We bolted an excited breakfast and headed to the dive centre where we geared up and loaded into a monsterous high speed RHIB whose twin 115hp engines powered us at an incredible speed over the water, inducing an uncontrollable grin in all of the passengers clinging to the footstraps and gripping the safety lines for dear life. The arrival of a 4ft swell barely slowed our progress but it did make several stomachs start to churn and by the time we arrived at the atol, 2 of the snorkellers were tinged with green and slightly clammy. We slowed to a crawl around the island, having found a pod of bottle nose Dolphins who played in our wake, tailing us for a few hundred metres as we sped back up and headed further south towards the drop zone.
Deemed 'experienced' divers now we kitted up, made somewhat challenging by the waves, and then back rolled into the deep water with only ourselves to blame if anything was amiss. We were a group of 7 and our diveMaster MJ took us down to 18m and we began our tour of the coral reef below. It was alive with sealife and we saw stone fish, frog fish, and numerous other species which were new to us. It was our first drift dive and the current made swimming obsolete as the scenery passed us unstoppable by but when we saw a turtle hunkered down amongst the coral I kicked like mad to stay with it as it set off, effortlessly flying against the tide. It was without a doubt our best diving experience yet and as the turtle disappeared into the blue huge shoals of bait fish made for an awesome ascent.
The second dive was dominated by 'the wall', a huge bank of coral which was home to an equally spectacular array of marine life though any further sightings of turtles or Dolphins evaded us. We surfaced to find the snorkel team very much ready for the return trip and so we set off North again with our captain piloting us swiftly between the sets of waves coarsing across the sea with just enough excitement to make sure that you never dared let go of the foot or safety straps.
Back on dry land we thanked our hosts for an excellent freebie and joined back up with Charlie and Hattie for lunch which we devoured in our famished state. I made a final visit to the sick pooch who had enabled us to enjoy our best diving experience yet and after looking at some wee, and finding nothing else amiss, penned an email to the local vet so that he could treat the dog as he saw fit on his return to Zanzibar.
We enjoyed a final spell on the beach and dip in the sea before our taxi arrived and we parted company from Charlie and Hattie, leaving them with 2 more days in Nungwi. In the car we reflected on the past 6 weeks and how fortunate we had been to be travelling with such good friends and it spoke volumes that we were still good, if not better friends, after 6 weeks of stress, danger and body odour.
The sun set as we arrived in Stone Town and we tracked down our hotel. It was a beautiful old town house, covered in climbing plants with their bright red flowers standing out against the ancient shutters. We climbed the wooden spiral stairs to our large balconied room and we're ready to head out into town shortly after dropping out bags.
The 5 minute walk along the dockside was exciting as we felt the buzz of the city centre coming nearer. The faded grandure of the Arabic architecture was everywhere as we navigated our way to the Forodhani Gardens where the night food market was in full swing. Every table was crammed full of local produce, illuminated by roaring gas lanterns. There were skewers of meat, fish and vegetables, platters of prawns, chunks of octopus, chapatis, wierd fruits, freshly squeezed drinks and the smell of exotic spices everywhere. It all looked incredible and the sellers were shouting, persuading and cajoling all those passing into eating their way up a waist size. As we were on our way to a restaurant for supper we settled on some falafel and a coconut chapati as a mobile starter, washed down with some freshly mangled sugar cane juice.
Supper was more seafood under a roof of trailing vines on the waterfront and soon after we'd finished our food the vet who I had emailed about the dog with possible babesiosis arrived. He was desperate to meet us before we left and we spent a very entertaining hour discussing the differences between island medicine and what awaited us in the UK in just a few days time. We heard all about his recent cow caesarean and were surprised to hear that he was scheduled to see a lion tomorrow with suspected hip dysplasia. On that note we parted company and he sped off in his 'mobile practice' (a battered Nissan Micra) and we returned through the charismatic architecture to our room and passed out, excited about spending our last day exploring this fascinating town.