Before lunch, we decided to get wet finally and go for a dive in Lake Malawi. The little zodiac took us out to Kande Island, where we hopped out and were happy to discover that between the fresh water and the lack of a wetsuit, we actually didn't need a weight belt at all! The water was a balmy 82°F, and despite the 15 foot visibility, it was fun to cruise and check out the fresh water marine life. There are actually only three types of fish in Lake Malawi - minnows, catfish, and a broad type called chiclids, which come in hundreds of different colourful subspecies. We cruised around and found tons of them, some fresh water snails and crabs, and a few catfish - one up to about 2 feet long! Also notable was a 1970's era Volkswagen car that was randomly scuttled to the bottom of the lake. It was fun to get wet more than anything else, and to say we've done a fresh-water-high-altitude dive in Lake Malawi!
One of the other things we had heard about here that appealed to both of us was to go horseback riding. The two of us and Charlotte were paired up with some beautifully kept horses at the local ranch - Ken on a big leggy dapple grey mare named Clover, and me on a spunky bay gelding named Free Passage. We rode through the leafy forest, through maize and cassava fields scattered across the countryside and tended to by women and children who popped out of the bushes as we trotted by. We were able to get in a nice long gallop stretch across a field, jump a few logs on the trail, and eventually we came out onto the beach just south of our camp. We ditched the saddles and helmets and then piled back on for a bareback swim in the lake. It was wonderful - in the water up to the horses' backs, they grunted with pleasure as the water cooled them off after the hot and sweaty ride. We managed to attract quite a crowd as we splashed around and then let the horses get down and roll in the sand after.
Instead of our usual camp dinner, we were invited back to the village for a taste of the local fare and a little entertainment afterwards. We were seated on bamboo mats, and the women brought out huge pots of rice, sweet potato soup, beef stew, red beans, and sauteed cassava leaves - which they called spinach. It was delicious! We barely made a dent in the pots though, and soon they had taken away the food and brought out the bongo drums and about 25 adorable little kids who started singing some infectious local music. They sang and danced, and a bunch of the little kids would get out in front and shake their thang so hard that I thought they might lose it! Some of the moves the four year olds were doing would be right at home at a club in downtown Vancouver! It was totally entertaining - and soon they were pulling us up to dance with them. They wanted us to sing something in English, so we did a couple bongo drum assisted versions of Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman before saying goodbye. It was a wonderful evening - the stuff fond memories are made of.