Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pemba from above, part 1

The dark clouds hanging over the airport worried us. The forecasts in the internet were not good, with chances of precipitation over Zanzibar estimated in the high 80% range. Our schedules did not allow us great flexibility though and moving our aerial survey to some other day was not an option. June was not supposed to be wet but weather in Africa, as in most parts of the world, is unpredictable and the May rains have been lingering in Tanzania up to the present time.

shifting sands of Pemba's south channel
shifting sand bars in the south channel of Pemba island, Zanzibar, Tanzania, East Africa

Kangani seaweed farms
seaweed farms in Kangani, south of Pemba island

The pilot assured us that rains come in patches but generally, most of Zanzibar would still be dry. The timing already was perfect- it was low tide that mid-morning and we should be able to see clearly the seaweed farms that we would be inspecting. Without much discussion, we decided to go ahead. All five of us needed to go to Pemba anyway and the air charter meant just paying for the entire 12 seats of the Cessna 208B grand caravan.

an isolated beach in South Pemba
an isolated beach in one of the many islets in South Pemba

the South channel of Pemba
a shallow reef where two channels meet, South Pemba

To our delight, the drizzle went away upon our takeoff at 9AM and the sun came out. While clouds still hang low over most of our trip, the sun did not disappoint and we were treated with the glory that is Zanzibar.

0939 aerial South channel_30-1
a shoal that appears only during low tide, South Pemba

0939 aerial South channel_24 Chokocho-1
seaweed farms at the banks of the village of Chokocho, South Pemba

To go: Pemba is a large island north of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago that is part of Tanzania, East Africa. There are regular fast crafts and flights between Zanzibar and Pemba. Air charters can be arranged from various operators like the one we made with Tropical Air at +255 24 223 2511.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you have some great arial photos on Pemba and Zanzibar, I wonder if i could ppost them on my facebook, of cource will name you as the source. i saw one breathtaking photo of shifting sands of pemba through one of my facebook was fantastic

kind regards