Another beautiful morning in paradise.
You can’t talk to divers over here for very long without the mention of Mnemba Atoll. Mnemba island is small, with a circumference of just 1.5km and lies just off the North West coast of Unguja (the largest island of Zanzibar).
Sadly I don’t have a spare $1,500 lying about to stay the night, so hopes of lounging about on deserted white sand beaches, with lapping emerald blue waters and hanging green palms were quickly forgotten. Therefore the closest we could get – 200m away, or face being chased away by locals on speedboats. Not to worry, the best place to be here – underwater.
With promises of 600 species of fish, 3 species of dolphin and deep coral walls I was rather excited to be tropical diving again. After 4 months of just teaching in the pool and Wraysbury (cold, inland lake water of England!) I feel I am overdue some ‘pretty’ diving.
The boat ride across to the atoll took about 90 minutes. 90 minutes of sat in the morning sun, no shade. I was covered in factor 40 waterproof sunblock (hmmm).
The first dive was on a sloping wall. The divemaster in charge agreed that I could just go off and do my own thing as long as I kept the group in sight – perfect! So I just went to find and photograph cool stuff without people landing on my head and silting up near me!
The reefs were beautiful – lots of colourful corals and fish. As pretty as it all was, it was just ‘a nice reef’. There was nothing spectacular about it. I think I have just been spoiled by diving in such amazing places. But there were: large schools of fusiliers, goat fish, a massive 1m long grouper, white moray, huge puffer, trumpet fish, angel fish, anemone fish….I love nudibranches – they’re quite rare around here. Although I did manage to find a couple hanging out in some rubble.
After a great lunch (they’re always so good on dive boats), dive number 2. This one was just a reef that started at 15m deep. Again, it was very pretty and aquarium-esk, although nothing new (dolphins would have been nice!), it was good to be back diving again!
On the boat ride back, the guys cut up pineapples, green coconuts to drink and other coconuts to eat! Amazing!
Although, despite the factor 40 waterproof sunblock, I have sunburn 😦