What more could you ask for in a rest day – waking up on a beach to the sunrise peeking into your tent, a full English breakfast at a beach bar, my first run since starting the tour (I felt like a newborn chick testing its wings) and a fishing adventure with local fishermen. Our day at Chitimba Beach on Lake Malawi left me feeling completely relaxed and in awe of the beauty that Malawi has to offer. One of our co-riders Chris, who is a big fisherman back home on Vancouver Island, organized a little outing on the lake with Bob, a local rastafarian whose father owns a small fishing boat. Eight of us loaded into the green wooden boat with five Malawians and set out into the lake in search of dinner. The boat seemed a little unstable at first, but once we got moving it was smooth ‘sailing’ and she held up well.
We fished using simple drop lines with half a dozen hooks on them, attaching pieces of small mackrel type fish as bait. The local fisherman set up the lines and dropped them about 25 meters, and when something bit us tourists got to reel it in and feel the pride of the catch. I caught a blue fish, a beautifully colorful fish, while others caught a variety of other small fish of various shapes and colors. Lake Malawi is home to many unique species of cichlids, the type of fish valued for the aquarium beauty and for a major source of protein for Malawians living near the lake . Once out in the lake, Kendra and I went for a much antipicpated swim. The water was a perfect temperature and so clear we could see each other under water from several meters away. It was amazing floating out there in the middle of the lake, looking back towards the hills where Livingstonia lies, spotting a waterfall where legend has it locals hid from slave traders in past centuries, and scanning the kilometers of beautiful beaches that the line the lake.
On the way back in to shore Kendra and I took turns taking a nap, letting the movement of the boat through the waves lull us into a cozy sleep. We returned to our camp on the beach excited about our small catch and Chris cleaned the fish and added them to a BBQ that the TdA staff had going for dinner. It was a wonderful way to end the day before we headed back to our tents to fall asleep to the sound of frogs in the nearby marsh and the waves lapping up on the Lake Malawi shore.