Monday, April 15, 2013

Bongoyo Island Beaching

This weekend we loaded up the snorkel gear and jumped the boat to the Bongoyo Marine Park and Reserve. The launch is conveniently located right next door to our hotel and the island itself lies only 2.5 miles off the coast of Dar Es Salaam. Twenty bucks and a thirty minute boat ride gets you there. 
Dhow that took us there. After we got to the Dhow.
I had talked to a few people around the hotel about this particular destination and no one really had much good to say. With little else to do and not a lot of investment we decided to just give it a go. Plus, we really wanted to get in the water and snorkel.

What awaited us was this little piece of paradise. Our own private island!
The ride out was easy enough, but upon arrival the water was a little rough for snorkeling. We then jumped on a skiff to take us out to a shipwreck off the coast, but after diving for thirty minutes and not having a sighting, we gave up. Too much sediment in the water today. But that water was nice and warm!
Got our spot under the "Banda".
Returning to terra firma, we quickly got ourselves sorted underneath beach umbrellas, and got down to a little relaxation. Enjoyed a delectable lunch of grilled octopus, calamari and beef before attempting dive number two off the leeward side of the island.
Much calmer, but still no visibility
Five hours on a deserted island sounded sublime. We enjoyed every minute of it, and the last part of the day decided to go explore the trail to Shark Lagoon. The interior of the island is severely overgrown and jungle-like, with a volcanic rock floor, so walking in sandals was a little tricky. I DID step on a thorn, and it does still hurt today, but I won't subject you to photos this time.

As we headed down the path we caught sight of a bunch of eels swarming all over themselves at the shore. Glad I saw these dudes AFTER our snorkeling.
There's two there, but there were probably about 20 all together
This one got beached by the wave and was especially ugly
The guys up by the cooking area invited us up to visit the two monitor lizards that were hanging around by the fire. 

Cute, eh?
Sitting in the shade on the beach with a nice breeze allowed us to forget how steamy it really is. The twenty minute walk to the lagoon reminded us quickly.
Very pretty cove, but after seeing the eels, I couldn't bring myself to get wet.
Then, on the way back, what did we encounter? This fellow.
Chilling in the sunshine. Oh, to be cold-blooded!
I was walking point, and as I mentioned, the ground is quite rocky and was taking a lot of my concentration. By the time I saw the monitor, we were almost upon him. TJ threw a rock, which didn't seem to faze him much, but he did eventually wander off the path and we crossed without incident. A little shocking to see, though. Probably about five feet head to tail.
Back out to the beach. Sun getting low. Time to go.
The ferries do run on time, here, surprisingly, and the helpful employees at the Reserve make sure you know the boat is coming and to get your poop in a group. Makes me wonder what kind of fun happens out there once all the Mzungo (swahili for white people) beat it off. They had plenty of beer, booze and BBQ!
Last view up the beach before we pull out.
Made it back to the hotel just in time to see a beautiful sunset. Between the snorkeling and the hiking, we felt as if we had a fairly productive day. We all managed to obtain pretty good sunburns despite the protection, as well. We all agreed it was a great way to spend a Sunday in Dar.

Just another beautiful African sunset. Taken from the roof of the hotel


Bill H said...

Not sure about the monitor lizards or the eels, may have to take a pass on the island.

Sue C said...

Whilst you were having this grand adventure, I was doing laundry, washing the dog, and cleaning up cat barf all under a beautiful grey rainy sky. Did I mention that it was also freezing outside?