As a scientist, the concept of magic in the real world seems like a load of rubbish, but there are some things that can only be described as magical. One of these is to swim with a Whale Shark.
Entries in blog (2)
I came to Tanzania six weeks ago to join Frontier as the Dive Officer on Mafia Island. Having never been to Africa before my mind was quick to wander around what it would be like and I am pleased to say that I am very happy to be spending the next year in this little spot of paradise.
When I arrived on Mafia it was pouring with rain. This doesn't happen often, I was assured and can now agree. The small plane which delivers us all here landed in complete cloud, shrouding the island so I couldn't get a good vision of it. I turned up on camp drenched and surprisingly cold but was warmly welcomed by a new family of people excited to see me. Since that day I have been able to partake in many adventures I am pleased to call new everyday activities and skills.
A huge highlight has been a recent trip to see the elusive hippos which live on the island. Hippos are without a doubt my favourite land animal so being able to climb a tree and peer out into a lagoon to spot them thrashing around is a life highlight for me. I cant wait to go hangout with them again and have dreams of convincing everyone that we should get one as a pet. Unfortunately everyone else has read about how dangerous they are so its going to take some convincing. I have a year.
I have found my new favourite way to travel here. It starts with a piki piki (motorbike) ride of which I am mastering the delicate art of side saddle in a full length skirt. This is a great way to see the countryside between our village of Utende and Kilindoni, the biggest village on the island. I have decided the best time to do this trip is sunrise, the way the light changes the sky and the landscape is magic. Next comes what I affectionately call the ‘People Smuggler’. The boat to the mainland, named so partly from appearance and partly from the ability to include so many people it blows my spacial awareness to smithereens. I like this boat trip, Ive done it a few times now and I enjoy knowing that even though I must wake up early, once I am on the boat it will be completely acceptable to fall asleep on the shoulder of a stranger or holding someones kids for them.
Once we reach the mainland its into a daladala (bus) which is another spacial awareness masterpiece. My favourite trip involved sitting at the feet of a woman who is from Mafia and as it happens her husband is from near where I grew up in New Zealand so I am excited to be able to go visit new friends on the north of the island.
Its been great adding another location to my diving. East Africa has a lot of fish and species that I hadn't seen yet and with our survey set I am becoming far better than I ever imagined at naming them all. Largely due to efforts of my wonderful workmates. Huge moray eels, titan trigger fish that don't want to sample you and stunning corals are all highlights of mine. I am very pleased that Ive been able to join in on this adventure for the next year and cant wait to see the possibilities it brings.
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