Upon the island of Juani off the shores of Mafia Island lies Kua Ruins dating from the 12th century. Off a long, narrow channel between the island and the sea, a short walk from the shore of the channel, lies the Blue Lagoon. That sounded too cool to pass up. So I arranged a boat to take me out there, and a guide to show me around. These things I saw: ruins of much oldness, a lagoon of much blueness, and a sunset of much redness. But as usual it was the journey which proved the most awesome.
We started out on a rubber dinghy, which was to take us to the first stop to see the ruins. The Rubber Duck as they called it. As soon as I saw it, there was obviously a problem. A hole in the side of the boat had been patched, and was clearly leaking. No problem. Bring a scuba tank, basically pressurized air, and a bit of rubber pipe, just in case. In the sea. With a leaky boat. What could go wrong? All good I was assured...
As we approach the shores of Chole Island, about a kilometer from shore, the boat is clearly not quite as firm as when it started. Limp might be over stating the rigidity somewhat. Out comes the scuba tank, and the rubber pipe. And lo, the Rubber Duck was resurrected. At this point though we clearly have a problem. After some debate, we head back from whence we came, caution and all that.
Thus did we transfer from a light, agile, high riding dinghy, to a really cool looking, but significantly larger and low riding wooden sail boat. Remember this snippet as this escapade unfolds...
First thing to do is move the engine from el Rubber Duck over to the wooden boat. Engines I can attest are heavy. Particularly when being transferred between two moving platforms. And finger crushing.
With the engine moved over, someone clearly now has to get the Rubber Duck back to shore. Not I, spake the mzungu. Paddle Picasso, paddle!
And thus we set figurative sail, headed 2 kilometers out for Kua Ruins. We approach Juani island, and set anchor in an amazing bay. This thing must have been used by pirates. It practically screams for pirates to have been here.
The ruins are many. Walls of buildings remain, where the trees haven't started to eat away.
Pretty much the entire town is visible in some form or another. Walls as think as this last a while.
Prison cells, apparently next door to the vault. Seems like a bit of poor planning to me. Who's to say. Deep wells.
And a very cool looking grave site, complete with Arabic inscription.
And then back onto the boat. Did I mention how truely piratey this little bay was?
We head around the island, bound for the Blue Lagoon, down narrow channel, between the main island heading to a bay. Timing for this little escapade is somewhat critical, as it's really only navigable at high tide.
At low tide, not much water herein lies. And therein lies the problem. Recall a while back, I mentioned we had to switch from a low riding, agile boat, to a much larger, much lower riding wooden vessel. Well, that little fact become fairly important when navigating a narrow channel, with the tide going out. Things happen in those situations. Things that require people getting out of the boat. Getting out of the boat and pushing. Pushing the big, heavy, not agile, wooden boat. Yes indeedey, we grounded.
Several tight moments later, we were off again. Until, obviously, we got stuck again. Push. Move. Stuck. Jump. Push. Move. Stuck. At some point we decide this cycle is a little tedious, and so start actually looking for a channel, with the help of a big trusty stick. This time tested expedient works surprisingly well. Other boats had not the fortitude, got stuck, push and ran away the Blue Lagoon never to see. We four adventurers though, we laughed in the face of low tide. Really, we did.
We finally motored the boat into a small inlet, jumped out, and rushed a few hundred meters through the bush, to the Blue Lagoon. A very cool, very hidden pool of very blue water. Of course, this being low tide (did I mention that), much of the water was gone, replaced with leaves and other natural detritus. But still, it was an amazing sight. Pirates had definitely chilled out here.
We on the other hand didn't have much time, what with the tide going out and all. We still had to re-navigate the channel... 30 minutes after we last got stuck, 30 minutes with the tide still going out.
The way back was remarkably easy in comparison to the way in. Now we knew where the deeper water was. at this point though, the sun started to set. The sun, across the sea, in beautiful 75 degree weather. Phenomenal.
The sun, across the sea, with Saturn peaking through the darkness. Priceless.
All of that with only a camera phone... yeah, well, let's not discuss that.