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Meeting  Mafia

After almost 100 hours of travelling which included four countries, two cancelled flights and an unexpected two-day stop in Addis Ababa, I’d already had my fair share of adventure before even setting foot on Mafia Island.

Once my feet were firmly on solid ground, I was greeted by Dan. What a kooky guy! He has a beard and a big smile, and he also likes eels. We didn’t talk much on the ride to camp. He took me to the beach for a cocktail. One thing lead to another and I’m in love…. with Mafia.

The gripping part of Mafia is, ironically, not actually on Mafia Island. Mafia is surrounded by half a dozen diverse dive sites. They host everything from schools of squirrel fish to lone giant reef rays. My favourite dive site so far has been one called Kinasi Pass. This drift dive allows you to lean back, relax, and let the current take you back into the bay. All the dive sites are drastically different and host their own niche of unique marine fauna.

There’s still more to look forward too! I’ve yet to encounter one of these illusive sea horse people are going on about. But let me tell you what I have seen; surgeons, cardinals, gobies, damsel fish, hermit crabs, sweetlips, angelfish, and triggerfish.  

Since being here, I’ve enjoyed the difference between learning about the species for the test compared to actually seeing them in the water. It’s a lot easier to memorize the fish when you actually get to interact with them and see them in their natural habitat.

Compared to life back home in Australia, everyone is much more friendly. The locals are all very keen to teach us Swahili, and I’m met with a big smile and greeting from everyone I pass in the village. I’ve also learnt so much about the culture here, which again is very different. However, the biggest difference between life in Tanzania and Australia has to be the lack of kangaroos ;)

Well that’s all the time I’ve got this week folks! But what a roller-coaster ride it’s been. Until next time...

By Stuart Ross - Tanzania Marine Conservation Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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