I was up early as I had to meet the dive company I was diving with at 7:15. My hotel gave me my breakfast in a box; an omelette, sausage and toast. The company paid for a taxi to go from Kendwa to Nungwi. A shared a taxi with Stewart, who had also done a medical elective at KCMC like my friend Beth. We both did a quick refresher dive from the shore when we arrived at the dive office in Nungwi.
The boat was really full for the morning dive, 18 people. There were four separate diving groups and a snorkling group. We were going to Mnemba, which is a tiny island off the NE coast of the island – to stay 1 night on Mnemba is $1500 pp!. It is supposed to be some of the best diving on Zanzibar. We did a dive then came up, had some fruit and water on the boat, then jumped in for a second dive – which is very different from how I have dived before, but I liked it.
I was really underwhelmed with the diving. I have been lucky and dived in some amazing places. The group didn’t stick together very well and I was still getting back into it, but there was not the huge school’s of fish I had expected to see. The current was quite strong, and this made looking at things more difficult as you had to fight against the current and float around at the same time. Never the less, I still love the sensation of diving and we saw; Lion Fish, Porcupine fish, Box fish, Puffer fish and many others.
I got a lift back with a boat to Kendwa, which is a 5/10 min ride. I had another amazing hot shower before exploring outside the beach at Kendwa. As you drive along a typically bumpy dirt road, on the left is all the resorts and the right is local shops and places to eat – The differences are very stark. I grabbed a few little bits to eat before heading to the beach to get a massage (1 hour for £8). Afterwards I felt I really started to relax. I grabbed a beer and sat in a hammock watching the sun set.
I headed back to one of the local places to eat, which Stewart had recommended. I paid half the price of the hotel to eat Barracuda, rice, chips, vegetables and a drink for £4.50. I had another hot shower before having an early night.
I was up not as early, as the boat was picking Stewart and I up for 8. We were heading out to a reef much closer to Nungwi. There was only 5 of us diving today, so we were into 2 small groups. The current was really strong today but I started to get back to diving really well and I had a brilliant time using just my lungs as buoyancy control. We saw a few more things; Moral eel, sea-horse and a sea weed or creature my dive instructor had never seen before.
As we went for our second dive the boat suddenly stopped and the instructors, with Stewart’s help, started to get oxygen for one of the divers. She had done a deep dive for the first time and had been stung by a jellyfish. She was having difficulties breathing, was experiencing strange pain all over and was cold. The boat headed back and a doctor was called to meet us on shore. Unfortunately the oxygen wasn’t working and we had no antihistamine, so there was nothing we could do. The doctor gave her an injection of antihistamine and she headed for the decompression chamber just incase it also had something to do with the deep dive. This was a quite a shock to me, and was an example of how dangerous diving could be.
There was no time to do the second dive due to the tides, so I paid up and caught a lift back. I am still a student at heart and ate lots of fruit on the boat so I didn’t need any lunch! I had another relaxing afternoon on the beach, having a beer, massage and reading my book. As the sun set I saw some locals playing frisbee. I debated for a while whether I should join in or not. I grabbed my stuff and went over. They were really friendly and enjoyed having somebody else to chuck around with. I returned to the local fisherman’s restaurant for dinner before packing.
The dive company I was used was Spanish Dancers, ran by a few Spaniards. They were much cheaper than everybody else, yet still expensive when compared to Asia, their equipment was really good and so were all the instructors. I loved the diving even if it wasn’t quite up to my expectations.