Stuck in the Sand: Sodwana Bay
|Deep sandy roads in Sodwana|
We saw the Triton Dive Lodge sign, but looked for any other way to get there. Our little Ford Fiesta would not like the deep sand of the road past the sign. But after a few failed attempts at finding another route including accidentally driving into the local elementary school, as it was releasing all of its students, we decided to make a run for it on the sand road. The first turn was pretty deep sand but the little car made it through. The next kilometer was a bit terrifying as the car was only centimeters from bottoming out on the raised sand in between the deep tracks. Finally we saw the lodge and as we made the final turn we hit the softest sand yet. The underpowered front wheel drive decided then to spin and spin until it dug the front of the car to sand level. Luckily we were right in front of the lodge and you could tell this happens often because they jumped into action and had us hooked up to a tractor in no time.
Once we heard that lodging was 25% off we upgraded to the two bedroom chalet which turned out to be quite nice, especially since we both came down almost immediately with the travelers bug. So while we were both down for a couple of days at least we had a nice comfortable space to get over it. Unfortunately we were missing some prime diving. But this stuff happens when you are on the road for a while so we tried to rest up, got some movies in, and just relaxed a bit.
After 24 hours I was feeling up to try a dive. I had forgotten just how much of a scene the dive beach was here in Sodwana. All the shops use sturdy RIB’s or zodiacs. They trailer them down to the waters edge, then hook up the trailer to a tractor, who then takes it in to the water with the help of all of us. When you get it deep enough for the captain to lower the engine he yells for everyone to jump in. You quickly pass out lifejackets then hold on for dear life and he guns it through the breaking wave zone. There were some head high breaking waves this day but they use their speed to maneuver around the impact zones and make it out past the breakers. They pause over the dive sight, and gear everyone up, then on the count of 3 everyone does a backwards roll off into the water.
|Blue spotted stingray|
After the dive you surface and flag the boat down. They grab your gear and you propel yourself out and up onto the boat. Once again the lifejackets come out and go on. Then you look for dolphins or whale sharks or whales on your way back. Again you hold on for joy as the captain rockets back through the breaking waves and slides up on the beach at top speed. It can’t be easy for the boats but they seem to take this daily beating and keep on going according to the dive guides.
|New nudibranch in Sodwana|
On this day the conditions were choppy, wavy, not very good vis, overcast, and incredibly surgy. It was a lot like how I imagine diving in a washing machine would feel like. So not very good for photos since in the time it takes to focus on the subject you would be swept ten feet away by the surge. There were plenty of fish of all sizes, some big schools, colorful coral, and a couple of nudibranchs. I would love to catch this place on a really calm sunny day.
Triton Dive Shop Prices: Gear Rental $20, Scuba Dive $28