. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: April 20, 1999

Tuesday, April 20, 1999
Sodwana Bay, South Africa
South Africa's Flag

Sodwana Bay, South Africa:
Latitude: 27° 30' 43" South
Longitude: 32° 39' 38" East
Altitude: 101 feet
From Seattle: 12008 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Sodwana Bay Lodge

Today's Travel:
Country: South Africa
Region: KwaZulu-Natal
Weather: Mostly Sunny

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 740
Linear Dist: 141834
Countries Visited: 53
Regions Visited: 209
More stats...
Hotels: 207
Friends / Family: 160
Camping: 107
Hostels: 204
Transit: 55
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 2857

Journal Entry:
An amazing day on the water. Brett, Darrelle, and I were at the beach by a quarter past seven - no one was waiting on us today! The first dive was at Seven Mile Reef - which meant quite a long ride out there. About 20 minutes into the ride we spotted a school of dolphins. Threw on the snorkeling gear and jumped in the water. Today they were a lot more friendly and played with us or just completely ignored us. The highlight was a trio (!!) of dolphins doing the wild thing - the third one seemed to be helping his mate's aim. Pretty wild! We spent a good forty five minutes with them before the dive master called time - or we weren't going to have time to do the dive before heading back.

The diving was much nicer today. The visibility was better and there's a much more impressive selection of fish and and more live coral. Poking into one of the many little cave found a three foot long sea turtle sleeping.

The second dive was at Two Mile Reef, the nearest reef. The visibility wasn't nearly as good as this morning, but it was still a nice dive. Way more exciting than the dive was the ride back. It's only a couple minutes back to shore, but almost immediately Greg (the Dive Master) spotted a Whale Shark! Once again we quickly threw on the snorkeling gear and jumped in. It was amazing the whale shark just ignored us and I swam under it, around it, in front of it - even touching it! According to Greg it's only a small one, but at twenty-five feet long it's by far the biggest living thing I've ever touched. I was floating about a foot above it's head when I realized that the width of it's head was greater than my height. Quite honestly it's the biggest thing I've ever (and hope to ever) swim with. Definitely one of the highlights of my life.

Brett and I went on a night dive, Darrelle decided to skip it. We met down on the beach and put the boat in - very different experience than during the day - we had to do all the work ourselves for one! We boated back out to 2 mile reef and waited for the sun to set and then to get dark. We spent about an hour waiting for it to get completely dark - cold. Immediately remembered why it's so cool to dive at night. It's a whole different world. The bio-luminescence made it absolutely magical - every movement resulted in a miniature fireworks display. Saw another big turtle and a couple eels but nothing to exciting. Near the end of the dive as we started to ascend I started to get dizzy. At the surface it got worse - I thought it might be a touch of vertigo but it continued on to shore. For the third time today the boat ride eclipsed the dive for excitement. It was insane. The skipper stopped just outside the surf, fired off a flare into the sky - which only gives about 30 seconds light so he hammered it in to shore at full speed straight over anything in the way - a very bumpy ride! Hit the shore at full speed and ran it so far up the shore that there was ten feet of dry sand behind the boat! It was like something out of the cartoons. Back at hotel had a couple beers, but still was still feeling a little disoriented so I went to bed.

[Original entry lost. Reconstructed from notes 7/13/99]

Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: South Africa
CIA World Fact Book: South Africa

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