Our travels throughout South Africa, Tanzania, and Zanzibar
Pongwe Beach, Zanzibar
I have been absent from the blog in the last few days, mostly because there wasn't much to say. We sadly left Chumbe Island on Wednesday and came back to the Zanzibar mainland to soak in the sun on a different beach. The morning that we left Chumbe Island it was very windy. In fact I couldn't sleep because the wind was so fierce that it felt like our hut was shaking and the waves were crashing heavily...it was so loud that it was hard to sleep, so I basically didn't. I thought there was a hurricane or something outside, but of course I was overreacting. We had to take a small boat from Chumbe Island back to the mainland. It took about 45 minutes and it was very choppy water, I had to concentrate on not losing my breakfast. Sadly that same morning, about two hours after we left, a ferry crossing the same path carrying 300 people sunk right in front of Chumbe island. Apparently half of the passengers are either dead or have not been found. We feel very sorry for the lives lost and are very happy not to have been on it, its a scary thought. For the last 2 days we have been at Pongwe Beach to end our African adventure. Again, it is white sand beaches and clear water. I'm amazed Tyler hasn't poked his eyes out yet as there's not much to do except read and play scrabble. We've definitely taken advantage of the happy hour here . There are a couple of cats that hang around the dining area... Tyler has snuck them food now and then , "accidentally" dropping food morsels. He loves his cats. Oh ya and a bird pooped on his e-reader...lol. We've had a nice time.
Chumbe Island, Tanzania
Today was pretty much like yesterday except for a few new animal adventures. On this island, in the mornings, it is low tide so the water is about 500m into the distance. So we put on our water shoes and went into the low tide (I in search of star fish). We found a lot of crabs that Tyler poked and prodded but no star fish. After our little walk, we played frisbee on the sand. Yes Tyler brought a frisbee and for all those frisbee-ers, he made me practice my fake -pivot-and flick, lol. Our world record for frisbee catches is 51...try and beat that! After about an hour the water starting coming in so we jumped in the water. The water is clear but all of the sudden a large area became very dark (I was worried it was a whale) but Tyler ended up in the middle of it, and it was actually a huge school of little fish...like thousands of fish! They tickled all around Tyler and I swear to you they were all jumping out of the water in unison, it was quite the scene. We didn't know why they were jumping out of the water, but soon figured out that it was because there was a shark!!! We ran our little hearts back to shore (even Tyler despite what he tells you). We then watched this little scene unfold before us, it was very cool to see. After all this excitement it was time for snorkeling again. This time Tyler was on the hunt for stingrays (I not so much, you know, since they can kill you). They only attack you if you go after them, so they had told us not to go near the sand they are lying in. Tyler did find one and told the guide and the guide went right up to it and poked it so we could see it swim away (apparently if you poke it from behind it can't reverse so it can't sting you). Unfortunately we found 3 more. And at one point, even with our wet suits on, masks and snorkels, I could tell what was going through his mind, he wanted to poke one too. So I immediately shook my finger no at him and gave him the "don't even think about it eyes" through my mask and crisis averted . We spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the sun and playing in the waves (Tyler played for quite some time in them). We found a spectacular look out point to watch the sunset and took some cute photos. Dinner was very nice. They set up our table in the sand right at the edge of the island, on a cliff. They had lanterns leading the path to the table, and our names written in the sand with "forever in love". It was my bachelorette moment and I tried to ask Tyler serious questions like the bachelorette would but he didn't really want to play akin (for ex where do you see us in 5 years, lol). After dinner we had one more adventure. There are crabs on the island called coconut crabs and they eat coconuts and only come out at night. So during the day, the ranger put out a coconut so that tonight we could find one. And boy did we find one...it was massive, I'm not joking, it was bigger than a soccer ball, and was blue and black, sooo creepy. That ended our lovely day at Chumbe island .
Chumbe Island, Zanzibar
Today we arrived in Paradise. We took a little boat to a very small island off the coast of Zanzibar called Chumbe Island. It is a conservation park/Eco lodge kind of deal here. They are trying to protect the coral reef around the Island and fund this project by having people stay on the island. There are only 7 bungalows here. They are 2 story wood huts (think Robinson crusoe) just off the beach. Everything is supposed to be Eco friendly so the water for the taps are from filtered rain water, and there is no flushing toilets (you go to the bathroom in a regular toilet but instead of flushing, you throw some dirt over it). The huts are only solar powered. Oh ya I forgot to mention the best part - the sand is as white as can be and the water is turquoise. Almost as soon as we got here we headed out to go snorkling, but not before we had to sign forms discussing that we understand the risks including the fact that there are sting rays and jellyfish...and just when I thought this place was perfect. Anyways we went snorkelling hazard free and saw beautiful coral but also lots of colourful fish - I didn't even know fish could be this colour - like orange and purple, turquoise and pink. I only know some of the names - parrot fish, trumpet fish, unicorn fish and my favourite the bat fish. We also saw a huge sea turtle swimming around which was the highlight. In the afternoon, we went on a forest walk to climb the lighthouse to have a view of the whole island. The rest of the time we spent lounging in the sun reading and soaking in the crystal clear water. Minutes after we got out of the water, we saw this French couple pointing to the water where we literally were just swimming. They saw a shark. So we started looking too and low and behold we found not just one but two sharks circling the area right near the shallow sand. They weren't huge sharks but small sharks maybe a metre long - we don't think they could kill you, right? does anyone know? we'll have to do more research on this issue. Dinner was candlelit on the beach and the stars were the brightest we had ever seen so we tried to pick out constellations but we didn't quite do a good job. We are going to try to research them tomorrow during the day so we can have another crack at them tomorrow night.
Day i don't know, Stonetown, Zanzibar
We are in Stone town again today. We had an interesting sleep, not lions this time though. Ninety five percent of the people here are Muslim and have to pray five times per day. What does that have to do with us? Well let me tell you. At 4:45 this am, there was a loud mans voice coming from outside our window...and I mean loud. There are huge speakers right outside our window, and every time it is time to pray, this alarm goes off (sounds like a bomb raid warning or something) and then this man gets on the speaker with the prayer so that everyone in the block can hear it and pray. It is so loud and a very startling way to get woken up. This morning we went on a spice tour. Zanzibar is also known as Spice Island, and spices, mostly cloves are its only export. We went to a spice farm and I know it sounds very boring but it was actually really interesting. Did you know that cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree? It was a very hands on tour and our guide would for example carve a piece of bark off the tree for us to smell. Nutmeg comes from the seed of a fruit, turmeric comes from a root, vanilla of course from beans. It was very cool. We also went to a fruit farm and indulged in coconuts right off the tree, mangoes, lychees, and grapefruit that were larger than our heads. We bought a bunch of spices to bring home, hint hint for our family . We then had lunch at a local Swahili ladies house. We again sat on the floor in her backyard and had a nice little home cooked meal. I saw how she was washing her dishes and we could only hope that we don't get sick later today. We spent the afternoon in the Jozani forest to find some monkeys that are only found in Zanzibar..they are Columbus monkeys that have some reddish tinged hair. Honestly, I booked this before we came and now that we've just ended a 7day safari this is pretty much the last thing we wanted to do...oops. We tried to breeze through it but the guide had to show us all the trees and pointed out ants and crabs..it was sadly a bit painful. We decided to head back to the night market to just pick up some street food for dinner. Again we hope we don't regret this in the morning. We couldn't resist though, everything looked so good. They had tonnes of different kabobs like prawn, lobster, scallops and muscles. We picked a bunch and they definitely looked better than they tasted. But don't worry we saved the meal with a a nutella and banana pizza...delicious. Nutella can save a meal
in any country! That was our night really except that a 18year old boy from Zanzibar sat with us because he wanted to practice his English which was kind of nice.