Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013 - Finding Nemo

I have been a certified diver for 10 years now, but I haven’t been on a dive since my Australia trip 10 years ago. Now, Tanzania is fantastic for both scuba diving and snorkeling but we haven’t done much over the last year, which is almost a crime since it's literally is at our doorstep and because we can dive for only20-40 dollars from the yacht club. I took a 3-hour refresher course before Christmas.

Yesterday morning I finally dove in the ocean and it was great. Let me start the my story with:
“The sea was angry today my friend…like an old man trying to send soup back in a deli.” (Seinfeld)
The dive almost got cancelled because our boat got chopped around in the loading area as the waves came crashing down upon us. It calmed down for a few minutes and we got out. It was a 7 km boat ride with huge huge waves – ("I tell you they were ten stories high if they were a foot!" Seinfeld) - but we made it just fine. The boat stopped and our dive team of 8 was ready to go in, although we had to wait for some rookie who fumbled with his gear, almost forgot the weight belt and had to be reminded how exactly to role backwards off the boat and into the water (ahem). But we all got in – no problem. We descended quickly, although the rookie could have done better with a few extra pounds on the weight belt – that Christmas food is still stubbornly hanging on to him.

The visibility was amazing – more than 90 feet. I always feel half amazed and half weirded out by all these under water creatures – unspeakable things down there!!! I’m no marine biologist but we did see Nemo and all of his friends so it was great and I fully enjoyed the 52 minutes under water.

Back on the boat the waves had risen in size and on our way back we came upon what looked like a giant old row boat with an engine mounted in the back. About 20 people on board had made a small sail out of old sacks and had turned around because apparently their engine had broken down. The 20 Tanzanians sitting in this open boat in huge waves with a miniature homemade sail wanted a lift. We almost rammed into them when a huge tidal wave suddenly pushed them forward. They threw an old rope to us and we dragged them for a mile or two. Half a mile before shore, they signaled that we could drop them there, I think they wanted to set up their fishing net. We left them in the big waves
and as we took off they remounted their little improved sail and looked very happy.

That was it, we took the boat home and we haven’t heard from them since.
A great day at sea for me.

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