Whilst eating breakfast we noticed 3 travellers that are staying in the same place. They had been sat around for a while, 2 men and a woman. The men went off swimming but came back only 10 minutes later and one of them was hopping and only able to walk if half carried by his friend!
As he got closer we could see that his ankle was really swollen and red and looked very painful, he had trodden on a sea urchin! Ouch!!! We're going snorkelling this afternoon so had better stay well clear of those pesky sea urchins!!!
There are loads of Maasai men walking around in their traditional garb and looking very intimidating. The bright red of their clothing looks really impressive against the sea and sand. I've been told that these men are hired as night watchmen for all the local businesses because they are so intimidating, as well as deadly, and not even the locals will hassle them! I tried to get a few sneaky pictures when they weren't looking as they'll probably ask me to pay them for the privilege! What a skinflint I'm turning into!!!
After lunch we headed off to a nearby hut where Adam, Roen and Stefan had booked for us all to go snorkelling. And the best thing…Mandla is coming with us!
Until yesterday Mandla had never even tried to swim in his life. He grew up in a village in central Zimbabwe and never saw the sea until he became a tour guide. Swimming is something these African's just don't do unless they grow up on the coast.
Yesterday afternoon he went swimming with Chantelle and Vicky in the shallows near the beach and they taught him how to do doggy paddle. He was so ecstatic and raving about it all evening!
So today he's decided to join us snorkelling, he will of course have a life vest and is just planning on floating and practising his breathing through the snorkel but seeing how nervous he is I'm really impressed he wants to give it a try.
We all laughed when we saw the hut as the side said "BIG CAPTAIN ADAM". So of course we had to take a picture of Adam standing next to it. When we met Big Captain Adam we had to stifle another laugh, he's about 5ft tall! Shorter than me!!! He set us up with 2 of his men, a boat and all snorkelling equipment and then told us to have fun.
Snorkelling here is quite expensive and for that reason we went with the cheapest guy and booked the cheapest package. There are 2 problems with this, 1 the equipment wasn't that great and 2 the cheapest reef really isn't that impressive. There are better area's to snorkel around here but there is no way we can afford it!
The boat took us slowly further south, past some pretty impressive 5 star resorts, to an area a little way off coast and we were told to dive in. The sea was really quite rough with a big swell and I was a little nervous as I'm not the best swimmer. Mandla looked even worse!
We jumped in and the water was between 10-15 metres deep but initially all we could see was sand. The guys then motioned for us to swim to the other side of the boat and try again and that's when we caught our first glimpse of the reef and colourful fishes.
It was pretty cool but not as amazing as I had hoped! Snorkelling in Lake Malawi was better and at least the water there was calmer on the shore side of the island. I had major issues with my snorkel and my mask kept leaking, not to mention the billions of miniscule jelly fish that kept stinging us and were really annoying.
They're tiny, so small you can barely see them even when you're looking for them and they are completely transparent. The sting itself disappears after only a second but when you are being bombarded by them it's pretty unpleasant. We've been told they're harmless though with no lasting effects.
Mandla got in the water with both a life jacket and a rope tied around his waist to secure him to the boat and prevent him drifting too far. It was also a life line to pull himself back in if he needed. Initially he got too close to the boat on the wrong side and nearly got dragged underneath it which I think freaked him out a bit but once he got away he was able to see the miniature city of life under the water which made him really happy. After about 15 minutes though he gave up and got back on the boat which turned out to be no better as it was bobbing up and down really badly and he felt sick! Poor Mandla!
He was really upbeat about it though and so glad that he had given it a go. Something he never thought he would do. I guess that was a highlight of the afternoon for me.
Once we had gotten fed up with the jellyfish stings and seen just about all there was to see we climbed back on board and everyone, excluding Mandla and I, decided to start jumping off the top of the boat. It was pretty cool and even Lea had a go even though she was terrified! My job was to be in charge of people's cameras!
On the way back we asked if the crew could put the sail up rather than using the engine which they did and we had a pleasant ride sailing around the bay. I think they thought we wanted to go further though and sailed right past our beach so we had to get them to turn around and head back as it was getting cold and Mandla still wasn't feeling well.
This evening is Lea's last day with us. Tomorrow we'll be heading back to mainland Tanzania and she will be staying here for another week before carrying on her own travels alone.
We arranged for dinner again but as there isn't much choice ended up at the same place as last night. This time Mandla joined us and had a word with them about better service.
The service was better, marginally, although the food wasn't that great. As is becoming customary now Mandla and Stefan did a little speech about Lea leaving us and her time on tour and Lea then had to give her own speech which I know she hated. It was quite sad as she really is an awesome person. She's been with us since Cape Town and was Solveig's personal nurse when she fell off a quad bike in Namibia. She has also dressed many other cuts and scratches along the way as well as offering advice to those with stomach upsets and the like. Lea is great fun although surprisingly quiet, not to mention her unbelievable strength on Mandla's resistance bar! I'll be sad to see her go.
Our group now consists of Hisako, Adam and I from Cape Town, Kay, Marcus, Roen, Chantelle, Sarah and Vicky. Such a small group considering what we started with!
After dinner a few of us played a few games of pool but the table and cues were pretty bad and we all played rubbish so in the end Adam and I gave up to have an early night as we have a very early start ahead of us in the morning!