Tag: Diving

The Spice Islands of Zanzibar, Tanzania

Situated on the Swahili Coast, adjacent to Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania), lies one of the most beautiful islands in East Africa.  Formerly known as a center for spice and slave trading in the 19th century, Zanzibar is much more than a stopping point on an itinerary, it’s 1,020 square miles of pure adventure waiting to be explored.

Whether you are an avid diver, beach comber, hopeless romantic, shopaholic, love horseback riding, enjoy fine dining or just want to escape and explore new destinations, Zanibar has something for you.

One of the first things you will notice are the countless miles of untouched beaches, romantic, pristine, untouched pieces of paradise waiting to message your feet.  Since this island is not a high traffic tourist destination, there are plenty of beautiful seashells to be found in the early mornings, before the locals awake to gather these gems for the market.
Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar

Zanzibar hosts many luxury resorts waiting to pamper your every need.  While I stayed at several resorts on the island, my favorite is the Sea Cliff Resort situated on the east cost, 25 minutes north of Stone Town.  Whether you like horseback riding, golf, sailing, fine dining, the spa or simply relaxing by one of their two infinity pools, Sea Cliff will sooth your senses.

Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar

Riding, Sea Cliff Resort, Zanzibar
David Loughlin

Equestrian lovers will find pleasure in riding horses across the tropical countryside into emerald green waters.
David Loughlin

Private Beach @ Sea Cliff Resort
Enjoy one of the private beaches reserved for guests only.
David Loughlin

Nothing like a a couple of beers, a several hour nap and waking to this scenic view.  Ahhh Yeah.
David Loughlin

D I V E R   D O W N

Whether you enjoy snorkeling or deep water diving, Zanzibar offers an array of excursions to meet your needs.
David Loughlin

Diving The Royal Navy Lighter shipwreck at 30m, Zanzibar
David Loughlin

Exploring artifacts below.
David Loughlin

Shoppers Delight
If you love to barter, then the markets of Stone Town are the place for you.  The city is a virtual maze of alleyways all lined with merchants eager to sell their goods.

Rooftop shot at 5:30 am atop the Maru Maru Hotel, Stone Town, Zanzibar.  Maru Maru means Tile Tile.
David Loughlin

The best deals are waiting to be had if your bartering skills are firm.  Whether you are looking for coffee, fresh vanilla, fish, antiques, artwork or what ever tickles your fancy, you will find it in the market in Stone Town.  Be willing to walk if you do not get the price you want, the merchant will follow you for blocks to seal the deal.
David Loughlin

Open air fish market in Stone Town.  Some unique smells for sure.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

Day Excursions – Prison Island
There are plenty of day excursions to keep you busy.  Just a 30 minute boat ride from Stone Town lies a little piece of paradise named Prison Island.  This was a former prison, turned tourist attraction that also serves as an animal preserve for the endangered tortoise population.
David Loughlin

The snorkeling is spectacular and the waters are pristine.  Abundant coral lines the ocean floor, rich with a spectacular variety of tropical fish, star fish and much more.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

We passed some locals fishing on our way to Prison Island.
David Loughlin

The road to vanilla heaven.  Before departing for East Africa I created a bucket list of items I wanted to purchase in each country.  Coffee and chocolate were on the list for every country while vanilla was my primary target from both Madagascar and this island of Zanzibar.  Below are photos of one journey to a vanilla plantation located in the middle of the island.

Farm Country…getting close.

Young vanilla on the vine.

History of slavery is ever present.  This is a former slave cave, over 100 years ago, slaves were stored in these caves after a full day of labor on the spice plantations.


David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Fishing boats.
David Loughlin

Below:  A local spear fishing mid day to feed his family.
David Loughlin

The blue Monkey.  It does exist.
David Loughlin

These kids from a local village want to model for the camera.

Double Rainbow
David Loughlin

Boats
David Loughlin

Foul weather ahead as the sun begins to set.
David Loughlin

Very relaxing evening.
David Loughlin


 

Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

David Loughlin – Exploring Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

I love islands and the feeling of sand on my feet. Exploring new islands is one of the best feelings ever.  The Indonesian archipelago has more than ten thousand islands, only a few places on earth that create a blank canvas for explorers.  Nusa Lembongan lies just off the coast of Bali, located about 11 kilometers southeast of the main island. It is a small island with the length of 4.6 kilometers at its longest point and width of 1.5 kilometers at its widest.  Only a 30 minute ride by speed boat and your in paradise.

D R E A M   B E A C H
This statue gazing out to sea says it all and gave me inspiration to return to Singapore again, before heading to North and East Africa weeks later.  Singapore, now there is an interesting country.  I have visited Singapore three times this year already,  vastly expanding my wardrobe from all of the great deals and and new Asian designs.  Between Africa and South East Asia, my wardrobe has increased in size by about 45% which made me realize that I have a thing for shoes.
David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Looking out to see from Dream beach with the Devils Tears behind me and Dream Beach to the left.  Exploring this beautiful island.  The roads on these tropical islands are serene.

D E V I L S   T E A R S
David Loughlin

Tourist parking.

The view of Jungatbatu Village from the hilltop above.

On approach to the island…the bay is lined with resorts perched atop the lush green hilltop.  Take some time and resort hop and see what each resort offers, grab lunch at your favorite place.

Boat bobbing in the sea.  My view from a cliff side cafe as I mingle with a group of German ladies on holiday.


David Loughlin

Seashells are like memories
I have combed some of the most remote island beaches over the past 4 months.  Many of the beaches have loads of seashells for the taking.  Just be sure to get up early and beat the locals as they clean the beaches of these beauties before 6:00 am.   Many are the largest and most colorful shells I have ever seen and so abundant I gathered about 15 pounds of them, extra luggage was required.

Picked this Indonesian bridal necklace up in Sorong, a chartered coastal city in the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua.  Hand made of shells and red coral, this piece of art weighs pounds and is almost 3 feet long.  Returning home with this in perfect condition was not easy.  Not sure what to do with it.

Diving Nusa Lembongan
Nothing like a day of diving with Capt. Morgan, not his real name of course, but much easier to pronounce.  What a great human being.

Another beautiful day in Indonesia. Magnanimous, grateful and blessed to be here at this point in time.

Australia – The Great Barrier Reef Diving

I feel grateful to have visited this beautiful country.  We traveled here to catch a ship headed for Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji).  During my visit I had the pleasure of visiting Kuranda, a sleepy town inland from the ocean.  A several hour sunset boat trip, several great meals and we were off on our tour of Melanesia.

Headed to Kuranda on the tram.

The Kuranda railway offers a scenic trip back to town.

Rock on, feeling great.

 

 

Solomon Islands – Diving Guadalcanal

Pulling into the Solomon Islands it was clear that life on these islands moves at a slower, more relaxed pace.  The beautiful beaches and lush canopy creates the impression that these islands are a lost paradise.  It’s hard to imagine that these islands were the center of attention during WWII.  Hundreds of ships lay to rest at the bottom of the ocean, just waiting to tell their story.

Pretty simple port, just a loading dock and some warehouses.

My future home on the beach.

Diving the IJN Kinugawa Maru, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

The diving on this island was fantastic.  While the visibility was a bit murky, the underwater treasures make for some adventurous diving.  Plenty of ships to explore, each with a unique story.

Vanuatu – Port Vila & Espiritu Santo Diving

We pulled into Port Villa, Vanuatu around 7:00 am in the morning.  Quiet, calm seas and sunny skies.  I shot some photos of the rock formations (not seen here) as we made our way to dock.  This was an interesting island to visit with its’ open air market and small shops and cool dive spots.

David Loughlin

Good morning Vanuatu.  So excited to dive and explore this island.  View from our ship early morning, looking back towards the entrance of the harbor.

Locals selling their goods in the open air market.

Went up the hill to see if I could get some uncirculated bundles of money at the central bank.  Took this shot at the bottom of the hill.

Early morning dive.  Heading out and got this view of the Iriki hotel in Port Villa from the dive boat.

 

S. S.  P R E S I D E N T   C O O L I D G E
E S P I R I T U   S A N T O – V A N U A T U
Love when I meet new friends while abroad.  I met this couple in the South Pacific who live near me.  What a small world.  The following high resolution images are courtesy of Ian Lennard & Carrie Berkovich.  Thanks guys for sharing and beautiful images.

Live mortar rounds laying around.  Photo of Ian Lennard

Carrie Berkovich peering into cargo hold 1.

Carrie Berkovich playing with guns on deck.

Carrie Berkovich examines a live mortar round.

 

Exploring cargo hold #1

M I L L I O N   D O L L A R   P O I N T
L U G A N V I L L E – V A N U A T U
This dive site was named Million Dollar Point for a reason.  After WWII the U.S. Armed Forces attempted to sell millions of dollars worth of jeeps, bulldozers, trucks, fork lifts, tractors, unopened boxes of clothing and cases of Coca-Cola, etc. to anyone who wanted them.  Since nobody wanted to buy them, the military bulldozed everything into the ocean to spite those who would not buy.  This act left behind a graveyard of junk from WWII.

Old tugboat at the bottom of the bay.  The first man made thing I approached on this dive.

The deck of the tugboat.

Love this guy.  Ian Lennard.

Old forklift at the bottom of the bay.

Hey, is this camera still on?

Jeeps and old WWII vehicles all over down here.

More trucks.

Old buildings and structures just decomposing.

T W I N   B O M M I E S
P O R T  V I L A  – V A N U A T U
This was a spectacular dive.  The healthiest sea life and reef that I have ever experienced at that time.
Enjoy the video, I have not extracted stills from this one yet, so sit back, relax and enjoy this dive.

Turks & Caicos

Ever feel like you just want to escape with your favorite book and get lost on a remote island somewhere?  That’s exactly what I did on this trip to Turks & Caicos.  Book in hand, music loaded and off I went.  This was one of the most relaxing weeks of my life.  In addition to relaxing, I had an opportunity to dive these waters and experience first hand how healthy these waters are.

By the end of the week I made this Hobie Cat my bitch as I mastered the art of sailing on one hull.  What a fun time.  I met a redhead who loved to sail…got a little wild on the Hobie Cat with her and the resort sent someone out to keep things PG-13.  Oops!  I was in such good shape that I was asked to model some mens summer wear on stage in return for some fun clothing, so what the heck.  It was my first experience back stage getting dressed with a bunch of naked women at a fashion show…lots of fun and flirting going on.

I highly recommend these islands to anyone who loves white sand beaches, sleepy settings and just plain old relaxing.  There are lots of things to explore on the islands also, so do your research and have a great time.

Mexico – Diving in Playa Blanca

Completely burned out from a consulting gig in Denver, I needed a vacation to recharge, so  I booked a trip to Mexico near a sleepy village named Playa Blanca.  The next thing I know I was on a chartered plane full of single people enjoying cocktails heading south.

After clearing customs, I boarded a bus for an hours drive through some of the most beautiful banana plantations and lush jungle I had ever seen.  Upon arrival at my hotel, I was greeted by staff with a beautiful margarita and a tour of the grounds.

A week of bliss, just what I was looking for.  Met a few ladies to dive with and had a wonderful time on the beach and at the pool.  Lots of dancing and diving.

Stairway to cliffside villas with a spectacular view of the bay.