We made it to the lake!
On Wednesday afternoon we headed to the bus stop in Lusaka where we boarded a bus which was to take us to Mplungu, a small city on Lake Tanganyika. The bus ride was long, crowded, and often smelly (the bus also had a disconcerting abundance of roaches). At various stops along the way we had to pay one kwatcha (~20 cents US) to use the restrooms.
Zambian roads are terrifying. Our bus driver did not hesitate to pass any vehicles he felt moved too slow on the 1.75 lane road. I only slept an hour or two total, but feel pretty good now anyway.
Once in Mplungu, we were picked up by the Department of Fisheries who helped us move our gear and also shuttled us to our lodge. Upon arriving we got our gear organized, made sure nothing was damaged in the latter part of our journey, and had a delicious lunch that redefined fish and chips.
The lodge is simple but beautiful, and Augustine and Celestine who run the lodge along with their family are extremely friendly. Adam (from McMaster) and I are sharing a hut right on the lakes shore.
After lunch, we couldn’t resist to go in the water for a little snorkeling. I didn’t go further our than 3 meters, and just in that space the diversity of fish is unbelievable; dozens of species of cichlids, plus catfish, eels, and other assorted fish. The lake is beautiful; our lodge is at the southern shore. To our west is a huge rocky ridge, to our east we can barely see the opposite ridge (the lake is part of the African Rift Valley). Much closer to our east is the Forbidden Island, on which only men are allowed – more on that when at least some of the team visit it. All day fisherman have passed by in their wooden boats and nearly all of them have waved and said hello.
I am sure as soon as the sun goes down we will all quickly get tired, but as for now its pleasant to sit under shelter on the shore and watch the waves roll in. It is our hope in the next day or two that our compressor and tanks will be ready; and we’ll be able to see the species we came for: Neolamprologus pulcher.