March 22nd, 2013

Nemo

Zanzibar Day 3: Prison Island Tour / Snorkeling

Originally published at Rodney's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Today I went to visit the Prison Island in Zanzibar which was actually never used as a prison. It was intended to be used as a prison (those British and the ‘lock the miscreants away on an islan” approach), but instead was used as a quarantine location when certain diseases broke out in Zanzibar. But today it is home to a cool turtle population and really expensive bungalow hotels :)

Anyway, my tour began with looking at the turtles, some of which were 130 years old. The turtles were in mating season, but took time away from their frivolity to be social with us :)  I even got to hold a baby turtle which was very cute. And a couple of curious birds came by as well.

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After visiting the turtles, I took a walk around the island and did some snorkeling off the coast of the Island. They fish weren’t very big, but they were really curious and didn’t hesitate to come close enough to touch. It’s moments like this when I wish I had bought an underwater camera or had found some way to make my camera waterproof if only for a few minutes :) But anyway I got in some swimming and snorkeling, and we stopped our boat to talk to some fisherman who make their living getting fish for Darjani market. I learned that they often go our far into the sea, spend the night at sea, and come back the next day — in what basically amounts to a sailboat!

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Overall it was a great day, but I was wiped for the day. It was about 4 hours for the whole experience and I didn’t start until 10.00 so there was no afternoon event. Instead I walked around the souvenir shops, settled down at Africa House for a few drinks, wrote some post cards, and then found a place for dinner and had an early night. There isn’t really a nightlife culture in Zanzibar like you find in other cities, so no late nights here! But that is part of the charm actually. I enjoyed my final sunlight moments on my private sundeck having a couple of more drinks :)

Tomorrow, Safari Blue!

Scream EV

Zanzibar Day 4: Safari Blue

Originally published at Rodney's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Today’s adventure was to participate in the Safari Blue experience. The concept is that you get to go out in Dhow Boats and look for dolphins, do some great snorkeling, and then go for lunch at their private beach. At $65 per head with food and soft drinks (and beer), equipment, and all other things included, it’s a great deal! The owner of Safari was pretty cool too! When I called her, I told her that I didn’t know how to get to the Safari Blue location, so she let me ride on the supply truck to the Safari Blue launch location (provided I got myself from Stone Town to the Chinese Embassy). Very nice of here and riding on the back of the supply truck I met up with another American and we made friends with the staff.

After getting to our dhow boat, I met up with a group of South Africans who I have to say were pretty welcoming and awesome to hang out with. They were staying along the beach at a resort up north. They couldn’t have been nicer people to hang out with :)

On our way to our first snorkeling site we saw dolphins! It turns out that they are remarkably hard to photograph on a rocking boat. So you have to keep an eye out for them. I was lucky enough to get a bit of picture!

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After watching dolphins for a bit of time, we reached our snorkeling destination where we saw awesome fish and coral reef wildlife. We snorkeled off the coast of a sandbank that we swam towards and stopped for a few soft drinks and recovery. These little sandbanks are everywhere in the Zanzibar Archipelago and not only do they look fantastically inviting, but you swim in clear blue water against white sandy beaches! Simply amazing :)

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After our short stop, we went further afield for more snorkeling and to a place called Pirates Cove. It was a really scenic location dotted by awesome little islands and trees and vegetation of all kinds. I didn’t get out of the dhow to take more pictures because of the coral reef bottom and the fact that I damaged my foot on the kili climb (didn’t wanna make it worse), but I took some cool pics anyway.

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We then went to the Safari Blue Island where we had lunch, listed to a band playing traditional music, and just relaxed for a couple of hours before sailing back to our launch point. At the island was also some really old awesome climbable trees and I couldn’t resist the urge to go climbing a bit :)

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It was a great day and I was wiped out again. And my foot I have to say is damaged enough that I won’t be able to do the dolphin safari that I had wanted to do. So instead I will have to figure out a new adventure for my final day in Zanzibar. Ah well, such is life :)