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Published: June 15th 2010
smoke on the water
here's an event featured on bbc's planet earth.
the millions of lake flies mating on the water
The following morning we walked into town for some breakfast near the market. After fueling up mike and I decided to go for a hiked up a mountain dirt road that continued past the Mayoka lodge. As we gained elevation the gradient steepened and the view below of the bay got better and better. We got escorted to the top by a local who we met as we were passing him on the road. He lead us to a small village at the top where he left us to continue his daily errands. Soon enough we were accompanied by a black dog who the locals called “Blackie”. The dog led us through the trails up and around the hills. After about 1 ½ hr we decided to head back to the lodge for some lunch, Blackie led us all the way back and stayed at the lodge with the other resident dogs. After our delicious pancake lunch we decided to sign up for a 3hours boat trip. We first signed out some snorkeling gear, and headed out on the lake.
The guides first stopped on a lake side bar where Pink Floyd and Jimmy Hendrix were blasting from the sound system. We downed our beer and then the guides brought us to a site to feed an African bald Eagle dubbed as ‘Tony Blair’. The guide would whistle to it and then chuck a fish into the water near the boat. The eagle would then leap from its branch in the tree and swoop down close to the boat and then grab the fish with its talons and flew his way back to the tree to devour it. Our second stop on the boat tour was at a set of cliffs for us to jump off. After four or five dives, we equipped ourselves with our snorkeling and headed towards a set of rocks where the tropical fish were abundant. Lake Malawi has the largest diversity in fish than any other water fresh water body in the world. It is known that it has about 800- 1000 species, and Lake Malawi is the only lake in the world to have tropical fish, the colorful fish here are known as cichlids.
From the boat we would noticed what looked like heavy smoke on the water. For those who’ve seen BBC planet earth’s freshwater episode, they covered a segment on lake Malawi’s lake flies. The flies hatch from the depths of the lake and then make their way above the water surface to mate amongst millions and millions of other lake flies and create these enormous clouds that appear above the lake. Early explorers used to write about a lake on fire and smoke coming from it. After snorkeling we headed to a beach located in a small fishing village. There we would play a beach soccer game against the locals, I played for about an hour until my bare feet got so raw they started bleeding. We then headed back to the lodge but stopped again to feed the bald eagles ‘tony blair’ and his partner ‘Condoleezza Rice’.
Back at the lodge we had a special curried chicken dinner, another delicious meal offered by the mayoka resort. During supper we met and chatted with a group of Dutch girls and then headed out with them to watch the ENGLAND-USA soccer game at the same bar as the previous night. At the bar there seemed to be a descent group of Americans and British people watching the game. When USA tied the game, the Americans would not shut up until the game ended. After the game a local invited us and the Dutch girls to the local dance club. Nervous at first, we decided to see the night scene in Nhakata bay. The first club we attended consisted of a small room packed full of local men dancing and maybe four women. Inside there was a pool table that some where playing on, but I couldn’t figure out how they played without backing their pool cues into people in such a small and packed room. We decided to try another club just down the street from our first one. The second club was bigger and had separate rooms for pool and dancing, but for some reason it was empty, we couldn’t understand why. After a beer there we decided to go back to the lodge to mingle with the other foreigners.
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