Skubies Blog 2022

I think there is a song that goes something like: 'This time we almost made it didn't we? 'Well that kind of summarises our time in Tanzania. The only animals we saved while away were cats! Wild domestic, not wild Leo type. More of that later.

We left France mid August with optimism and energy for Zanzibar to meet our new plane, a Savannah “S”, 6 hours endurance (well beyond our bladders!), and renew Chuck's pilot licence. Well part one happened. Ferdie, our co- conspirator in flying, a great mate from Sth Africa, ferried our aircraft to Zanzibar by week 2. We took the photo and went for a drink.

That was the last of the good news, unfortunately...

I can not bear to detail the nausea of waiting for everything to happen after that, but will give you a quick summary.

Our new plane needed a clearance to fly, which as a new plane, should have been a no 'brainer'. We waited 3 weeks for the inspectors to come and another 3 weeks to get the piece of paper...the Certificate of Airworthiness. Signatures take a lot of time in this part of the world! It was now week 8! At this stage I changed our flights to give us extra time to fly here in Tanzania and actually do some work.

To Chuck's surprise, he found out that he had to do an Air Law exam and 6 hours of flying with an instructor...almost 3,000 hours of previous flying just did not count. This was the first he had heard of it and as a result started the process late. He had almost finished when the powers to be added an extra requirement, in retrospect, that basically put the licence out of our reach for now. It was now week 13. That is where we are now. Still in Zanzibar on forced holiday. One week to go and no solution in the near future.

BUT we did not sit around and moan for 10 weeks... we did Ngorongoro Crater and the Great Migration of Wildebeest in the Serengeti; swam with dolphins twice; renewed my Advanced Divers certificate and did 6 dives; snorkelled for a week from a bungalow right on the beach and generally had a great time while continually worrying about the job at hand. Yeah! Tough...even though the expense was not we had planned for. But hey, you only live once.

Two brothers in the Serengeti

 On the cat front, with so much time in Zanzibar, and desperate to do something worthwhile, we sponsored a foundation for homeless cats - Simba (lion) Cats. I worked with 2 guys, Simba (yeah that's his name) and Kabongo, who were trying to feed numerous cats from their own pockets after selling paintings. You can not buy this sort of compassion. We produced posters and fliers which I put around town at places I knew. We bought them a cat basket, long leather gloves (street cats can be mean critters!) dry and wet food,

several sterilisation vouchers, anti-biotics for eyes and cuts and spoke to the tourists on their behalf. I am proud to say that they have really taken it on and are now handling the 10 cats and the 8 kittens like pro's. I was worried that when I left it would all disintegrate, but by chance, I was able to gain them free entry into a large animal clinic. They have already taken 3 of our cats there for treatment.

So with hope in our hearts and a fools optimism we will leave our bungalow on the beach in the South of Zanzibar and go home next week with a promise to return as soon as possible next year. Early June is the plan Sam!