A friend had recommended Ilha Blue & there was also a brochure in my hotel. It was good to know the owners only employ local people & focus on local capacity building. I found all the staff to be knowledgeable, very pleasant & helpful, so I really enjoyed the time I spent with them.
First I went beach-combing with Selemani to find ancient trade beads that had washed up on the shore from the shipwrecks around the island. I found exactly two while Selemani’s sharp eyes picked up a handful, together with porcelain pieces. No Ming porcelain for me sadly, though divers have found some in the past.
Secondly we went by traditional dhow to look for whales & again the sharp eyes of the staff made sure we saw whales, dolphins & turtles. Our day was complete after snorkelling, followed by a delicious lunch on a tranquil deserted island. My next adventure was to take a bike ride around the island, once again with the knowledgeable Selemani. I had done a short walking tour when I first arrived with a lad who purported to be one of the hotel’s official guides (who I later found was not) but his English was poor & his information was often incorrect. So it was a pleasure to cycle slowly round the island with Selemani & learn about all the different buildings, cultures & activities. As well as the historical information, he told me where to find good food & coffee, how to buy a ticket to visit the fortress, where to swim, etc.
My last trip with Ilha Blue, since I was on the island when there was a blue moon, was by dhow to Sena Island, also called Ilha das Cobras. This island is only reachable at low tide, so Ilha Blue organises a night’s camping with delicious seafood meals so that visitors can take kayaks to a hidden lagoon at the back that only fills at high tide. A beautiful lagoon surrounded by mangroves, I had the impression of being on a volcano lake because the water enters via underwater passages – some of us followed the underwater passages to the outer caves. Our beautiful moonlit night was somewhat spoilt by a rain storm that blew in very rapidly from the ocean, unexpected by everyone and very unusual, which was a pity. I am tall & the blanket we were given wasn’t big enough for me, especially when the tent leaked at the sides, so I wished I had brought a light sleeping bag, but that was the only hitch in a wonderful trip. The staff were quick & efficient & were especially concerned about my safety getting in & out of the boat. A wonderful few days.
Isla G – Harare, Zimbabwe
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