Swimming with the Dolphins

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
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Trip End Dec 10, 2011


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Where I stayed
Sunset Beach Hotel
What I did
Kizimkazi Dolphin Village
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park

Flag of Tanzania  , Zanzibar Archipelago,
Sunday, November 27, 2011


Hard to believe....still no internet for me!  Today we breakfasted in our hotel.  I have a photo of it with the name...but not on today's photos..

We were ready at 8 am I think for our dolphin tour.  There were only 6 of us:  Mel, Fiona, Matt, Kellie, Juliet & I.  We drove over an hour to the southeast of the island - a beautiful white sand beach with turquoise and blue water.  We got our gear and headed out in a motor boat until we found the dolphins.  We jumped in the water followed by the guide.  I didn't go out every time since I am not a strong swimmer so a few times I didn't even get close to the dolphins because they swam away and there I was looking:  Where did everyone go?  But one time, I did see a dolphin swimming below me in the water.  That WAS pretty exciting.  Juliet pointed it out to me, or I would have missed it.  My biggest problem was trying to figure out whether my Fuji underwater camera was actually on.  I would be trying to take photos and half the time, the camera was off.  Because of the glare, it is hard to see the screen....so basically I just pretend it is on and do what I can.  Juliet took a few shots for me.  At one point near the end, the dolphins were leaping and arching their backs near the swimmers.  It was a beautiful sight and I was content to watch.  I don't think Fiona went in at all - she has trouble using the snorkel equipment so it isn't worth it for her to jump in either..

We then went to snorkel over some coral and there was a school of little black fish, some yellow and black ones, blue ones and at the end I saw a grayish one with a neon blue stripe.  These are all nameless of course.  I should have bought one of those fishes of Zanzibar guides.

As we walked along the rocky part of the beach, our guide gave us a starfish to look at.  It was bright red and so beautiful.  The jellyfish shots were from another time but fit in here better.  I was walking out of the water after a swim and I looked and saw these things....it took me a second or two to realize that they were jellyfish.  Maybe 4-6 inches long.

We had added the Monkey Park to our swimming with the dolphins excursion.  I think the Jozani National Park is the biggest on Zanzibar.  It is home to the indigenous Red Colobus Monkey.  We had a very nice guide who took us on several walks around the park - one primarily to see the monkeys and the other to see aspects of mangrove ecological system.  Along one path there were some dead-looking mango trees.  Apparently the monkeys kill off a lot of the mango trees when they forage from them.  There were monkeys jumping around in the trees - mostly the Red Colobus but there were all some blue monkeys.  From a distance in the trees I could hardly tell the difference.  The monkeys were fun to watch because they were so lively - jumping from branch to branch.  I was standing underneath one tree trying to get some unobstructed shots of the monkeys when I became aware - I don't want to think of how exactly - that one of the little guys was peeing.  So, of course, I jumped back onto to path.  After the monkeys, we walked along the boardwalk through the mangrove swamp.  The guide said the tides are very strong in this area and areas can either be covered with water or dry.  We did get to see a big red crab and a large snail - in its shell - with a little water bug on it.

We arrived back in Stone Town and Faisal took us to a different restaurant but it was also an Archipelago cafe.  I had the kingfish this time with fries and couscous and another passion fruit juice.  It took a long time and our poor driver missed going to his lunch at home by waiting for us.  At this point, our group was split - the dolphin people did their thing in the morning and had lunch in Stone Town - I was part of this group - and the others went directly to the hotel in the northern part of the island.

After lunch we drove to the North - Sunset Beach Hotel and the setting is so lovely.  The rooms are OK but only one bed is under the fan.  The hot and cold water faucets have the opposite colors to what I am used to - red for cold and blue for hot.  It took awhile to figure this out.  We are in a bungalow attached to 2 others and I heard Matt say that he has the "girls" next to his and Kellie's room.  There is the usual beach bar and restaurant - no wi-fi here but supposedly there is wi-fi next door at the dive center.

We got settled and Juliet went for a swim.  I wrote in my little journal and then we joined the others in the bar.  After such a big lunch, we skipped solids and just had beer for dinner.  Tusker is better than Serengeti too.

I think that the pace of the trip and trying to cram my journaling into a very busy day contributes to the notes being sooo boring.  The thrill and excitement of seeing the dolphins and snorkeling over the little fishes and seeing the bright red starfish and the big red crab all get lost somehow.  Plus there is the sheer beauty of the brilliant white beach against all the blues of the water and sky.  This really is a paradise!   And it is wonderful to have seafood again, even if the restaurants run out of the type that I really had my heart ... or stomach ... set on.  The only thing missing from my preconception perhaps is scent....more frangipani...or the scent of spices...cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla!

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