Friday, December 16, 2011

Small World

Jon and I got off our ferry around 6:00 pm and tried to find our hotel without a taxi which is quite difficult because Stone Town is a maze of alleyways. As our luck would have it, we ran into a friend of ours who is a volunteer about four hours away from us!  He was visiting Zanzibar with his family who is visiting him.  He recommended the hotel he was staying at and helped show us the way.   The next day, his family and my family (Jon and I), went out on a little boat to see tortoises and go snorkeling. 


Our first stop was to “Prison Island” which as the name suggests was an island for prisoners (specifically slaves), however, it never came to be used for that.  It was then planned to be used as a quarantine for people with severe illnesses.  But, as with the prison (which had actually been built), this never came to be.  Now, it’s just a touristy area.   The most notable reason to visit this island is for the rare tortoises called the Aldabra Giant Tortoise.  And giant they are!  These gentle giants are not native to the Zanzibar area, but were brought as a gift over a hundred years ago.  The oldest tortoise in the group is 150 years old!  It is believed that tortoises are the longest lived of all animals. 


After playing with the tortoises, we took another twenty minute boat ride to a beautiful area where snorkeling was ideal!  We saw beautiful coral reefs, starfish, sand dollars, clown fish, zebra fish, schools of fish, sea urchin, and many, many other fish that I could never identify.  It was so amazing and we were so lucky our friend included us in his day out on the boat to see giant turtles and super colorful fish!


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