11.17.08

Africa Day 13: Snorkeling Mnemba

Posted in africa 2008, personal, travel at 2:14 am by wingerz

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Day 13: 3/27, Mnemba Atoll

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Going snorkeling today! Already feel a bit sunburned – It’s impossible to tell whether I’m tired, burned, motion-sick, or affected by yellow fever or malaria.

We ride over to the port in a small van – 8 of us cram ourselves into six seats. Ellen, Dong, Paul, Panos, Marina, Paul, Ishan, Jen, and I occupy the top deck of the small boat after getting outfitted with snorkeling gear. We are heading to Mnemba Atoll, off the east coast of the island. It is a private island, so we won’t be allowed to actually go onto the island. The boat ride out is about an hour, and it is beautiful and dramatic thanks to the looming storm. The water here is a light turquoise over the sandbanks, deeper blue where there are rocks and coral, and dark blue over open ocean. The clouds are quite amazing. We drop two guys off into the water with an ice bucket so that they can prepare lunch and we go off to Mnemba.

Fishing is not allowed in the area, so the sea life is plentiful and colorful. The snorkeling is fantastic, even though I am not wearing corrective goggles, which makes the whole thing more of an impressionistic experience. We see zebra fish, parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, rainbow-colored fish, tiny blue fish, schools of black fish and yellow fish, sea stars, and all sorts of coral.

After we have our fill, we head back to the beach for lunch, which is a gorgeous whole fish that has been marinated, wrapped in foil, and cooked. The storm rolls through and we watch from underneath a thatched roof.

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