Beach Crab Resort I
We woke up with sunrise and had a relaxed breakfast. Just before midday we ventured off with snorkelling gear on a heavy boat with a weak engine that took us to a sandbank.
There were a few beautiful corals with fish and starfish. We had some picnic and some more snorkelling and a lot of lazy lying in the sand. Shu played gangster with the sand crabs and constructed a coral arch.
Before sunset the boat slowly took us back to shore and we hungrily waited for the dinner, which was not large enough to satisfy the guys.
Beach Crab Resort II
We awoke and spent the day eating our remaining food, emptying the car and lazing in the sun. The biscuits we had left over were made edible with milo dunking, nutella and jam covering, and even HP sauce smearing. "Would you for A THOUSAND shillings eat a weetbix with HP sauce + oil + sugar?"
During the day we had several messages from a mystery number asking where in Dar es Salaam we were. Stella, our vehicle hire contact, clearly didn't communicate our arrangement to leave the car here (A THOUSAND kilometers from Dar es Salaam). This is Africa where nothing is organised. He communicated that he'd travel to Tanga, then on to us by 11 - 11:30 at night. Good luck with that.
We met a man on the beach selling fish, from whom we bought a small one and baked it in a coconut shell coals fire in foil under a palm tree. By the time Shu had woven a plate from a palm branch, we'd thrown it on the gas stove and got it toasty.
Later during dinner of pea and prawn soup, deepfried beef & potatoes with pepper sauce, our mystery contact communicated he'd come from Tanga to the resort at about midnight. We stayed up in our ant-filled tented room until he finally arrived at 11:40pm... in Tanga, and said he'd be there in 25 min. The ferry doesn't run that late. Fail.
The next morning we left the keys with a German girl at the Beach Crab reception; we had exchanged the keys four times now.
Beach Crab Resort to Kendwa
Luckily we found out that the bus to catch to the boat in the morning left at 7 rather than at 7:30, just in time to make it. Bus in this case was the back of an open truck.
We got on the boat without any breakfast for a very bumpy 1.5h ride. Bumpy in this case was not gently rocking - more like spinal-injury-promising hard landings on every other wave. I think I lost a vital organ puking on the ride. Firstly, there was nothing else in my tummy; and secondly, there seemed to be a vital part of my digestive system lacking in the following days.
We arrived at a postcard-perfect beach right in front of the resort that we then chose to spend a couple of days at. The first day was spent at the beach, swimming, looking for beautiful shells and catching crabs.
We had 1-2 dinners at the resort (2 in Shu's case) and then slept in the last crappy room with midget-sized beds. Sam looked funny sleeping cause the bed was about half his size. Shu joined us for sleeping after chatting up "Freckles and Blue Eyes" (two German girls he met by the fire) for the first half of the night.
Kendwa Rocks I
Following a heavy rain shower which kept us in bed a little longer than normal, we went for breakfast. The german girls came up beside us and we all reviewed our movements (of the bowels, a surprisingly common Tanzanian topic). We went to reception and upgraded ourselves to an $85 /night room on the first floor - far nicer!
The boys decided to follow the girls to the north of the island to Ngui, while we went scuba diving. We relaxed at the beach all morning. I jumped in the ocean a few times. There were fewer beach boys this morning so we didn't play red rover cross over.
Our dive master was called stoney - a big friendly looking island man. The boat was piratey and the oceans were mostly calm. We dived at Shane's Reef directly form the boat with no decent line. It was not especially brilliant and there as nothing big there but lots of small things to see. Leaf fish, rays, a seahorse, lion fish. The dive was 52 minutes down to 16m, and it just went with the slow current. I spent some of it upside down. On the way back we had watermelon, throwing the shell to the fish.
We waited back at the beach for the boys through lunch all the way up to dinner. We had a whiskey just before they joined. The had an adventure in a fishing village, ate local, then got lost on the way home.
At dinner there were drunken Australians singing Bohemian Rhapsody and Waltzing Matilda. We made sure not to let our accents slip, lest be roped into that mess.
Kendwa Rocks II
We woke up early and strolled to the beach for breakfast which increased in volume thanks to the room upgrade, which already paid off in the food alone. After, we went to the tourism office to book a spice tour for the next day and scooters to ride around. Since we needed a permit to replace the international driving licence from the local traffic authority, the lady said she needed until 12pm to arrange it.
We went down to the beach to kill the next 2 hours and the got ready, only to wait almost another 2 hours at reception for the permit to be arranged. Down on the sand Grég and Shu were approached by The Doctor of Kendwa Beach, asking if they wanted to go on a "beachy cruisey" or a spice tour. Shu talked trash and said that he'd ask the group. The Doctor seemed pleased by the negotiations and continued in a low voice: "Now, after all said, do you want to buy the weed?" Greg and Shu asked how much; it was something like TSH5000 for a joint. They decided not to go for it, but "maybe later". He cheerily answered: "That's ok. Hakuna matata. Anything you need, let me know. That's why they call me The Doctor".
In the end we did not get official permits, which were apparently 'lost' but a note in swahili with a stamp and the advice: "if the police stops you, call this number for help and give them money but no more than 1000TSH" (A THOUSAND shillings). With this good advice and a shifty paper, we took off, hoping the scooters would limit our range enough to not get as far as the first police checkpoint.
First we hade to refill at a swahili gas station. We were thankfully escourted because there was no way we could have identified it as such ourselves. With full tanks we drove off. Shu and Grég had a bit of a rough start but got there in the end. The drive was relatively boring, but the kids that all called out for us made it feel nice. We also got laughed at by one guy, not sure what that was about.
We reached the east coast of the island and had a dip on that side. The beach was nice, but there was a bit of a tidal current and the water was murky. We continued driving inland to then loop back and ran into the first police checkpoint. They were not convinced by out note, but very friendly and when reassure our tanks were full they let us drive on ... and ran into the second checkpoint only a few km down the road.
These guys were not so friendly. One of then, the bad cop, was accusing all 3 drivers of several offences: not being able to present a valid licence (apparently it has to be a class A), not being able to present a permit, etc... He wrote all charges down into a notebook that had the Eifel tower on the cover, insisting that we are now all suspects, there needs to be an investigation and that we had to appear in court the next day.
Noting down Shu's offences was amusing. First he got stuck on the name, then on the country, and finally concluded Shu should just say he was from Guinea. In the meantime his college, the good cop, was telling us how good fiends we all were and and that court would be a big problem, but we could solve this as a small problem - "you understand?" We weren't really up to bribing anyone and didn't have the cash for it anyway, so we did not understand.
Bad cop was saying he would keep the licences and the bikes, and it is not his obligation to care about how we got home. Good cop was suggesting a coke and some biscuits could solve the small problem. I offered him half a bottle of water, but the problem seemed to be too big for that.
We called the number we were given for help, telling them to arrange transport for us and they fucked up the permits. It was the guy who owns the motorbikes and he was not happy with the bikes being held hostage, and wanted us to to way a bribe. He talked to the police who were very agitated. Apparently the policeman told him to tell us to bribe him, but we are not so sure that is what was really discussed. We found out they were playing a game with us the get bribes, while one of them was actually upset about the way we got the permit (suspecting someone made money along the way).
After a while they got tired of the story and bad cop suggested he would confiscate our licences so that he can ensure we apear at the court the next day, but we can continue riding back so we do not get stranded. We pointed out that we cannot agree to that since we would be in bigger trouble at the next checkpoint if we did not have licences anymore. After another phone call to our contact and two hours in total (Shu casually commenting "booooring!") he gave up, handed back the licences and half heartedly told us to show up at the Mkokotoui police station at "38" the next morning. We turned around to avoid any further unknown checkpoints and got the hell out of there.
The sun was already low and Shu's dashboard was not working so we rushed in a sunset drive back to the resort. We just met the tourism office lady on the way home, complained about the permit and made her promise she would go to the police station for us (doubt she did).
Finally we had some food. The crappy waiters were not there that day and we had a good-looking guy that impressed us so much by actually being a waiter that it dominated our conversation. 3300TSH tip!