Well three days off in a sleepy island town can do wonders for the body & brain. Jambiani, on the east side of Unguja (the largest island that makes up Zanzibar) is the absolute definition of "sleepy tille town".
We spent our thee days off on the beach, snokelling, napping, taking picutres and eating. After the running around of the last month it was a much needed break. Yesterday's dives were the two best I've ever had.
We met the dive tender up the beach in Paje, geared up and took a long, slow ride out to the outer side of the reef that spans about 15km of the south east coast. The first dive was kind of a mind trip as there is nothing between Zanzibar and India except thousands of kilometres of Indian Ocean. In front of me was the coral reef and all the marine life you could imagine - including a small reef shark - and behind... big, dark and empty farther than you could imagine. Dive two was inside the reef where the water was a little less clear but the bottom time was almost endless. Amongst other things like moray eels, bat fish & parrot fish, we hovered over hundreds - well maybe a hundred - blue spotted stingrays. In all I got about 75 minutes under water over the two dives, a long surface interval and averaged about 19 metres depth. And to top it all off, was warm enough that I only needed a shorty wetsuit, not a full length one.
The rest of the day was spent wandering through town. In Jambiani we met a really cool local guy who calls himself Captain Cook. He walked up to us and asked how long we were in town, who we were and finally got around to hitting us up for some business. His business is his own tiny restaurant. Owned, run and maintained by himself complete with handwritten menu - which he showed us we walked & talked. We agreed to go check it out and decided that we'd come back for supper. Equinoxe - the restaurant - is an exercise in culinary minimalism. It has no floor save for the sand on the ground, no walls taller than about three feet, a thatched roof set on poles, one table and a kitchen who's only cooking appliance is an open fire. Naturally we were all over this. The food was incredible. Coconut crusted tuna, rice, a mixed carrot & onion salad and cold beer. Food should always be this fresh & this good. His guest book has pages of raving customers, all of whom he basically hustled off the beach like us and agreed to go in and take a chance on a guy who's trying to make his way on his own terms. The bill- drinks included - came to under 7,000Tsh each; about $6:50 Canadian. Turns out this young guy - 26 years old - grew up in Jamibiani, scraped enough money together to get to South Africa to apprentice as a chef, came home to his little island town and went his own way. If anybody you know ever gets to Zanzibar, send them to Equinoxe and Captain Cook.
Today we packed, cabbed it into Stone Town, picked up our ferry tickets, convinced the owners of Mercury's to open long enough to let us buy ice cream and took the high-speed ferry back to Dares Salaam. It's back on the road tomorrow to Morogorro - by bus oh joy - for a couple of days. We weren't going to go but the Rotary club there has a meeting that they'd like us to be at and so, we go. Plus it's a new place and when you can either stay somewhere you've already been for your first eight days or go somewhere new, we usually choose new. So, Morogorro tomorrow & Thursday and then back to Dar on Friday.
We're going to be on National TV in Dar on Friday. We're getting interviewed on the country's biggest daytime talk show. Should be entertaining.
Saturday and Sunday will be in Dar and then we start the long journey home on Monday. I'll be in the arms of Shan and the kids by Tuesday night. Seven more sleeps.
Good night all.