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Monthly Archives: Sep 2015

Photography And The Moon

Photography And The Moon Photography and the moon, this is an interesting subject to photograph, but just how many moons are there. Lets find out. Supermoon What is a supermoon? Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term supermoon over 30 years ago. The term has only recently come into popular usage. Nolle has defined a supermoon as:     … a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. That’s a pretty generous definition, which is why there are so many supermoons. By this definition, according to Nolle: There are 4-6 supermoons a year on average. Another astronomical term for a supermoon is a perigee full moon, or a perigee new moon. Perigee just means “near Earth.” The moon is full, or opposite Earth from the sun, once each month. It’s new, or more or less between the Earth and sun, once each month. And, every month, as the moon orbits Earth, it comes closest to Earth. That point is called perigee. The moon always swings farthest away once each month; that point is called apogee. Supermoon is a catchier term than perigee new moon or perigee full moon. We first became familiar with the supermoon label in the year 2011 when the media used it to describe the full moon of March 19, 2011. On that date, the full moon aligned with proxigee – the closest perigee of the year – to stage the closest, largest full moon of 2011. When are the supermoons of 2015? By Nolle’s definition, the new moon or full moon has to come within 361,836 kilometers (224,834 miles) of our planet, as measured from the centers of the moon and Earth, in order to be considered a supermoon. By that definition, the year 2015 has a total of six supermoons. The first supermoon, for 2015, came with the January 20 new moon. The new moons on February 18 and March 20 were also considered supermoons, according to Nolle’s definition, and that same definition dictates that the full moons of August, September and October will be supermoons, too. The full moon supermoons or near-perigee full moons for 2015: Full moon of August 29 at 18:35 UTC Full moon of September 28 at 2:50 UTC Full moon of October 27 at 12:05 UTC The full moon on September 28, 2015, will present the closest supermoon of the year (356,896 kilometers or 221,754 miles). What’s more, this September 28, 2015 full moon will stage a total lunar eclipse, concluding a series of Blood Moon eclipses that started with the total lunar eclipse of April 15, 2014. Blood Moon In 2015, the moon comes closest to Earth on September 28 (356,877 kilometers), and swings furthest away some two weeks before, on September 14 (406,464 kilometers). That’s a difference of 49,587 kilometers (406,464 – 356,877 = 49,587). Ninety percent of this 49,587-figure equals 44,628.3 kilometers (0.9 x 49,587 = 44,628.3). Presumably, any new or full moon coming closer than 361,863.1 kilometers (406,464 – 44,628.3 = 361,835.7) would be “at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth.” Spring tides will accompany the supermoons, the tides be larger than usual at the January, February and March 2015 new moons and the August, September and October 2015 full moons. This is because all full moons (and new moons) combine with the sun to create larger-than-usual tides, but closer-than-average full moons (or closer-than-average new moons) elevate the tides even more. We witnessed this in Zanzibar this year August. Each month, on the day of the new moon, the Earth, moon and sun are aligned, with the moon in between. This line-up creates wide-ranging tides, known as spring tides. High spring tides climb up especially high, and on the same day low tides plunge especially low. The closest new moon of the year on February 18 and the year’s closest full moon on September 28 are bound to accentuate the spring tide all the more, giving rise to what’s called a perigean spring tide. If you live along an ocean coastline, watch for high tides caused by the September 27-28 perigean full moon. Will these high tides cause flooding? Probably not, unless a strong weather system accompanies the perigean spring tide. Still, keep an eye on the weather, because storms do have a large potential to accentuate perigean spring tides. Dates of closest full supermoons in past and future years. More often than not, the one day of the year that the full moon and perigee align also brings about the year’s closest perigee (also called proxigee). Because the moon has recurring cycles, we can count on the full moon and perigee to come in concert in periods of about one year, one month and 18 days. Therefore, the full moon and perigee realign in periods of about one year and 48 days. So we can calculate the dates of the closest full moons in recent and future years as: March 19, 2011 May 6, 2012 June 23, 2013 August 10, 2014 September 28, 2015 November 14, 2016 January 2, 2018. There won’t be a perigee full moon in 2017 because the full moon and perigee won’t realign again (after November 14, 2016) until January 2, 2018. Sep 28'2015 Blood Moon Looking further into the future, the perigee full moon will come closer than 356,500 kilometers for the first time in the 21st century (2001-2100) on November 25, 2034 (356,446 km). The closest full moon of the 21st century will fall on December 6, 2052 (356,425 km). By the way, some astronomers will call all the full moons listed above proxigee full moons. Click here to see how the Supermoon Blood Moon played out in the Cape Town area in 2015 Blue Moon "Once in a Blue Moon" is a common way of saying not very often, but what exactly is a Blue Moon? According to the popular definition, it is the second Full Moon to occur in a single calendar month. The average interval between Full Moons is about 29.5 days, whilst the length of an average month is roughly 30.5 days. This makes it very unlikely that any given month will contain two Full Moons, though it does sometimes happen. On average, there will be 41 months that have two Full Moons in every century, so you could say that once in a Blue Moon actually means once every two-and-a-half years. Defining the Original Blue Moon The correct, original definition is that a Blue Moon is the third full Moon in an astronomical season with four full Moons. A normal year has four astronomical seasons - spring, summer, fall (autumn), and winter - with three months and normally three full Moons each. When one of the astronomical seasons has four full Moons, instead of the normal three, the third full Moon is called a Blue Moon. Next Blue Moon (Second full Moon in a month) 31 January, 2018 31 March, 2018 31 October, 2020 Blue Coloured Moon Astronomical Blue Moons happen either once every two to three years or so, depending on which of the two definitions you apply. A Moon that actually looks blue, however, is a very rare sight. The Moon, full or any other phase, can appear blue when the atmosphere is filled with dust or smoke particles of a certain size; slightly wider than 0.7 micron. The particles scatter the red light making the Moon appear blue in color, this can happen for instance after a dust storm, forest fire or a volcanic eruption. Eruptions like on Mt. Krakatoa, Indonesia (1883), El Chichon, Mexico (1983), Mt. St. Helens (1980) and Mount Pinatubo (1991) are all known to have caused blue moons. The Science Behind Blue Moons There are two astronomical definitions of a Blue Moon; both are a type of Full Moon. When the Moon very rarely actually looks blue, it's because of a certain size dust particles in the atmosphere. The Next Blue Moons The phrase, once in a Blue Moon, is colloquially used to suggest that something is very rare. But just how rare, depends on your definition. In astronomy, Blue Moon is defined as either the third full Moon of an astronomical season with four full Moon or the second full Moon in a calendar month. Such a blue Moon (second full Moon in single calendar month) occurred on Friday, July 31, 2015 at 10:43 am UTC. What is a Blue Moon? Contrary to popular belief, a Blue Moon is not actually blue in color. Blue Moon is a term that is used to describe the third full Moon of an astronomical season that has four full Moons. There are 4 astronomical seasons in a year: Spring - March Equinox to June Solstice Summer - June Solstice to September Equinox Autumn - September Equinox to December Solstice Winter - December Solstice to March Equinox When one of the seasons in a year has four full Moons, instead of the usual three, the third full Moon is called a Blue Moon. How Rare Are Blue Moons? These days, the second full Moon in a calendar month is also often referred to as a Blue Moon. This particular use was popularized due to a miscalculation published in a 1946 article in Sky and Telescope magazine. Such Blue Moons occur rather frequently - at least once every two or three years. The next such blue Moon occurred on July 31, 2015. A Rare Exception Blue colored Moons do rarely occur when dust or smoke particles in the air are of a specific size. Such particles help create a blue colored Moon by scattering blue light. Red Moon, which can be caused by other sizes of dust particles or lunar eclipses, are much more common than Blue Moons. Why the Third Moon? There are different accounts of why the third full moon of a season of four full Moons is called a Blue Moon. For instance, the Ecclestical calendar, which indicates the dates of the Christian fasts and festivals, uses the phases of the Moon to determine the exact dates for holidays like Lent and Easter. The month of Lent contains the Lenten Moon. The first full Moon of Spring – also known as Easter Moon or Paschal Moon – falls a week before Easter. In order to ensure that Lent and Easter coincides with the phases of the Moon, the calendar has termed the third Moon of the season as the Blue Moon. Another version of this is that since each full Moon of a normal year already has a given name, for instance Harvest Moon, the 13th nameless full Moon in a year was named a Blue Moon. This way the lunations and calendars were aligned to make sure celebrations and customs would still fall during their "proper" times. About once every 19 years, the month of February does not have a full Moon. The years when this happens, also have two full Moons in two different months. This phenomenon will occur next in 2018. Black Moon If the second Full Moon in one month has a special name, what about the second New Moon? Most people don't notice New Moons. It's easy to see the Moon when it's full, but the only way to tell when a New Moon is happening is during an eclipse, or by referring to an almanac or using a Moon Phase calculator. To Wiccans, the second New Moon is called the Black Moon, and any magic worked during that period is deemed to be especially powerful. Of course, the chances of two New Moons falling within one calendar month are just the same as two Full Moons, but because New Moons are generally invisible, most people tend not to notice the occasions when a month has two of them. That's not to say that New Moons aren't important to non-astronomers. To the world's Muslims, the date of New Moon is of great interest, since the Islamic calendar is governed by the phases of the Moon: the start of each month is marked by the first sighting of the new crescent Moon. Another definition - four New Moons in a season According to an article in the May 1999 issue of Sky and Telescope, the traditional definition of a Blue Moon is the third Full Moon in a season which has four Full Moons. Compilers of almanacs such as the Maine Farmer's Almanac would use a coloured symbol to denote this third Full Moon, hence the name. Similarly, a Black Moon can be the third New Moon in a season which has four New Moons. The next Black Moon: Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. September 20, 2017 0530 GMT September 17, 2020 1100 GMT The term Black Moon doesn’t come from astronomy, or skylore, however from Wiccan culture. It’s the name for the second of two new moons in one calendar month. January 2014, for example, had two new moon supermoons, the second of which was not only a supermoon, but a Black Moon. Does a Black Moon have to be a supermoon in order to be called Black, no not at all. The next Black moon by the above definition will occur on October 30, 2016. Other names for the second new moon in a month: Spinner Moon, Finder’s Moon, Secret Moon. Another definition for Black Moon: the third of four new moons in one season. This last happened with the new moon supermoon of February 18, 2015, because this particular new moon was the third of four new moons to take place between the December 2014 solstice and the March 2015 equinox. The next Black Moon by this definition will occur on August 21, 2017, to feature a Black Moon total solar eclipse in the United States. Bottom line: The term supermoon doesn’t come from astronomy. It comes from astrology, and the definition is pretty generous so that there are 4 to 6 supermoons each year. This post explains what a supermoon is, how many will occur in 2015, which moon is the most “super” of all the 2015 supermoons, and gives a list of upcoming full supermoons for the years ahead. Harvest Moon he "Harvest moon" and "Hunter's moon" are traditional terms for the full moons occurring during late summer and in the autumn, in the northern hemisphere usually in August, September and October respectively. The "Harvest Moon" is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (22 or 23 September), and the "Hunter's Moon" is the one following it. The names are recorded from the early 18th century. The names became traditional in American folklore, where they are now often popularly attributed to the Native Americans. The Feast of the Hunters' Moon is a yearly festival in Lafayette, Indiana, held in late September or early October each year since 1968. In 2010, the Harvest moon occurred on the night of equinox itself (some 51⁄2 hours after the point of equinox) for the first time since 1991. All full moons rise around the time of sunset. Because the moon moves eastward among the stars faster than the sun its meridian passage is delayed, causing it to rise later each day – on average by about 50.47 minutes. The harvest moon and hunter's moon are unique because the time difference between moonrises on successive evenings is much shorter than average. The moon rises approximately 30 minutes later from one night to the next, as seen from about 40 degrees N or S latitude. Thus, there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for several days following the actual date of the full moon Traditional Full Moon names Several cultures around the world have used the Moon as the basis for their calendars, to determine the seasons, and to set the dates of harvest and holidays at some point in their history. Here are some commonly used full Moon names in North American culture: January - Wolf Moon Also known as the Moon after Yule, Old Moon or Snow Moon, the full moon in January was named after howling wolves. February - Snow Moon February’s full moon was dedicated to the snowy conditions that marked the month. It was also sometimes called the full hunger moon by North American tribes who would find their food sources depleted due to the winter. March - Worm Moon The last full moon of the winter season in March, is also known as the Lenten Moon, the Crow Moon to signify the crows that appear at the end of winter, and Sap Moon to mark the time for harvesting maple syrup from maple tree saps. It is also known as the Worm Moon because of the earthworms that come out at the end of winter and herald the coming of spring. April - Pink Moon The first full moon in April is sometimes called the Paschal Moon in the ecclesiastical calendar because it is used to determine the date for Easter - the first Sunday after the Paschal Moon is Easter. The name Pink Moon comes from the pink flowers – phlox – that grow in many places at the beginning of spring. Other names for this full moon include Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon and Fish Moon. May - Flower Moon The May full moon is known as Flower Moon to signify the flowers that bloom during this month. Other names for the full moon are Milk Moon and Corn Planting Moon. June - Strawberry Moon June’s full moon is named after strawberries that become plentiful during this month. July - Buck Moon The full moon for the month of July is called Buck Moon to signify the new antlers that emerge from Buck Deers' foreheads around this time if the year. This full Moon is also known as Thunder Moon or Hay Moon. August - Sturgeon Moon The full moon for August is called Sturgeon Moon because of the large number of fish that can be easily found in the lakes in North America. Other names for this full moon include Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. September - Harvest Moon September’s full Moon is called Harvest Moon because farmers tend to harvest their crops around the full Moon. October - Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon Traditionally, tribes spent the month of October preparing for the coming winter. This included hunting, slaughtering and preserving meats for use as food. This led to October’s full Moon being called the Hunter’s Moon and sometimes Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. However, this should not be confused with a Total Lunar Eclipse - Blood Moon November - Beaver Moon According to folklore, the full moon for November is named after Beavers who become active while preparing for the winter. December - Cold Moon December is the month when winter begins for most of the Northern Hemisphere, hence, its full moon is called the Cold Moon. Phases of the Moon Moon phases depend on the position of both the Sun and Moon with respect to the Earth. The 4 primary phases of the Moon are: new, first quarter, full and third quarter. The phases of the Moon. ©bigtockphoto.com/Petr Jilek The intermediate phases between the primary phases are, waxing crescent, waxing gibbous, waning gibbous, and waning crescent. New Moon A new moon is the moment when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction, meaning that the Sun and Earth are on the opposite sides of the Moon. A New Moon cannot normally be seen from the Earth since only the dark side of the Moon faces the Earth at New Moon. Sometimes, if the New Moon is close to the Lunar nodes of its path, it causes a Solar Eclipse. New Moon: The darkest Moon Phase. Waxing Crescent Moon A few days after the new moon phase, the Moon will be visible again in a phase that lasts until the first quarter, called waxing crescent moon. The initial period, just after the Moon becomes visible, is sometimes called new moon, although it has another definition. Although only a small part of the Moon may be illuminated by the Sun, the rest of the Moon may also be faintly visible, due to a reflection from the Earth to the Moon, called earthshine. The waxing crescent moon is most visible after sunset. The first visual sight of the waxing crescent moon determines the beginnings of months in the Muslim calendar. First Quarter Moon   First Quarter Moon is the second Phase. During the first quarter, half of the Moon is illuminated, as seen from the Earth. The Moon rises near the middle of the day and sets near the middle of the night. In northern regions of the world, the right part will be visible, while the left part will be visible in the southern regions. Near the equator, the upper part is bright after moonrise, and the lower part is bright before moonset (the bright part appears and disappears first). Waxing Gibbous Moon The waxing gibbous moon occurs between the first quarter and the full moon. The sun illuminates more than half of the Moon's surface during this period. Full Moon   Full Moon is the brightest phase. Each Full Moon has a name ...unless it's a Blue Moon Full moon appears when the Sun and the Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth. As seen from Earth, all of the Moon's surface will be visible. The full moon is visible approximately from sunset to sunrise. When observed from Earth, the Moon can appear to be full for a couple of days, since more than 98 percent of the Moon's disc is illuminated a day before or after the full moon. During full moon, the Moon may pass through Earth's shadow causing a lunar eclipse. If the whole moon is in the Earth's shadow, or umbra, a total lunar eclipse occurs. If only a part of the Moon enters the umbra, we see a partial lunar eclipse. Waning Gibbous Moon The period between full moon and third quarter is called waning gibbous moon. The portion of the visible half of the Moon illuminated goes down from 100 percent to 50 percent during this period. Third Quarter Moon   Third Quarter Moon is the last phase. The third quarter moon occurs when the other half of the Moon is illuminated compared to the first quarter. On the day of third quarter, the Moon rises approximately in the middle of the night and sets in the middle of the day. Waning Crescent Moon The waning crescent moon is the period between the third quarter moon and the next new moon. It is most visible before sunrise. The Sun illuminates less than half the Moon during this period. When only a small part of the Moon is visible, it may be possible to see earthshine on the dark side of the Moon. Lunation A lunation is a cycle of the Moon. It starts at new moon and lasts until the next new moon. On average, it takes the Moon 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes to go from one new Moon to the next. This time frame is called a synodic month. The duration of a synodic month varies from one lunation to another, most importantly because the orbit of the Earth and Moon are ellipses rather than circles, where the orbit speed depends on how close the orbiting object is to the mass center. For example, the Moon moves faster when it is closest to the Earth. Some years, such as 2004, have relatively small duration differences throughout the year (five hours difference between minimum and maximum duration), while the year 2008 will have larger differences (more than twelve hours).  Information found on various sources on the Internet


August 2015 – Zanzibar Photoshoot

August 2015 - Zanzibar Shoot My wife Dominique and I had the privilege of spending 8 days in Zanzibar. We stayed on the Unguja Island, based ourselves on the northern tip in Nungwi. Our stay was at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Zanzibar - Nungwi, where we were very well looked after by our host Shaun. Everyone dreams of an "island-in-the-sun" holiday or destination, and most people walk away with palm trees, cocktails on the beach images, I had this in mind too; however, from the outset, wanted to shoot the Milky Way over Zanzibar, capture the raw grittiness of the streets, life, historic buildings, convey the essence and pulse of life as it is in Zanzibar and Stone Town; to be able to tell this story in captivating colour and monochrome as well. On doing some research, I found only three other photographers that had actually done photographed the Milky Way! I wanted this travel shoot to be a special Zanzibar photo shoot, something different and unique...my objectives were achieved! The GOOGLE mapS below ARE interactive If you select satellite map, you'll soon see a wide turquoise-blue strip which lines Zanzibar's East Coast: this is the shallow-water between the land and the coastal barrier reef. Given that the tide retreats almost to the reef in many parts of the East Coast – this map shows how far the tide goes, and so why it's not always possible to swim on these beaches. A General Overview of Zanzibar The general impression of Zanzibar when approached from the mainland is of a long, low island with small ridges along its central north–south axis. Coconut palms and other vegetation cover the land surface. It is 85km at its greatest length and 39km broad. The highest point of the central ridge system is Masingini, 119m above sea level. Higher ground is gently undulating and gives rise to a few small rivers, which flow west to the sea or disappear in the coral country. The climate is typically insular, tropical, and humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1500 to 2000 mm. Rainfall is reliable and well-distributed in comparison with most of eastern Africa. Northeast trade winds blow from December to March and southeast trade winds from May to October. The “long rains” occur between March and May and the “short rains” between October and December. At the present moment, Mango offers flights from Johannesburg to Zanzibar City. The History of Zanzibar A Portuguese Interlude: 16th - 17th Century The small tropical island of Zanzibar, a mere twenty miles off the east coast of Africa, has played a major part in local history, out of all proportion to its size. The reason is, its easy access to traders and adventurers exploring down the east coast of Africa from Arabia. Islam was well established in this region by the 11th century. During the 16th century there was a new category of visitor arriving from the south - the Portuguese. They establish friendly relations with the ruler. By the end of the century there was a Portuguese trading station and a mission run by Augustinian friars. But in the late 17th century the Christian presence comes to an end, after a forceful campaign down the coast by the Muslims of Oman. Oman and Zanzibar: 1698-1856 In the 1690s Saif bin Sultan, the imam of Oman, is pressing down the East African coast. A major obstacle is Fort Jesus, housing the garrison of a Portuguese settlement at Mombasa. After a two-year siege, it falls to Saif in 1698. Thereafter the Omanis easily eject the Portuguese from Zanzibar and from all other coastal regions north of Mozambique. Zanzibar, a valuable property as the main slave market of the East African coast, becomes an increasingly important part of the Omani empire - a fact reflected by the decision of the greatest 19th-century sultan of Oman, Sa'id ibn Sultan, to make it from 1837 his main place of residence. Sa'id builds impressive palaces and gardens in Zanzibar. He improves the island's economy by introducing cloves, sugar and indigo (though at the same time he accepts a financial loss in co-operating with British attempts to end Zanzibar's slave trade). The link with Oman is broken after his death in 1856. Rivalry between his two sons is resolved, with the help of forceful British diplomacy, when one of them (Majid) succeeds to Zanzibar and to the many regions claimed by the family on the east African coast. The other (Thuwaini) inherits Muscat and Oman. British Involvement: 1856-1885 By the time Majid inherits the throne in Zanzibar, the British are increasingly involved in this prosperous offshore island. In this same year, 1856, Burton and Speke make this the base for their exploration into the interior. Their route towards Lake Tanganyika is along the tracks frequented by Arab traders, through territory which the Omani sultans of Zanzibar claim as their own. By the time Majid dies, to be succeeded in 1870 by his brother Barghash, the British have appointed a consul to Zanzibar. His primary task is to end Zanzibar's notorious slave trade. This purpose is achieved by a treaty with Barghash in 1873. The consul who achieves this treaty is John Kirk. It is poignant for him that this is the year in which he does so. For it is also the year in which David Livingstone, the great anti-slavery explorer, dies in the African interior. His embalmed corpse is carried by his assistants all the way back to Zanzibar. Kirk, who receives Livingstone's body in his role as consul, has been an intimate friend. For five years, from 1858 to 1863, he accompanied all Livingstone's expeditions in the role of doctor and naturalist. He too has witnessed at first hand the brutal activities of the Arab slave traders in the interior. Livingstone would be pleased to know that their main market is now closed to them. Well aware that Zanzibar needs to replace slave revenue with legitimate economic activity, Kirk is assiduous in encouraging Barghash to build up the export of rubber and ivory - brought from the interior of the continent, where the sultan wields a somewhat loose and ramshackle authority through Tabora and on to Ujiji. By the mid-1880s the sultan is earning a fortune from these sources, but Kirk proves powerless to protect him from a new threat. In 1884-5 there are reports of a German, Karl Peters, snooping around the caravan routes to the Great Lakes. In March 1885 there comes the astonishing news that Germany is claiming a protectorate in this inland region. And in August there is an alarming sight from the verandah of the palace. A German-British Carve Up: 1885-1886 On 7 August 1885 five German warships steam into the lagoon of Zanzibar and train their guns on the sultan's palace. They have arrived with a demand from Bismarck that Sultan Barghash cede to the German emperor his mainland territories or face the consequences. But in the age of the telegram, gunboat diplomacy is no longer a local matter. This crisis is immediately on desks in London. Britain, eager not to offend Germany, suggests a compromise. The two nations should mutually agree spheres of interest over the territory stretching inland to the Great Lakes. This plan is accepted before August is out. The embarrassed British consul finds himself under orders from London to persuade the sultan to sign an agreement ceding the lion's share of his mainland territory, with the details still to be decided. In September the German gunships begin their journey home. A joint Anglo-German boundary commission starts work in the interior. By November 1886 the task is done and the result is agreed with the other main colonial power, France. The sultan is left a strip ten miles wide along the coast. Behind that a line is drawn to Mount Kilimanjaro and on to Lake Victoria at latitude 1° S. The British sphere of influence is to be to the north, the German to the south. The line remains to this day the border between Kenya and Tanzania. British Protectorate: 1890-1963 After the abrupt redistribution of the sultan's inland territories, Britain remains the only colonial power with a well-established presence in Zanzibar itself. With the approval of the sultan the island and its narrow coastal regions are declared a British protectorate in 1890. Although only wielding a fraction of their former power, the Arab sultans of Zanzibar are still during this colonial period the most influential Muslim leaders in east Africa. But their rule comes to an end soon after the island's independence in the 1960s. A new constitution, introduced in 1960, provides for a legislative assembly. The emerging political parties are split largely on ethnic lines, representing Arab and African interests respectively, and disagreement about the franchise delays the introduction of internal self-government until June 1963. It is followed in December by full independence and membership of the British Commonwealth. A coalition of Arab parties forms the first government, with the sultan as head of state. But in January 1964, a month after independence, a communist-led revolution topples the regime. The sultan is deposed and a republic proclaimed. The revolution, carried out by not more than 600 insurgents, involves considerable acts of violence against the Arab and Indian populations of the island - most of whom make a hasty departure. Abeid Amane Karume emerges as president of the resulting one-party state. His first step is to negotiate for union with neighbouring Tanganyika, also left-wing in its policies though not Marxist. The two nations are merged in April 1964, becoming the United Republic of Tanzania, with Nyerere as president and Karume as vice-president. But Zanzibar retains its revolutionary council and often continues to go its own way, to the discomfiture of the government in Dar es Salaam. Nungwi Nungwi is traditionally the centre of Zanzibar's dhow-building industry, and, over the last decade, the coastline here has rocketed in popularity to become one of the island's busiest beach destinations. The ramshackle fishing village has been side-lined by an ever-increasing number of guesthouses, bars, shops, restaurants and bikini-clad backpackers. Ageing hippies, cool dudes, gap-year students and bright young things escaping European city jobs are all drawn to its white sand, stage-set palm trees, turquoise sea and sparkling sunshine. The setting is beautiful, but the number of people, constant buzz and locals persistent haggling for an income off of tourists, can take the edge off its charm. By day, the beach sees sunbathing tourists slumber, swim and indulge in lemongrass massages, whilst wandering local guys tout their 'tours' and sell a range of mediocre paintings, sunglasses and replica football shirts; then, as the sun sets, the visitors arise and the whole place buzzes with party spirit. Beach bonfires blaze, cocktails flow and the music rocks till late, all provided by locals at the various hotels. Despite the influx of tourists, Nungwi is a traditional, conservative place. It was one of the last coastal settlements on Zanzibar to have a hotel, or any tourist facilities. As recently as the mid-1990s, proposals for large developments in the area were fiercely opposed by local people. Today, the proudly independent villagers give the impression that tourists are here on sufferance. However, they are not unfriendly and most visitors find that a little bit of cultural respect, politeness and a few words of Swahili go a long way. Some visitors, particularly backpackers, find themselves torn between either coming to Nungwi and the north coast, or going to Paje, Bwejuu and Jambiani on the east coast. For some thoughts on the differences between these two areas see. The sweeping cape on which Nungwi is situated is surrounded by sparkling, warm, turquoise seas, making it a perfect spot to engage in countless water activities. As well as being a tourist destination, Nungwi is also the centre of Zanzibar's traditional dhow-building industry. A number of hardwood trees, particularly good for boats, grow in this area (or at least did grow here, until they were chopped down to make into boats). Generations of skilled craftsmen have worked on the beach outside the village, turning planks of wood into strong ocean-going vessels, using only the simplest of tools. It is a fascinating place to see dhows in various stages of construction, but do show respect for the builders, who are generally indifferent towards visitors, and keep out of the way. Most do not like having their photos taken (ask before you use your camera), although a few have realised that being photogenic has a value, and will reasonably ask for payment. Fishing continues to employ many local men, and it's magical to watch the local fishing boats bobbing in the sparkling waves of the morning, and then set out to sea in the late afternoon. There can be as many as 40 going out at once, their distinctive lateen sails silhouetted against the blush evening sky – it's probably been unchanged for centuries. Early in the morning, around 06h00, they return with their catch to the beach fish market. The spectacle is worth the early start, but if you don't make it, there's a smaller re-run at around 15h00 each day. Like the east coast, Nungwi's other key marine industry centres on its seaweed. Local women tend this newly introduced crop on the flat area between the beach and the low-tide mark. The seaweed is harvested, dried in the sun and sent to Zanzibar Town for export. Nungwi afforded us some wonderful photographic opportunities to capture the Milky Way, boat builders in action and the endless beaches. The varying weather patterns allow for some seriously dramatic skies, the clouds sometimes have a greenish tinge to them, at first I thought this was error in my editing, but discovered this to be the norm. A guided walk through the village afforded some wonderful candid shots of children and adults, it did however cost a few US Dollars or local Tanzanian Shillings per shot or group shot, but was the only secure way of producing the goods. Being a Muslim culture, photography is an issue. Permission is a MUST! The only other way around this is to shoot from the hip and hope you get your shot, this must be done prudently or discreetly. A visit to the local spice plantations near Kizimani was extremely informative! The Zanzibari idea of farming is nothing like the Western Mind has in mind. What appears like a jungle opens up before your eyes under your guides direction, from vanilla which has to be individually hand-pollinated as there are no bees to do the job, ylang-ylang, cardamon, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, lemongrass, nutmeg, cloves, fresh young coconut to quench your thirst, unusual citrus fruits, starfruit, jackfruit and even the iodine tree if you get injured all come to life when you begin to see with the Zanzibari eye. There is even the "lipstick" tree! The villager who climbs the coconut tree has to sing on his climb and decent, to warn others below (sometimes 20m or more high) that he is picking coconuts. A falling coconut will surely kill you if it falls on your head! We experienced a Zanzibari meal in the village using fresh spices and fruits we had just seen. Spices were also for sale after the tour, were we also had the chance to individually taste fresh fruits. Their hospitality was really special. Another memorable event was a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow, using a small engine to get us to our furthest destination, the return was by wind and sail. There are many tour operators, either at the hotels or locals all looking to make a Dollar off the average 1 000 000 tourists that visit annually. Locals are quite happy to try sell you their wares; from bracelets, keyrings, henna tattoos to a village walk. Some guides are quite dodgy, others more reliable; in this case we used The Three Brothers on this sailing excursion. It was amazing to watch the boatman build the boats, they use cotton wedged between the beams of wood as glue, the wood gets wet, swells and compressors against the cotton, making a watertight seal. Actually sailing these boats was exciting! Their navigation skills have been passed down from generation to generation; they don’t use a compass or GPS! Our sunset cruise took us towards the islands of Popo and Tumbatu near Kendwa beach. Stone Town Zanzibar Town, on the western side of the island, is the heart of the archipelago, and the first stop for most travellers. It is divided into two halves by Creek Road, once a creek that separated Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe) from ‘The Other Side’ or Ng’ambo, where a small community of slaves once lived and which now accommodates the growing new city with its offices, apartment blocks and slums. During the colonial period, before the development of towns such as Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Mombasa, Zanzibar Town was the largest settlement in the whole of east Africa. The streets are, as they should be under such a sky, deep and winding alleys, hardly twenty feet broad, and travellers compare them to the threads of a tangled skein. Richard Burton, British explorer (1857) If Zanzibar Town is the archipelago’s heart, Stone Town is its soul. Stone Town, was constructed during the 19th century and remains largely unchanged, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Labyrinths of narrow alleys lead to palaces, mosques and old Arab houses; tiny shops sell dotted tinga-tinga paintings, Zanzibari clocks and heavily adorned chests. The early-morning market on Creek Road is fabulous, as determined Zanzibaris haggle over fragrant spices, exotic fruit and enormous fish. Walk through its alleyways overhung with wooden balconies and faces from every shore of the Indian Ocean and you’ll easily lose yourself in centuries of history, where different cultures collide. Each twist and turn brings something new, be it a school full of children chanting verses from the Quran, an abandoned Persian bathhouse or a coffee vendor with his long-spouted pot fastened over coals. Then there are the ghosts. Stone Town was host to one of the world’s last open slave markets and stories of barbaric cruelty still strike at the conscience. While the best part of Stone Town is simply letting it unfold before you, it’s worth taking one of the recommended tours to really connect with local residents and appreciate its richly textured history. It is the largest town in the archipelago as the being capital, Stone Town, located in the middle of the west coast of Unguja, the main island. The town was named for the coral stone buildings that were built there largely during the 19th century, on the site of a very old fishing village. There are over 16,000 people in the town today, and over 1,700 recorded buildings. Tall houses line narrow alleyways set in a confusing maze radiating out from the centre towards the sea. The streets are too narrow for cars but not, unfortunately, for bicycles and even motorbikes, so be careful! Life is lived very much as it was in the past and the many mosques’ muezzin calls can be heard echoing above the narrow streets five times daily. The architecture is Arabic, which means the walls are very thick, the houses tall and with square and simple facades. Many of the buildings have a central courtyard going up through all the floors, giving ventilation, much like Old Dubai. Zanzibar is well known for its infamous door carvings. Decoration has been added, usually by Indian craftsmen, in the form of wooden balconies and carved doors and stairways. Some of the doors have brass studs which originate in India, where they were used to protect buildings against elephants. The oldest, simplest and most traditional doors have horizontal lintels, as seen in Oman and Arabia generally; later doors have rounded tops and this style shows Indian design influence – many of the builders and craftsmen used in building Zanzibar were from the sub-continent. There are varying motifs in the carving: dates, fish, chains, flowers, lotus, Arabic texts and many more. There are 51 mosques, whose muezzin cries vie with each other at prayer time, as well as 6 Hindu Temples and a Catholic as well as an Anglican Cathedral in this multi-ethnic town. There are many burial places around the outskirts, with interesting headstones and graves, and some important graves in the town itself, usually of religious leaders of the past. On the waterfront, near the Old Dispensary, is an old Fig tree known locally as the Big Tree. It is quite visible from the harbour and is seen in many old photographs. The shaded area underneath it is currently used as a workshop for men building boats. It's a good place to find boat pilots to charter a cruise to Prison Island or Bawe Island. Just opposite is a good beachfront restaurant, known as “Mercury’s”. The second train in East Africa was completed in Zanzibar in 1905 and operated under the name of the Bububu line. It travelled from Bububu village to Stone Town, only 8 km away. It was used mostly for transporting people. Zanzibar was the first country in East Africa to introduce the steam locomotive. Sultan Bargash bin Said had a seven mile railway constructed from his palace at Stone Town to Chukwani in 1879. Initially the two Pullman cars were hauled by mules but in 1881 the Sultan ordered a 0-4-0 tank locomotive from the English locomotive builders Bagnall. The railway saw service until the Sultan died in 1888 when the track and locomotive were scrapped. Fifteen years later (In 1905) the American Company Arnold Cheyney built a seven mile line from Zanzibar Town to the village of Bububu. It was notorious for its ability to set fire to property and the surrounding country side but it ran for twenty-five years until closed in 1930. The Bububu Railway plied six or seven times a day to Zanzibar Town. The service was extremely popular and largely used by the native population. A special first-class coach was run for the benefit of those passengers from steamers who wish to obtain a glimpse of the island. The railway traversed some of the narrowest streets of the city, and it was a constant source of wonderment how passers-by escaped being run over. European residents in Zanzibar regard the railway with an amused tolerance. During the railway construction the Americans undertook the task of installing electrical power lines along the track. Wherever the rails were placed, metal poles were installed and power lines strung overhead. By 1906, long before even London obtained them, Stone Town had electric street lights. In 1911, the railway was sold to the Government, and by 1922 the passenger service ceased. As roads improved and motor vehicles on the island increased, its popularity diminished. With the improvement of the port the railway was used for the haulage of stone which was used to reclaim the seafront. Today much of the old track bed has been built on however train enthusiasts can still see the remains of the railway’s bridges and embankments close to the main road to Bububu. Kiswahili is a language that developed along the East African Coast and incorporates words from all the nations around the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. It was originally written in Arabic script to spell the words phonetically, until Edward Steere, the Bishop who oversaw the building of the Anglican Cathedral on the site of the old slave market, wrote an English-Swahili dictionary in the Roman alphabet. The slave trade created wealth which in turn led to the construction of palaces, mosques and many fine houses. Discovering the architectural gems hidden along the tortuous maze of narrow streets and alleyways that wind though Stone Town is part of the town's magic and mystery for many visitors. Aside from the souvenir tinga-tinga painting and beaded jewellery, it's a scene virtually unchanged since the mid-19th century, when it was described by Burton. The best way to explore Stone Town is on foot, but the maze of lanes and alleys can be very disorientating. To help you get your bearings, it is useful to think of Stone Town as a triangle, bounded on two sides by sea, and along the third by Creek Road. If you get lost, it is always possible to aim in one direction until you reach the outer edge of the town where you should find a recognisable landmark. Although most of the thoroughfares in Stone Town are too narrow for cars, when walking you should watch out for old bicycles and scooters being ridden around at breakneck speed! It's also useful to realise that thoroughfares wide enough for cars are usually called roads while narrower ones are generally referred to as streets. Hence, you can drive along New Mkunazini Road or Kenyatta Road, but to visit a place on Kiponda Street or Mkunazini Street you have to walk. When looking for hotels or places of interest, you should also note that most areas of Stone Town are named after the main street in that area: the area being referred to as Kiponda Street or Malindi Street, instead of simply Kiponda or Malindi. This can be confusing, as you may not be on the street of that name. But don't worry: at least you're near! Stone Town afforded us some wonderful photographic opportunities to capture the soul of the city, the lifeblood of the people and the pulse of life, in its eclectic East African way. There are two types of doors, those ordained with roses or flowers which are arched, are of Indian decent, the others are Arabic which are square shaped. This is a hallmark of the old city, the Zanzibari Doors. Another interesting observation was the water pipes of most buildings run outside the buildings along with the power supply all at the same height in a spider web maze; usually at first floor level. Very few buildings are painted smartly, I had to ponder upon this; one of the most feasible answers were the regular rain showers that are to be had, when would the paint dry? There are many things to see either in the town or a trip on a dhow will find you on a small island - Prison Island (Changu) where the slaves were quarantined prior to being shipped off. The Cathedral was under renovation and repair, there were limited photographic opportunities there due to that. Constructed in the 1870s by the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UMCA), this was the first Anglican cathedral in East Africa. It was built on the site of the old slave market, the altar reputedly marking the spot of the whipping tree where slaves were lashed with a stinging branch. It’s a moving sight, remembered by a white marble circle surrounded by red to symbolise the blood of the slaves. The driving force behind the construction of the cathedral was Bishop Edward Steere (1874–82), but the inspiration was David Livingstone, whose call to compassion the missionaries answered in 1864 when they settled on the island. One of the stained-glass windows is dedicated to his memory, while the crucifix is made from the tree that grew where his heart was buried in the village of Chitambo in Zambia. Services are still held at the cathedral on Sunday mornings, although at the time of our visit, the cathedral was being restored. The slave holding cells or chambers are a reality, and a macabre reminder of the hardships and horrible atrocities they had to endure under their masters. Although nothing of the old slave market remains, some 15 holding cells are located beneath the Anglican Cathedral and St Monica’s Hostel. Two of them, beneath St Monica’s, are open to the public and offer a sobering glimpse of the appalling realities of the trade. Dank, dark and cramped, each chamber housed up to 65 slaves awaiting sale. Tiny windows cast weak shafts of sunlight into the gloom and it’s hard to breathe even when they’re empty. There is barely sufficient head room to be seated in a foetal position in these chambers. The Slave Memorial in the garden was sculptured by Swedish artist Clara Sornas in 1997-1998, which depicts five slaves standing in a pit below ground level. The poignant figures emerge from the rough-hewn rock and thus appear hopelessly trapped, shoulders slumped in despair. Around their necks they wear metal collars from which a chain binds them. It’s a disturbing and haunting sight. The mood and brokenness, vacant and empty, sunken stares of the five slaves is well captured and cast in stone, this can be easily seen at the monument besides the Cathedral. A few places of interest to visit are the House of Wonders, Freddie Mercury House, Slave Market and the Darajani Market where spices, foods, meat and fish can be bought. No matter where you travel, one of the best ways to experience local life is to explore the local fresh market. Located just on the edge of the ancient lanes of Stone Town is Darajani Market, one of the central markets in Zanzibar. Markets are not only where things are sold and traded, but they are also where people congregate to socialize, meet friends, and eat. Though the market sprawls outside of the main building and throughout the surrounding lanes and side streets, the original building (pictured) that houses the small indoor section was built in 1904. The meat section, which mostly includes beef and goat, is not the best smelling place in the market, but you should definitely take a quick stroll through it; there are plenty of flies around, I would also say a strong stomach is needed for the queasy visitor. A plethora of fish is also to be found, many types, I did not recognise. If you fortunate enough, when the fish lands, you can witness a fish sale or auction. Fish are auctioned in loud voices in their respective areas. It’s hot, heaving and entertaining. Photographing under the market canopy can be quite challenging, as the light conditions are difficult, often a filtered light or colour cast is thrown, as the locals use various canvases to provide shade and relief from the tropical climate. It is also quite challenging to capture images of the locals in the tight busy market, best done discreetly, and or with permission, I recommend a zoom lens for this task. The House of Wonders or Palace of Wonders is a landmark building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It is the largest and tallest building of Stone Town and occupies a prominent place facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town's seafront, in Mizingani Road. This large, white building dominates the waterfront area of Zanzibar Town, and is one of its best-known landmarks. A perfect rectangle, it is one of the largest buildings on the island even today, rising over several storeys, surrounded by tiers of pillars and balconies, and topped by a large clock tower. After more than a century of use as a palace and government offices, it opened in 2002 as the Museum of History and Culture and contains some fascinating exhibits and displays. It's a pity to rush your visit: allow yourself enough time to browse. One needs a few days to explore Stone Town, and the to head out to the resorts, away from the buzz and busyness for a more "relaxed" experience of the rest of the island. Built in 1883 as a ceremonial palace for Sultan Barghash, Beit al Ajaib was designed by a marine engineer, hence the great use of steel pillars and girders in the construction, and located on the site of an older palace used by Queen Fatuma, the Mwinyi Mkuu (ruler of Zanzibar) in the 17th century. In its heyday, the interior of the new palace had fine marble floors and panelled walls. It was the first building on Zanzibar to be installed with electric lighting, and one of the first in east Africa to have an electric lift – which is why, not surprisingly, the local people called it 'Beit el Ajaib', meaning 'House of Wonders'. Next to the Fort, the road runs through a tunnel under a large building that is the island's orphanage. Built in the late 19th century, the building was used as a club for English residents until 1896, and then as an Indian school until 1950. Forodhani Orphanage in Stone Town, was established in 1964 and funded by the government, children, ranging from babies to teenagers live in the echoing halls of this institution located over the Forodhani Gardens. There is a small craft shop on the ground floor opposite the gardens selling pictures and curios made by the orphans and other local artisans. Here, blind craft-workers weave a good range of baskets, rugs and other items. This looks like a very run down building, but what really stands out is the three Afro-Arabic window arches above the tunnel entrance between four green Venetian shutter windows on either side. Looking passed the Fort, one can see the House of Wonders from this building. This was all in all a most rewarding travel photography experience, considering that I have been to both Kenya and Somalia for other work; a very different East African experience. Though pristine beaches are what most people think about when they think about Zanzibar, spending some time walking around the local villages and markets is a fantastic way to learn about the culture of Zanzibar and to observe local life as it really is. They are a poor people, yet seem to be happy, they are also a very colourful people that have endured a horrible past; it is quite possible that some grandparents may be the last of the slaves, but will surely have memories of their relatives being slaves. Nothing happens quickly in Zanzibar, the Swahili way is pole pole (porleeh porleeh) translated is slowly-slowly, to which they may add, like the tortoise. Always a friendly greeting jambo, asanthe sana and hakuna matata is what you can expect from the locals. There, life is like the ebb and flow of the tides, the skies will cry in the day and dry its tears over the azure shores and lush vegetation, blush the most amazing colours at nightfall, soon after, twinkle with the brightest of stars in the expanse of the mesmerising Milky Way, only to do it all over again the very next day. Zanzibar is definitely a destination to revisit. Historical information resourced from various sources on the internet. ZANZIBAR Allow the slide show to proceed on its own, or mouse on or off the image to pause or proceed on with the show. One can also make use of the navigation buttons. Please be advised this is a large slideshow, image transitions are fairly short. Images can also be viewed individually and in full size elsewhere on my website under the respective themed  pages. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post in the comments below. I would really like to hear from you, and the experiences you may have had, both good and bad in Zanzibar.


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