Monday, July 21, 2008

Chumbe Island

Chumbe Island is amazing. It is an island previously used as a military post and later bought by a German environmental NGO. It is now an eco-resort and official environmentally protected area. The result is a group of self-sustaining solar-powered and rain-water huts, an ecology teaching center, and the best diversity of coral reef in all of East Africa. I saw some really crazy coral types that I had never seen before while snorkeling in the protected zone around Chumbe. The water was a bit turbulent, so the visibility in the photos I took was limited – the photos don’t do the actual coral justice. You’ll just have to visit the island yourself.

The eco-bandas were incredible: rainwater is collected and filtered through extremely fine ceramics (something nutty like 0.0000002 mm pores) to remove even microbial particles. Solar panels collected enough energy to power a few lights and a little fan. A solar tank warmed the rainwater to take showers with. My shower was hot! The toilet was a compost toilet – and didn’t smell at all because it was done well and cared for. And the used water was filtered and recycled to be used to water plants.

It was cool to see a place staffed entirely by East Africans (most were local Tanzanians, and one transplant Kenyan) trained in and teaching hardcore environmental protection practices.

I only wished we stayed longer. Maybe another time.

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