Page 76

E AST A F R I CA TANZANI A

Pemba Island The half-empty flight from Unguja to Pemba yields picturepostcard aerial shots of Mnemba Atoll, and uninhabited islands and reefs. After a mere 30 minutes, it touches down in Chake Chake, Pemba’s biggest town, half-way up the west coast at the end of a long mangrovelined creek. The airport is a small ramshackle affair, and despite a plethora of attractions including atmospheric ruins, primeval forest, unique bird species, deserted beaches and some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean, Pemba often hosts less than 100 tourists at any given time. As the RIB zips across the top of the flat sea the remoteness of this small island, 50 kilometres

LUCKY THERE’S NO POINT TALKING UNDERWATER, BECAUSE I AM COMPLETELY SPEECHLESS...

off the coast of one of the poorest countries in the world, enchants me. We pass locals in sailing dhows and dugouts, fishing teams of up to ten men who swim nets into a circle, slapping the water as they go to scare fish into the net. Here and there you can spot a lone spear fisherman, in Jacques Cousteau mask with an elbow-grease-powered spear, hunting for dinner. Looking down as we kit up, the Table Corals 20 metres below are clearly visible. Backwards roll, hot tub, OK, going down. Equalize, all together? Look around. W-O-W. Welcome to

0 76 | D I V E T R AV E L A D V E N T U R E S | S U M M E R 2 01 9

P68-83 EAST AFRICA_DTA_SU19.indd 76

IMAGES Top: The top of Manta Point is always covered in anthias, and they are abundant on many of Pemba’s dive sites. Above: The wonderful Fundu Lagoon from the air.

Manta Point. On one side is a wall, like the top of a submerged mountain, covered in hard and soft corals of all descriptions, positively teeming with fish. On the other, the bluest blue, near perfect viz, dropping down, and down, and down… Lucky there’s no point talking underwater, because I am completely speechless. We make up for it at the surface interval, over a snack of stillwarm crepes on a deserted island of fossilized coral and white sand, before heading off to the next dive site. Over the next two days, I had plenty to play with: the depths and the schools of Big-eye Jacks of Snapper Point; the Barracudas, grouper and assorted morays at Trigger Wall and Trigger Corner; the pipefish of Murray’s Wall and the eels, nudibranchs, and anemonefish of Egger’s Ascent and Chelsea Gin; plus, the gazillion fish of beautiful Manta Point (but no more mantas). The dives were broken up by picnics on tidal sand islands and incredible coves in cyan waters under cloudless skies. It was blissful; more dream diving.

scubaverse.com

27/06/2019 17:09

Profile for SCUBAVERSE

DIVE TRAVEL ADVENTURES - SUMMER 2019  

Join us on some of the most spectacular and exciting Dive Travel Adventures worldwide in the Summer 2019 (Issue 4) of the new premium quarte...

DIVE TRAVEL ADVENTURES - SUMMER 2019  

Join us on some of the most spectacular and exciting Dive Travel Adventures worldwide in the Summer 2019 (Issue 4) of the new premium quarte...