Zanzibar, Tanzania

UpdatesPosted by Karl Kristian Larsen 02 Jun, 2010 10:15:04

So you might wonder why there haven’t been any updates on my blog the last month, well actually the only reason is that there hasn’t been much to blog about. I stayed 1 month on the same place – Kendwa Rocks, on the north coast of Zanzibar. The dorm room was 10USD a night (with breakfast) and when the location on this beach, why not?

Lonely Planet said that there’s going to be rainy season (the long rains) and that scuba diving will not be so rewarding due to poor visibility. So I was a bit anxeious, especially when it rained A LOT my 2 first days. But miraculously, the day I arrived Kendwa it stopped raining, an after that not much at all. Of course, there were some showers, dramatic cloud formations and even a sky pump, but mostly the sky was beautifully blue.

So what did I do on my extended Kendwa-stay? Scuba-Diving! I had the idea that I wanted to do Rescue Diver + Divemaster or just the Rescue Diver. The people of Scuba-Do Dive Centre advised me that I didn’treally have enough time to add the Divemaster course, but they could teach me to become a Rescue Diver. I liked the people, so I decided to go with them.

It turned out that it was a good choice, I got to join another Advanced Open Water course, just to get more experience and besides my theory and scenarios that followed my course I got more “real life experience” as well. From day one I got told that I could get non-scheduled rescue-scenarios at any time. In the beginning it was mostly observing people (someone had some kind of entanglement in their gear etc etc), but I was supposed to get a trained eye and notice it, before we went into the water. Later in the course, I could get people panicking underwater, non-responsive divers at the surface and actually everything I’ve read about and practiced in the shallows. Not all happened, but I had to tow both Doullah and Tammy on different days while giving rescue breaths (fake ones). Sometimes I also got paired up with people freshly qualified as divers, so I could help out if they had small (or big) problems. During my course I learned so much, and I actually learned it trough real-life scenarios and not only confined water sessions. In total I got 29 experience dives from Scuba Do, and I transformed myself from a slightly egoistic diver to a diver with 49 logged dives and with bigger awareness of the group I’m diving with. My air consumption also got a lot better, Scuba-yoga together with less movement and less negative buoyancy are the secret. So I’m not longer among the first that need to surface, hurray!

The days of scuba-diving were never the same, and since I did stay there a some weeks, I got to learn the dive sites quite well, especially “Mwana Wa Mwana” and “Hunga” The 15th of May when we dove down to Hunga Reef we found one of the southern coral-patches to be covered by a large abandoned fishing net. Most likely it has been drifting, because there were some fish caught in the net (Among other – Phantom, our favorite “one black eye” Longfin Batfish and a Surgeonfish). The next day we (Tammy, Curtis, Ian and I) went back, we decided to do as much as we could within the limits of our air and no deco times. By good teamwork we were actually able to roll the net off the coral, and freeing numerous lobsters in the same time. Parts of the reef were broken, but in all, the “operation” was successful.

Some of the highlights we saw under water were all the fish (obvious). The Zanzibar archipelago is amazing because there is so much different to see, you could find a new species every day, and there was never a boring dive. And all sizes from tiny nudie-branches, flatworms and sea-horses to potato groupers, turtles and big sting rays. I didn’t se a shark and I didn’t see a whale, but apart from that I felt like I had seen almost everything in the “Fishes of the Indian ocean” encyclopedia.

Other highlights on the Kendwa-months were the 17th of May (Norway’s constitution day). I borrowed a flag from the Sun Set Restaurant and carried it on the boat that day. I even attempted a small underwater parade, but it was a bit difficult. Anyway – the 17th of May was nice, Tammy played the national anthem, I sung, and later I told how we celebrated. Even Juan brought hot dogs for his lunch that day. The only thing that I missed was Lollipop (my favorite Norwegian ice-cream), and of course my friends and family back home.

Once more I would like to thanks everyone I met at Kendwa (both at the Dive Centre and elsewhere). It was a great month! Sometimes I’ll come back!