Dolphins & spice

Look, there’s a dolphin! Just kidding. My photo of Zanzibar fishermen will have to do.

On New Year’s Eve we got up early (5:00 am) and hired a boat to see wild dolphins off the south coast of Zanzibar. We had to get up early because dolphins don’t come out later in the day. It’s too warm.

Now let’s reflect on that thought. Intelligent mammals whose home is the water find it too warm to make an appearance after 8:00 am. This might give some indication of how crazy humans are who sit around a pool in the beating sun. Mad dogs and Englishmen…

We arrived at the beach about 45 minutes away and were met with fishermen setting off in boats, as well as other tourists getting ready to see dolphins.

We piled into a fibreglass boat with another Swedish family from our resort. No lifejackets or other safety features, of course!

Along with about 15 other boats we headed east in search of dolphins. We managed to see a few, and even headed into the water with flippers to get a better view. But with all the boats the animals were likely feeling harassed, and left the area fairly quickly.

Nutmeg seed covered in red mace

Nutmeg seed covered in red mace

The day before we took an interesting tour of a spice farm. We were not expecting much because going on the tour was really our way to get to Stone Town nearby. We needed to get some cash as all the ATMs were down when we arrived (credit cards are almost never used here). We have been begging for food from the hotel restaurant ever since (a.k.a. running a tab).

Our guide cut leaves, dug up roots and slashed stems to let out sap so we could guess which spice we were looking at. It was not easy! Dried grocery store spices smell nothing like the fresh plant in front of you. The smells and tastes were amazing.

One of the most interesting finds was nutmeg. It comes in a large nut that when split open, reveals a smaller, brown seed inside. The seed is cover in a red alien life form that is actually mace. The seed is dried and ground into nutmeg, and the mace is used for a variety of things ranging from air freshners to personal protection.

We watched a man scale a coconut tree with only a sling around his feet. Another farm worker decorated us with accessories made from flowers and banana leaves. Crazy mzungus (white people)!

Decked out in banana leaves and flowers

Decked out in banana leaves and flowers

9 Comments on “Dolphins & spice

  1. I must say Heather you look a little scared/freaked out. I am reasonably confident that that hat will not alter your brain in any way.
    Al, never seen you look so DABBER!
    Girls, the jewelry becomes you.
    Happy New Year.
    Nadine

  2. To see dolphin on the first day of the year is definitely going to be a memory that lasts for a lifetime. You rock!
    Happy New Year, family! Wish you all the best in life and travel.

    Regards,
    Johny

  3. What a wonderful experience to visit a spice farm and learn more about the spices we use. I am waiting with great interest to see how this year is going to affect your cooking skills…(yum, yum)Your banana leaf & flower accessories are incredibly creative & beautiful.
    Happy New Year to all of you!
    Much love from grandma Jen.

  4. Another great story! Love the read! What an awesome picture of you all – WOW!
    Happy New Year 2016

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