Friday, January 18, 2008

Diving Nungwi with East Africa Dive Co


Ah yes

At Nungwi, a chap directs me down to Jambo Brothers, but they don’t have any singles, I leave my bag with them and wander about until I find a place called Safina Bungalows, where I get an acceptable en-suite room for 15,000s, about 6 pounds, per night.

Safina Bungalows

I walk back along the beach to collect my main pack. Most of the places along here have raised walkway or seating bits over the sand, these double up as protection from the sun, which is sorely needed – it’s intense here.

Sun protection

East Africa Dive Company was recommended to me in Tofo, and they seem like a friendly bunch.

Grace supervises me filling out the forms and laughs at the photo on my Advanced PADI card with Yasmin, a very hot Kenyan divemaster here.

The beach is a bit special, this is right in front of the dive centre:

It would seem the majority of the islanders are Liverpool supporters, based on flags posters and stickers. Furthermore, the majority are employed as photocopiers, if one goes by the number of secretarial service venues in Zanzibar town. A fair few people though are dressed in tribal “Masai” dress. In town I thought this was just a touristy thing, but now I’ve seen them out in the villages, I’m beginning to suspect they may really be wearing this gear for real. They also have rather impressive knives strung round their waist.

Taking time out from the Heineken Cup

In the bar as the sun sets and I read The Importance of Being Earnest (marvellous by the way), I try a Safari Beer. Not impressed to be honest. Stronger in terms of alcohol and yet not much in terms of flavour. I switch back to Kilimanjaru for the next round. These resorts are made for sunsets, looking, well I thought east, but that can’t be the case. My bearings clearly need examining, as my resort must face west.

Dinner next door at the Z Hotel, presumably a W Hotel rip-off, but it’s still very nice. I have a wrap with chips for a mean 10,000s for the wrap plus 3,000 for the accompanying beer.

I would say you pay for the nice surroundings, but I was sandwiched between a group of American college students and a South African couple (mixed race though, hurrah!)! Oh well..

Back Underwater
It’s Revolution Day today, a Zanzibari holiday.

Over at East Africa Dive Company, we assemble gear. Two boats are going out, and unfortunately I end up on the one that doesn’t have the very pretty Kenyan dive instructor. Next dive perhaps!

Dive: Shane’s, Nungwi, Zanzibar
Anyway, we head out to a site called Shane’s with the German owner of EADC, Michel, a bunch of German divers and my buddy, a Scottish chap called Alan. We’ve got steel tanks and I’m wearing a short wetsuit so I’ve only got 4kg on my weight belt, but it’s more than sufficient.

Down below we find a strong current which we swim against. There are periodically humps of rock covered with coral, along with a busy floor. Despite the current I really enjoy the dive because of the fantastic variety of sea life we see, including some quite unusual creatures, like a purple Leaf Fish, floating on a rock looking just like a leaf, a Giant Reef Ray sitting underneath an overhang, with a tail that you certainly wouldn’t want too close to you, other rays and pufferfish, a tiny cow fish with two small horns, some stone fish including a red-coloured one, scorpionfish including a Mauritian variety, lobsters, shrimps, and as we ascent, we see a Sepia, like a giant squid, scoot along below us.

Dive: Hunga, Nungwi, Zanzibar
Second dive site is not far away, but we need a surface interval to give us sufficient time to dive the second time without experiencing decompression problems. Again a strong current, but this time not so consistent, and somehow I find it harder to swim against. The visibility is also much worse than the first dive. Plenty of small reef fish on this dive, and some of the same as the previous dive. Strangely the others seem to enjoy this dive more than the first one. Each to his own!

Back to the shore, and the tide has gone right out, so the boats can only get within about 30 metres of the beach.


We need to wade back with our equipment, the only issue being the rocks below are dotted with sea urchins!! Thankfully they bring out a bag of wetsuit booties to wear, but we still tread carefully back to the beach. Alan and I head over to the adjacent café for a tuna mayo sandwich and a couple of Serengeti beers for lunch, whilst admiring the view.

I find internet at Galaxy Café, just beyond the football pitch and supermarkets, it’s 800 bucks per half hour, and is very slow. But they have AC, so all is forgiven.


Why sponsor Poor Tourism? Am I missing the point?

Later I end up eating at the Fat Fish restaurant, as they are showing Middlesborough Liverpool, or rather they showed two thirds of it until the signal packed up.

Anyway, I tried a Biriyani, which was tasty, except I did note a ridiculous number of cloves in it, perhaps because this island is the home of the things.

Another wonderful sunset enjoyed alone. Sob.

Incidentally, studying the map of Mt Kenya, and her approaches, I notice that there is a Tilman Peak just before Pt Lenana (4985m), the one I hope to scale. This of course warrants further research – I presume it is named after HW Tilman but who was responsible for the naming?

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