Ella and I decided to be different to most of the group today and go to Prison Island. We were joined by 3 others while everyone chose to do the slave trade and spice tour. We met our guide for the day on the beach where he showed us his boat called Jambo. We thought remembering this would be a good idea in case we got lost while on the island. It turned out every second boat was called Jambo. The other half of the boats were called Gladiator, this is also when we realised that the six or so locals we met claiming to have a boat called Gladiator probably weren't lying. Although we were still sceptical that they were all called Fisherman George.
After our 40minutes boat ride we landed on Prison Island, as the prison in the mid-late 1800's was located here. Through the early-mid 1900s the island was used as a quarantine station for travellers getting to Zanzibar and the mainland. Now the island is a sanctuary for the Aidabra giant tortoise and is also known as Changuu, named after a type of fish.
Our first stop was to see the tortoises, we were cautious as the signs told us to keep away and not rise the tortoises. Maybe our guide didn't read English or just didn't care but he encouraged us to give out neck scratches. We followed him and the tortoises actually loved the attention. They would stretch their neck and legs out when we hit the sweet spot for scratching. The island is home to tortoises of all ages, hatchlings all the way through to giants over 100 years old. They had a blue number on their back to signify their age, the oldest we saw was 155 but apparently the oldest was almost 200. The population is thriving after the species was almost wiped out in the 1990s by thieves.
We then had a quick look around the old prison/quarantine quarter but there wasn't too much to see. Most of the buildings on the island are now apart of a holiday resort. Our guide took us back on the boat to the reef next to the island where we went snorkelling for about an hour. The reef looked healthy and was home to many brightly coloured fish including parrot and clown fish. Ok those are the only ones I knew.
We had some fresh fruit on the way back to Stone Town which topped off a wonderful morning. For lunch Ella and I ate at the vegetarian restaurant next to our hotel which she had been eyeing off. Despite the lack of meat it was delicious. In the afternoon the group rejoined to travel to the north of Zanzibar where we were staying on the beach in a town called Kendwa.
This was the night of the full moon party, some of us ventured to the party in the neighbouring hotels bar. It was quite cheesy with a terrible Michael Jackson impersonator. We also had to put money on a card to buy drinks. Nothing we saw held our interest so we went to bed.