A cloudless blue sky that merges seamlessly in to the bluely green ocean that washes gently onto the blinding white sand. Dowels dance in the sun, as they head out for their night fishing. Birds in skimpy fluorescent bikinis & old hairy men in Speedo’s dip their toes into the warm water while their very own Maasai warrior dressed in traditional clothing, topped off with hot pink trendy sun glasses, stands guard against any sea urchins or local predators. After spending nine months in strict Muslim countries, I felt pretty much naked as I lay half buried in the white sand, struggling to keep the sun from turning my skin an ugly pink colour. After a week or so relaxing in the sun, slowly turning my skin from pink to brown, getting accustom to walking around bare footed, it was time to get to work.
Opening Dad’s suitcase was like discovering my very own treasure trove. On top lay a brand spanking new pair of AXO cross over boots. Under them was a cam chain, cam chain sprockets, cam chain guide, nuts and bolts and a desperately needed heli coil kit. Next came a second hand GPS, a bar of dark chocolate and hundreds of muesli bars. Then he pulled out a surprise for me from one of my avid followers, J, who has since become friends with my father. J had sent me a ton of batteries and a pack of grease monkey wipes. Perfect! It’s just what I need when you’re in the middle of nowhere trying to fix something on my bike.
A heli coil kit is a small box of stainless steel coils plus a plastic piece to drive it into the freshly cut thread. You need this when you have accidently stripped a thread while tightening up a bolt. If you remember back (Disaster On The Western Desert Highway) I was in the middle of the White Desert in Egypt when I discovered the garage in Sharm Eh Shek had stripped one bolt holding down the engine head. I didn’t trust any garage along the way to fix this problem, and it actually looked like it was holding firmly so I rode all the way to Tanzania with a rod holding down my engine head rather than a bolt just so my Dad could fix it for me. These bolts drove my Dad crazy, because every time we put the engine back together we discovered another dubious bolt! Travelling along at Island speed, we spent a few hours working on the bike, several eating lunch, back to the bike before beer o’clock! I don’t think I’ve eaten so well or drunk so much beer in ages and was starting to feel the effect around my tummy! After a week or two, Dad and I were getting incredibly frustrated with my bike. Every time we put the bike back together we found another problem, especially when it came to the electrics.
It all started with my tail light. On the Moyale to Marsabit road I snapped the wires to my tail light, and once that was fixed up, my indicator stopped working – we fixed that and in doing so, we discovered that behind my front light was a birds nest of wires all worn down to the bare wires. As we fixed them, another problem would pop up and we would have to un-wrap everything to find the dodgy wire. It was become tedious! It was a build up of years of ex-owners tampering with the wires. Some were too short, some you could wrap around the bike twice! I guess this is one of the trade offs for buying a second hand bike and not having enough time to everything I needed to do on it before I left Australia. Dad suggested when I had some time I should re-wire the whole bike again and eliminate these problems. Himmm, I thought to myself, I wonder when I’ll have the time for that?
We eventually got the bike back together and in functioning order, but I wasn’t 100% happy, there was something different about my bike – it sounded different but there was nothing we could put our finger on. So, after six relaxing weeks on the beach and poly poly (slowly slowly) motorcycle maintenance, Dad flew back home and I caught the boat back to the mainland. Thanks a lot for coming to see me Dad. I had a really nice time catching up with you, I hope you can come and visit again some time!
To see more photos of Zanzibar then click this link to get to my flickr set.