I didn’t think I would be scuba diving in Africa at all. It never crossed my mind. It was on Nicks list of things he must do here in Zanzibar. I came to Africa with the mindset to do everything I possibly can, so Lana and I decided to dive too.
We had to watch a 20 minute training video and the next morning, we headed to the pool at our hotel to train underwater. Before we agreed to scuba dive, the instructor said that we should not dive if we had any cough illnesses or were claustrophobic. My coughs have been waning ever since I got off of Kili so I was fine there. I have slight claustrophobia but I didn’t understand how that relates to scuba diving. After practicing underwater with the oxygen tank, I understand now how it relates. You’re meters underwater with only a hose as your source of oxygen. I don’t know how that relates to tight areas but I got the same feeling I get when I’m trapped in small spaces. But no worries, it didn’t bother me.
After about a half hour of training, we headed out to sea! We took a wooden boat across choppy waters to Tumbatu Island, the site of our dive spot. Did I get motion sick from the boat? Not this time. Beforehand, I warned the instructor that I would get sea-sick before diving so he gave me some motion tablets that worked like a charm. Last thing I would wanna do is vomit in the water to attract sharks. Yikes!
We put on our heavy scuba gear and fell backwards into the ocean. We deflated our vests and down we went into the water. The dive was about 20 meters deep and full of sea life. Corals, green turtles, schools of fish, and even eels would make an appearance. I wish I had my underwater camera with me to show you how amazing this was!
Every so often we would have to de-pressurize ourselves by squeezing our noses and blowing out to pop our ears. And no matter what, we could not hold our breaths! Doing that would cause our lungs to expand or something like that. We remembered these simple measures, including periodically checking our oxygen gauge to make sure we had a supple amount left. It all came naturally to us as we glided underwater exploring the sea life. We spent maybe 30-40 minutes in the deep and then inflated our vests so we could float to the top. It was one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done! We got back on the boat and were offered to do a second dive in a different location. Of course, this costs more money and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it or not. Nick wanted to. I started to feel sea-sick sitting around on the boat, so he convinced me that I would feel better under the sea. I didn’t need much arm pulling. The first dive was a blast! So in again I went for another mesmerizing dive.
After the dive, we got back on the boat and headed back to the main island. Did I get motion sick? This time yes, but I didn’t vomit. Just felt woozy and nauseous. When we got back to shore, the instructor gave the three of us diving certificates. We aren’t 100% certified but if we wanted to dive ever again, this certificate allowed us to do so without going through training again. Pretty sweet. I can see myself diving in the near future. I never thought I would like it so much.
The next day we booked a spice tour about an hour away from our beach. It’s one turned out to be better than I thought. We were taken to a plantation where many different spices and fruits are grown. I had no idea that cinnamon came from the bark of certain trees. One of the plants produces henna, a thick gooey substance that locals use for painting. Our tour guide grabbed my hand and painted the pinky nail on my right hand. On a man, one nail means you aren’t married, two nails mean you’re married. The henna won’t come off until the nail grows out, so I’m stuck with this for a while. I’ve seen this stuff on locals hands before but until now I never knew what it was.
There were fruits I tried that I have never even heard of. One of them, I don’t remember what it’s called, resembled a slimy slug. It tasted great though! I also had the best mango in my life! It just so happens that mangos are my favorite fruit. The tour lasted for a about two hours. We were treated to tons of different spices and fruits the whole time. Well worth it.
We only had a couple of nights left in Z. On our last night, we ate at Infusion and ordered huge lobsters and other seafood delicacies. Well, everyone but me. I hate seafood. Especially seafood that’s still in the shape of what it looked like when it was alive. I did try tiny, minuscule bits of everyone’s dish but that’s about all I could take. Blah!
We did so much on this beautiful island and everyday here has been the absolute definition of paradise. We spent a week here and I felt like that was a perfect amount of time. I could have stayed on that island forever though! We all could have.
On our last morning, we headed back to Stone Town and said our goodbyes to Nick. He was leaving to go back home to London, where he could enjoy the Summer Olympics which at the time, started just a couple of days ago. It was a bit weird when he wasn’t around. Lana, Nick, and myself pretty much spent the past two weeks together, 24/7. One week on Kili and immediately after on Zanzibar for another week. But it was time to get back to Arusha to see my kids that I haven’t seen in two weeks. They’re probably anxious to see me! My time in Tanzania was coming to an end as well. In just a few short days, I would be going back to South Africa for another month. As much fun as I had here in Tanzania, I’m pretty pumped to go back to where my story in Africa began.