mafia island

A few pictures from the Mafia Island trip. We took a small plane to the island; on the way back I got to sit in the co-pilots seat. The hotel had multi-course meals… so easy to gain weight while on vacation.

The dive boat was a dhow, a traditional sailing / fishing boat. We motored out to dive sites and then sailed back. Our diving was done at the Mafia Island Marine Park, and it was absolutely fantastic. Turtles (my first ever to see while diving), sharks, moray eels, sting rays, soft coral, and thousands and thousands of fish of all sizes.

Swimming with the whale sharks was on the last day, an it was outstanding. I first read about whale sharks in National Geographic years ago, and have since wanted to see them. Of course this means being in the right place at the right time. I’ve included two pictures of me swimming with the whale sharks. In the first one you can see the spots on the whale shark. In the second you can see its first dorsal fin.

The smallest of the whale sharks were 2-3 meters in length, and, as our guide said, “Are like human children: fast and impossible to keep up with.” The largest whale sharks were around 10 meters in length, and I could swim next to them for a bit of time. I was swimming right next to the head of a particularly large one and it’s eye kept moving with me. Kind of wild to be watched so closely by such a large creature that is within an arm’s reach. Another time I was watching the full length of a large one slide by and did not quite make it out of the way of its tail…though not sharp, it was hard and I have a bruise on my shin… a bruise that I am not all that disappointed about. If you ever get a chance, do not pass up the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures!

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