Not all those who wander are lost - but I'll be disappointed if I don't get lost frequently!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Swimming With Turtles


Today, my fourth day on Zanzibar, I roped myself a couple of sea turtles, lashed 'em together and made a raft Captain Jack Sparrow style.

Well, not quite. I did stand on a turtle though. And give another one a hug.

Hanging out with a turtle, feeding her some seaweed. while she gives Jodie a slap across the face. Thanks Ed, I think you took this great pic!

I was pretty excited about swimming with the turtles, and hopped straight into my swimmers when I woke up in the morning. Those heading off to play with the turtles were easily identifiable at breakfast (the girls, anyway). We were the ones not wearing much over the top of our bikinis or onesies, maybe some short shorts or a sarong around the waist. After a quick breakfast, we followed our Zanzibarian guide out the front of the hotel to hop into vans waiting to take us to the aquarium.

Except there weren't any vans.

On into the village we went, and we kept walking, and walking and walking. Wearing nothing. Not nothing, really, not by Western standards. But in small village, incredibly Muslim and conservative Zanzibar, we were pretty much naked. As we walked, I discreetly unfolded my sarong so that it fell full length past my knees, doing my best to be sensitive to the local culture.

We were rewarded for the long walk when we arrived at the aquarium, which is a natural tidal rock pool, and a great setting to swim with the turtles. Ten turtles live in the aquarium, with the largest apparently 29 years old.

The water wasn't overly deep, and you could walk around the pool with your head above the water quite comfortably. But after realising that we were stirring up all the silt on the bottom of the pool, and a few of us accidentally standing on turtles, keeping our feet off the bottom seemed a safer option. Some (who shall remain nameless), refused to come off the rocks in case they stepped on a scary turtle.

It was quite relaxing, floating around the rock pool, feeding the turtles bright green seaweed. In our enthusiasm to tempt the turtles closer, the pool was soon covered in the seaweed. Patting, hugging and posing with the turtles was a great experience.

The time seemed to fly by.

I wasn't looking forward to the walk back to Paradise at all. It was a reasonable distance, quite doable, if you aren't wearing wet swimmers without shorts. Chafing central, here I come!

Thankfully, I was spared the chafing when vans arrived to take us back. Yes!

With nothing planned for the afternoon, myself, Susanna and Clare tried to find an internet cafe to send emails back home. At the first place we tried, there wasn't anyone there manning the shop. It was about lunch time, so we waited for a bit in case they had gone off to get some lunch.

Nope, no luck.

The next place we tried was open, but there was a power outage so the computers couldn't be used. TIA.

Foiled in our attempts to contact the outside world, we retreated back to the beach front and found a restaurant for lunch, just as the heavens opened up for the afternoon downpour. Being on an island, I decided to have some seafood, and chose a shrimp pasta off the menu. Yum. Eating seafood when on an island is definitely the best way to go.

My afternoon went extremely well. I had a nap. A lovely, leisurely afternoon nap. Waking just in time for dinner, and a skype session home at an internet cafe that was both open and had power! Shock horror!

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