In-depth interview: our hostage hell


It’s Friday 22 October 2009. The trio, Bruno Pelizzari, Debbie Calitz and Peter Eldridge, leaving Dar es Salaam harbour in Tanzania are aware of the mariner’s belief that you shouldn’t begin your journey on a Friday or any date that can be divided by 11. But that’s just a superstition, right?

The first three days go smoothly. The weather is good and they take turns at the helm. By Monday they’re already nearing the border between Tanzania and Mozambique. Just before noon they change shifts.

Bruno takes a nap, skipper Peter takes the helm and Debbie sits in the sun, scanning the horizon for whales.

She sees white foam behind them in the distance. It must be a whale smacking its tail on the water. Debbie watches excitedly as the white foam quickly approaches.

It’s only when the surf is just a few hundred metres away that she realises it’s three boats approaching. On the vessels are men covered in headscarves. She remembers seeing a similar photo in a newspaper: pirates! The shock races through her body.

Read more on Alet van Zyl’s interview with Bruno and Debbie in YOU 12 July 2012.

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