Day 11: Mnarani Marine Turtles

Mrs L is somewhat frustrated…..all was going well with writing her blog directly onto the blog site and then the connection was lost and auto save had not saved Mrs L’s musings of the past 30 mins. So now got to write it all again – humph!!!

Cloudy skies and very strong winds greeted Mr and Mrs L upon their wakening this morning…….but we are at the end of the short rains season (hence low season) with long rains due mid-March to end May when many places close. We decided to have a walk northwards along the beach. We walked past other resorts all very nicely embedded into the local scenery. We then had the opportunity to observe the working lives of some of the local people. Men were working on their fishing boats, repairing them, removing seaweed and barnacles etc from the hulls; women were out in the very shallow waters of low tide bending over collecting something, we don’t know what, from the waters. There were then a huddle of cows on the beach – why?!!!

We finally made it to the northernmost tip of the island complete with lighthouse. This is where the Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Ponds are also based. This is a conservation project to protect the local Green turtle that has been going on since 1993 and is staffed by local volunteers. When fishermen accidentally catch these Green turtles, big and small, they bring them to the project. Baby turtles have their own pond and are grown on until more mature and able to be released back into the ocean, likewise the bigger turtles are also looked after and then prepared for release back into the ocean. They also had a Monitor lizard and some baby Nile Crocodiles there – people had brought them to Mnarani and so they are now looking after them. They also had information and some of the skulls of the 400-600 dolphins that were tragically washed ashore dead back in 2006. The research into these mass dolphin deaths indicates that it was most likely caused by a sea quake which caused disabling barotrauma to them and killed them.

We proceeded on around the top of the island where the sand had turned to rocks with many little rock pools to be seen.

Mr L Looking for Sealife!

Mr L Looking for Sealife!

There were starfish to be seen and many many sea urchins, some of which had tried to cover themselves with pebbles.

Sea Urchins in a Rock Pool at Low Tide

Sea Urchins in a Rock Pool at Low Tide

It was then time to head back as the tide was turning and comes in fairly quickly due to the shallowness of the seabed on this part of the coast – we didn’t want to find ourselves stranded!

Back at Amaani Bungalows and the sun was now shining with a perfect blue sky so time to a find ourselves a sunbed. Lunch was at the Cinnamon Bar next door to us on the next resort – again great views and a good lunch with excellent background music – Bob Marley!

View from Cinnamon Bar

View from Cinnamon Bar

A brief time on the beach with Mr L having a swim in the Indian Ocean and Mrs L having a little dabble, the tide was almost fully in so time to relocate back to our poolside sunbed for the rest of the afternoon. Mrs L finished her book, the Seven Year Hitch – excellent book about a family’s journey around the world by horse-drawn caravan from 1990-1997.

It was back to Cholo’s for cocktails and to watch the Nungwi sunset, there was also a local boys football match underway on the beach – looked fairly chaotic to us but they all seemed to know what was going on and it was great to sit and watch them all having fun.

Sunset over Nungwi Beach

Sunset over Nungwi Beach

An excellent dinner at the Langi Langi restaurant owned by a real character, a local Rasta man with a brilliant sense of humour. We chatted to him during the evening and found out that he had done his chef training at the Hilton near Canary Wharf, initially living in Chingford – the residents of whom regarded him with some suspicion apparently! He knows Walthamstow too, having shopped in the market there – small world.

It has been another perfect day in our Zanzibar paradise.

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