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June 03, 2006


Andy Engel

Excellent! Your fortune is made. Collect these stories into a book in a few years, and you're our next Paul Theroux, except funny and not arrogant!


Justin R

Strother, your story brings back memories of a boat/fishing trip I chartered with some friends on the coast of Zanzibar. We thought it would be fun to pay some of the local to take us out in a dhao (sp?) and we could fish, relax and enjoy doing nothing for a change.

What our guides failed to inform us was that the four of us doubled the dhao's safe capacity, even without taking the vigorous leak into account. Why we waited until we were a half mile offshore to start asking questions about the leak remains largely a mystery: I think it was a mixture of desire to not worry about anything, the fact that we severely overpaid (so we must be getting high quality services) with a good measure general denial.

Fortunately, I had a snorkeling mask in my backpack and sinking dhao's aren't nearly as fast as the floating ones so I was able to swim alongside as we travelled. Taking my weight out of the boat seemed reduced the leak, allowed me to stop thinking about the fact that I had just spent a ridiculous amount of money to sit in a sinking boat.

I had some of the best snorkeling of my stay in east africa.

The mask also helped when the ONLY fishing hook that our guides provided got stuck on the coral reef.

We caught one small fish and laughed tremendously when we thought of what it had cost. Little did we realize that what we were paying for was not a boat ride or a fish, but one of those moments that years later seems to have taken place in a different life in a different world.

Thanks for sharing the story and hope you all are well.


P.S. Leila and I have a confession to share with you. This month we had our second daughter, and, after months of struggling, decided we liked the name Josie the best, which is short for Josephine. We hope that you tell your Josephine that we didn't want to steal her name but it was the one we liked best.

We are all doing well here in any event. Sleeping certainly less than I would like but more than I feared.

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