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Friday, July 22

Mozambique - Pemba

Mary: We stayed at Pemba Magic/Russell’s Place ($8 pppn) and felt privileged to have running water, electricity and internet again. On our first night we met the lovely Nick & Sally who kindly donated a bottle of – gasp! – THAI RED CURRY PASTE – when they heard how much I have been missing it. I was so chuffed and can’t wait to use it. They are on their way back to SA after a few months travelling and had loads of useful tips on where to go in the countries we are heading next.
We did chores and luxuriated in the hot water bucket showers as the previous 2 nights we had bathed in the sea (I guess that’s really just swimming then). I also gave myself a haircut as it was getting really long – its now really really short! (Brett: it looks really cool). We walked into town in the baking heat and headed for Pemba Dolphin, a cool cafe on the beach. It is kinda like a zoo, with tourists oggling locals oggling tourists Smile. We headed back and had sundowners on the beach and after a supper of spaghetti bolognaise we crashed into bed, lulled to sleep by the campsite bar’s Delta Goodrem CD (if you like Celine Dion you’ll love this) on continuous loop….”how could something so magic-magic, become something so tragic-tragic?” We wondered the same thing ourselves…
We went diving with Pieter from CI Diving – a really interesting guy who has been in Pemba for 18 years and came up from SA just after the war. The dive was brilliant – saw my first ever turtle, and a lion fish. Trying to mimic lions roaring underwater to ask Brett if it really was a lion fish was quite unsuccessful. The wall of coral was really unspoilt and beautiful, and the conditions were perfect with almost no current and really warm water – my kind of diving! We ate at Pieter’s Place and climbed up into his 1000 year old baobab.

Brett: We explored the town in the morning, shopping at Ozmons for basics (it is the only super market in town and has most things, but is expensive), and buying bread, fried dough balls, boiled eggs, cokes and vegetables from the local street sellers for cheap (each seller only has one of the items so you cover a lot of ground to get everything on your list). In the afternoon, we decided to go snorkelling off Wimbe Beach – there is an excellent coral reef 200m from the shore with tons of colourful fish. We were actually warned by a local that our original parking spot was not safe because of some dodgy looking kids hanging around, so we moved the car to the casino car park.
We have enjoyed Pemba with its white sands, warm turquoise waters and relaxed atmosphere much more than we expected to and ended up staying longer – 5 days in one town is a new record! For a change of scene, we moved to Pemba Dive and Bush Camp ($10 pppn) which has a really nice setting and is very well run with a lot of activities on offer. We had a braai on the beach with our 1.2kg of prawns (32 prawns of about 18cm long) - they were really good and somehow managed to finish the whole lot.
We read in the LP about a company (Fim do Mundo) running a liveaboard dhow around the Quirimbas which sounded fantastic, but it seems they are no longer running. There is one other person running a tourist dhow but it is hugely expensive. Instead, we will drive up the coast and catch the local dhows over to Ibo Island.

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