing the vehicle we used in Africa and Tom Bloomfield’s description of Tengenenge was added after seeing Chris’ rushes. The vast majority of the narrative was indeed recorded in my sister Bonnie’s wardrobe closet where the hanging clothes dampened echoes. The sound you hear in the background when Larry and I are speaking on the shoreline of our Kawau Island home is cicadas on a beautiful summer day.
Regarding the Content
Africa – The countries we visited during our safari include South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe plus Kwazulu and the Dende District (Two politically distinct areas which are not countries but have unique status). Paradise Pools is on the Kaprivi strip in Namibia.
The people we met in the Hartsmanns valley were of the Chimba or Himba tribe.
The bushmen we spent the most time with were of the !kung. The exclaimation mark represents one of the four clicking sounds used in their language. Their homelands are around the small settlement of Tsumkwe in the eastern area of Namibia.
A large majority of the people working in Tengenenge were Shona and it was in the Dende District of Zimbabwe, a Shona homeland where Larry helped get several wells up and running.
Regarding the wells
8 hand-operated pumps brought water from 200 feet below the surface to provide for the needs of 300 families. Even during the severe seven year long drought, this was sufficient to keep some food growing. Unfortunately the foot valves at the bottom of the wells were corroding away and the pivot pins on the pumps were wearing through. The government had provided parts for each village to repair these pumps. Unfortunately they provided the whole district (an area almost 300 miles long and 200 wide) only one set of the six-foot long pipe wrenches necessary to disassemble and pull the pipes up for repair. There were no motorized vehicles available to these people, other than a bus that came through once each week. No one knew exactly where the wrenches were being kept.
Our contribution was to locate the pipes, negotiate for their loan, bribe the man who had control of them to spend time at a village far from his own, repairing wells that had no benefit to him (the bribe in the end consisted of three shirts). We then had to return to and pick him up well before dark two days later, driving on narrow roads that were well graded but presented the danger of being rammed by various types of antelope that often were attracted to headlights. Trusts village people had everything at the ready when we did arrive with the wrenches, but even then there was a battle to keep the project moving because we had broken protocol by going over the head of the local mechanic. Another shirt resolved that issue (the headman of the village advised us to make sure the visitor did not loose face so the bribe this time was a T-shirt this time, one of lesser value than the previous bribes which were shirts with collars which we had bought at a trading post for about $4.00 each). All in all a real lesson on tribal and village politics. But the delight in the eyes of the women who had over the previous weeks been walking up to eight kilometers then lining up at the only working well for up to ten hours at a time to fill their jugs, made every bit of this worthwhile.
We have been asked about security concerns and if we would consider doing this trip today. Our answer is definitely yes. There were concerns when we were in Southern Africa as sometimes horridly brutal retaliations were going on between Africaaners, ANC supporters and Zulu in the final stages of apartheid. But we discussed our plans with local business people, both black and white. In each case they gave us good advise as to how to avoid areas that presented extra risks. We stayed with Police convoys when traversing the highway between Gordon’s Town and Cape Town (a road we used for two weeks during our final outfitting of the truck and camper). When we were near major towns we stayed in guarded campgrounds. In other places in the country of South Africa we conferred with local people before camping in open areas. But once we crossed the border into Namibia we had a delightful conversation about security with the customs official, a black man who noticed my jar of wrapped candies in the camper and asked if he could have three for his three children then actually leapt for joy when I gave him a whole handful. “Where can we safely camp tonight,” I asked. “Any where you want, you are in Namibia now, this isn’t South Africa.” We took him at his word and never, during the four months we spent in his country, had a problem. The same held true in Botswana. In Harare, Zimbabwe we stayed in a hotel with a locked parking area and used taxis instead of risking problems with our truck. This proved wise as even local taxi drivers never went within six blocks of Mugube’s residence after dark fearing they would be randomly fired upon by his trigger-happy guards. Outside Harare we found no problems and only paid to be in a campground once. That was in Bulawayo, and definitely the most beautiful campground we have ever seen. It actually was the central park of the city and the dozen campers were clustered amid a botanical garden and shaded be blooming jacaranda trees.
Regarding the Brazilian sequence
Isla Grande is a day’s sail south of Rio de Janeiro . Rio definitely is a place where you have to be on alert and we recommend staying in one of the major marinas if you visit here. Niteroi on the south side of the entrance to Rio may be a better choice than right in the city. But once we sailed away from Rio we had no security concerns.
We based either at Brachuy or near Angra dos Reis where we could buy fresh food then sailed out to a wide variety of anchorages. The Barco Bar floating fish restaurant usually anchored in Pria del Dentista.
If you are sailing from South Africa don’t miss this area. To sail northward from Rio towards Europe, or towards the Caribbean it pays to wait until about March or April when the tradewinds tend to be just a bit more to the east south east. We left Rio on the port tack and stayed on port tack headed well south of east, for five days until we reached well into the tradewinds and could lay north offshore of Brazil’s bulge with our sheets slightly eased. Eight days later we lay into Fernando do Noronha where we were able to get fresh water and vegetables. From there it was an easy reach northward to the Azores.
Regarding the Irish sequence
The pub scenes were shot in Dingle, County Kerry and in Kinvarra and Carrarow in County Galway. Cian de Buitlear who is a well-known filmmaker, had just launched his own Galway Hooker, Star of the West, an exact replica of one that had been in his family in earlier times. Star of the West can be seen here with her black sails. Cian provided the overhead footage of Star of the West under full sail.
We were delighted when, about 8 months later Cian with four of the Hookers joined us in Brest, France for the festival of the sea where over 2700 wooden boats including 300 square rigged vessels came together for a wondrous festival. (The French navy actually put on a dinner for 15,000 crew who sailed these boats – roast lamb, a bottle of wine for each and every diner.) This was quite a sail for these open boats, across the Irish sea and British Channel.
We hope you enjoyed Cruising has no Limits and are inspired to set off on your own special journey.