An Article by Francesco Zezza
LAKE MALAWI … below the water line!!!
Having, at last, got a digital scanner able to handle ALSO colour slides here begins one of my dreams: share with MCH visitors what I’ve seen, and photographed, during my dives at Lake Malawi. For this first, long overdue, step I’ll refer to my very first dive (actually were two in the same day) at Lundo Island; along the Tanzanian coast of Lake Malawi (a bit norther of Mbamba Bay). It has been our first ever day of diving in Lake Malawi. A day I’ll never forget, believe me …
Now before moving on to underwater pics a few notes from my dive log; we reached our dive point on a small motor boat from our main camp at Chinula Camp (to be as clear as possible, see the pictures below for details of the environment as we saw it). Jannadi, our chief of support team (and clever diver) calmly explains us what we’re going to do. Ready? Let’s go diving, then ... :
The lake as seen at the left edge of Chinula beach
Crystal clear water plays with sun ...
Dive number 375 (10th October 1997). Bottom time: 57 minutes, max depth: 13 m (39 ft). Boat dive, the lake is calm, sky partially cloud. Lot of cichlids (how strange, isn’t it?). Too excited to identify them all so I have to mention [at least] lots of Aulonocara and M’bunas.
Dive number 376 (10th October 1997). Bottom time: 41 minutes, max depth: 8 m (24 ft). Boat dive, the lake surface is slightly rough, a bit of mud/silt/sand is floating mid-water. We spot more Aulonocara (steveni?) and Pseudotropheus zebra “Red Top” (likely), a huge nest – abandoned – in the sand (I was been told that it was built by Dimidiochromis kiwinge), Malawi crabs are moving along the rocks. I’m soaked in my dream …
And here we go with the pics:
Stefania during our dive ...
Two shots (M'buna) clearly showing two things:
1) Frank is absolutely right when he suggests to use large boulders to aquascape a tank (bottom picture)
2) No need (really!) to use coral sand in Malawi tanks (look and learn, please ...)
The fish in the top photos could be a Pseudotropheus sp. "Msobo" female (of the same kind George & Frank are, actually housing in their tanks); the parent trio had been caught (it was back in 1997) in this area.
And ahead (and deeper!) we go
Another M'buna (time will come for other fishes). The picture is dark because of the lack of light at this depth (and of the incorrect use of flash light by me...) but the fish displayed is a male guarding its cave
continued in next page..
Footnote: All pics (above and below the water) were shot by me; not to be reproduced without permission. I've also rearranged the map to suit the needs of this article.
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