Monday, 31 October 2011

Honeymoon Pt 6 - Zanzibar, Ras Nungwi Part 3

So, as much as we did enjoy staying more local and diving for just a half day we decided, however, book to go to Mnemba the next day as it was supposed to be one of the amazing places to dive around there with a high chance of seeing dolphins (STILL at the top of my must see list!), turtles, sharks and other large species.  It was another hour trip each way which we prepared for by taking the anti-sickness pills the night before and morning of this time!

Unfortunately the day already started off badly when I was struggling to get into my dry wetsuit (it can be difficult at the best of times!) in front of everyone waiting to go on the big trip that day - divers and snorkelers, as well as other guests on the beach.  I went round the corner for a bit more privacy and to wet my suit in the cold shower.  This usually makes it easier but I was really struggling with my acrylic wedding nails still on!  I ended up with grazed knuckles trying to pull it up and to add insult to injury, one of the snorkel guides came over and looked at my label saying is it small, I said no it's large it's just too dry and he said "Oh large, you are fat, you are fat woman, ha ha ha" laughing while walking back to the equipment!  Now I am by no means skinny, but I really don't think I deserve to be called fat, to my face, on my honeymoon, by anyone!  Especially as I was actually feeling quite good about myself for getting back to more of a 12/14 than a 14/16 before the wedding due to all the stress!  (I didn't actually try to do this, it was just a welcome side effect of being so busy and stressed in the last few weeks!)

Then, in spite of being prepared this time wearing our wetsuits and taking only what we needed for diving with us to the boat, we still struggled as we didn't have any foot protection as the fins they provide are the type which leave you bare foot when you remove them (we didn't have our own fins which are the type you can wear with dive boots).  The water was so churned up and milky so we had to walk across the rocky bottom blind (it wasn't sandy like the other side of the island and the boat was much further out).  I ended up cutting my foot so badly I was in tears on the boat (and it was dripping blood!)  A very nice French snorkeler gave me some water and anti-bacterial liquid to clean it and I still managed to dive despite the stinging.

The dives were good as it was just us two with Andy again since the other divers weren't as experienced as us so went with a different guide.  We didn't see anything amazing, no big stuff unfortunately despite going a bit deeper, but that is all about luck and being in the right place at the right time.  We did see some very interesting behaviour we hadn't seen before - the butterfly fish who usually swim away from us were coming very close - it was only then I realised they were eating the eggs off the reef which had been laid by the Sergeant Major fish who were being scared away by us!  The butterfly fish had cottoned on to this and weren't being attacked by the Sergeant Majors while we were around so they stuck close to us and then feasted!

Butterfly-Fish eating Sgt. Majors' eggs

Butterfly-Fish eating Sgt. Majors' eggs


Peppered Moray

Peppered Moray

Peppered Moray gunning for me!

I try very hard not to affect the reef when diving and never touch anything but bare rock or sand and even then with only one finger, as I have been taught, to steady myself when taking pictures.  I felt a bit bad about having unwittingly assisting baby eating(!) when I realised and asked Andy about it on the surface.  He said that is what was happening but that there were so many Sergeant Majors lately and the amount of eggs on the reef were huge so it would do some good to even up the balance.  :S  oops.

During the surface interval I was feeling great for about 5 minutes and thought I'd beat the sickness until I suddenly felt ill again and got back in the water - too late AGAIN!  I stayed in the water for the remaining hour while everyone else ate lunch but Andy stayed in the water with me after we swapped boats as the snorkelers were going to a more sheltered spot which was too shallow for diving.  He was then fully geared up for the next dive so I got Nik to pass my stuff down to the water for me to kit up there rather than get back on the rocky boat!

Our 2nd dive was a shallower one so we ended up having a 70 minute dive!  We found a great little group of corals on the bottom FULL of eels and lots of reef fish so I got loads of picture practice but was starting to get a bit cold by the end and we still didn't see anything new.

Moray Eel gunning for me! 
Eye of a Scorpionfish

Another Peppered Moray

Always wanted to get a picture of this wee fish with it's shiny green eyes but they are usually too quick!

Peppered Moray between a Sea-Star's arms.

Close-up of his wee blood shot eye!
Anemone-fish - One of my favourite subjects



Inner Space (abstract of the inside of a clam)

During our hour trip back to the resort I ate my packed lunch (I always feel better when the boat is moving).  Unfortunately the day ended as badly as it had begun as when I jumped off the boat in the high tide to swim back to the dive centre.  I timed it badly (I couldn't see the waves as the boat was side on to the beach) and the boat was hit by a wave just as I jumped in and the boat and wave came right over me!  Luckily it didn't hit me hard, just pushed me and submerged me and I came up coughing and spluttering!  By the time I got back to shore, I was limping, freezing, half drowned, knackered from fighting the tide to get back to shore and just not happy!  Needless to say we both decided that we'd had enough diving for this holiday and spent the remaining days at Ras Nungwi relaxing.  It just wasn't worth the disappointment or the effort, not to mention that it's not exactly sexy to be throwing up every day on honeymoon with my new husband!

We had planned to do 6 days diving and only did 3.  It wasn't worth the expense and annoying little things compared to the quality of the dives we were experiencing.  It might have been different if we were seeing dolphins or turtles or if the weather less choppy and the visibility had been a bit better.  Although we couldn't fault the staff (who did also give us $70 off our final bill to make up for our lack of lunch on the first day - although I think they gave us so much off as they maybe realised we'd not had an amazing time and I'd cut my foot, etc.).

Although the dive staff were all helpful and friendly (with the exception of the insulting snorkel guide) and we did have some fun amongst all the not so fun bits, a few small things at the dive centre would have made a huge difference to our enjoyment of our diving days.  If they had a jetty so you could just walk to and from the boat therefore staying warm and dry and avoiding any injuries when walking through the sea or jumping out of the boat when you can't see the bottom or predict the waves.  Even providing dive boots to give added protection when walking to and from the boat would have helped.  We also thought the prices were pretty steep given the quality of the dives available  Although we might have just been really unlucky not to see anything amazing, the reefs aren't particularly special compared to other places in the world and we paid less to dive in the Maldives!!  The organisation could have been a little slicker - we spent a long time waiting once on the boat on the 3rd day as there had been a miscommunication with the kitchen and some lunches were missing (at least they realised before we left so we didn't have to go hungry again!)  We also spent a lot of wasted time waiting and hanging around when we had gone to the other dive centre on the island with either nowhere to get a drink or anyone to tell us where we could get one or what was happening.  If they'd had a working speedboat (apparently one was in use elsewhere and the other was getting fixed) we could have gotten to further away places in 15 minutes instead of 1 hour saving a lot of time we could have spent on beach and possibly avoiding some of my sea sickness.  It has all made me realise we have been really spoiled where we have dived before, even in Jeddah where there are no staff to help, I had a more enjoyable time.  Over all, we preferred just staying at the resort, which is not like us, even on honeymoon!


anna and the ring said...

Apart from the idiot. I was thinking you were going to say a moray eel had bitten you or a dolphin has stolen your wedding ring or something completely horrific.

I'm sorry it wasn't perfect but is anything?

Bex said...

Oh no, nothing as bad as that, thank god! Just had really bad luck when not on a dive - cutting my foot, throwing up, being exhausted and nearly drowning - just not what I imagined for our honeymoon. I suppose it is a bit of a moany post but it made us realise how lucky we had been where we've been diving before :)

anna and the ring said...

Crumbs - wasn't try to belittle the suckiness. I was just trying to put a positive spin on them.

Bother I failed!

Bex said...

No, you're right! We did enjoy the dives while we were down there and I should just be grateful that I am lucky enough to go there and do these things and as you say, it could have been worse! Have you seen those Eel teeth!?!


Julian Booth said...

What a nice post about what sounds like the most amazing getaway imaginable! I would loved see that all the images in one personalized photo books. Keep sharing & waiting for your new blogs.

thanks a lot for sharing
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