Written on Wednesday 2 October
In front of me some of the Oasis travellers relax on hammocks gazing at the white sand beach as the sun gradually sets causing the sea to twinkle and sparkle like a thousand diamonds.
The topic of conversation centres around which beach front restaurant will be the setting for tonight’s dinner and whether the clouds will obscure the view of the sun as it dips below the horizon.
For me this is paradise, a stunning beach, blue sea and all the time in the world to do nothing but enjoy the idyllic location. If I was stuck here for a few months (or years!) I wouldn’t mind a bit. The only thing that would make this more perfect would be Andy sharing my love for this kind of beautiful location and enjoying it with me.
We were deposited in paradise two days ago amidst a rain storm that threatened to overshadow our holiday from the truck! Luckily the rain cleared shortly after we arrived, not that I was worried because within an hour I had signed up for a refresher dive and booked two dives at Mnemba Atoll – one of Zanzibar’s biggest diving attractions.
The diving was great. Our guide was very sweet, he seemed to take a liking to me but would only communicate his ‘feelings’ under water. He successfully confused me by pointing to my ring finger. I thought he was trying to tell me I’d lost a ring, quite difficult as I wasn’t wearing any. I could only respond with a quizzical shrug of the shoulders, but upon surfacing he asked if I was married. I replied honestly that I am not. Perhaps a mistake as on the next dive he pointed at himself, drew a heart shape, then pointed at me. This time I decided I definitely didn’t understand and continued with the confused looks! When we surfaced he told me I needed to learn more hand signals. On the third and final I dive I decided the best course of action was to stay near the back of the group and successfully deflected his attentions.
The underwater landscape was very beautiful. The dive at Kichuani revealed a myriad of brightly coloured fish and corals. The highlight of the last dive at Waitabomi was a turtle we found at our surface spot. Our three minute safety stop was spent looking down at the incredible creature below. Just as the time came to surface and leave the underwater world behind it somewhat clumsily moved from its resting place and glided away into the deep blue abyss.
We are staying at Nungwi on the northern tip of Unguja island (Zanzibar is made up of two islands Unguja and Pemba) which according to the Rough Guide is Zanzibar’s second most popular beach resort. Our accommodation is on the less populated eastern shore making for a more peaceful retreat than the western shore which according to the guidebook promises a more bountiful nightlife.
The peace and quiet suited me fine; there were still lots of restaurants to choose from and lots of seafood to be eaten. Plus the Oasis crew successfully celebrated Rebecca’s birthday with plenty of booze and many hangovers the following morning. I have to admit that I didn’t partake in the drinking and skulked off to bed early as I was diving the next day.
Most of the Oasis crew went snorkelling today. Louisa and I, having dived yesterday, spent the day lazing and wandering. We walked along the beach to the Mnarani Aquarium which is more a turtle conservation project than an aquarium. They take in hawksbill and green turtles that are caught by fishermen and release them back into the wild. They also rescue babies and release them in February each year – when mating season starts.
They had some adorable three day old babies who were being weighed and measured by volunteers then put into a natural pond that is fed by sea water at high tide. The babies will remain at the centre until February when they are released into the ocean.
Interesting facet: turtles are carnivorous until they reach semi maturity when they become vegetarian.
The rest of the day has been devoted to relaxing on the beach and writing. I’m now off to take some pictures of sunset. It’s a hard life….