We’re extremely lucky here in south-east Zanzibar to have amazing dive-sites right on our doorstep. Tides determine our route out, either leaving directly from our dive-centre or through the natural channel.
One of my personal favourite sites is Chupis, which means underwear in Kiswahili! This spot was found by the first underwater explorer of the coast, starting out in 1997 in bad weather conditions, in a 5m boat with one decrepit 35hp engine, no radio, no GPS, no staff but a lot of faith!
Looking down to see where the corals were starting, with his face at the surface and a very old pair of underpants floating past (hence the name), he found something amazing.
Chupis is perfect for any diver. It consists of three sections of reef.
First is Chupis Garden, 3m sloping down to around 16m and full of beautiful corals and exciting life.
Usually a mild northern current makes it easy and relaxing to drift and find numerous octopuses, different species of scorpionfish, ribbon eels, many nudibranch species, mantis shrimps, titan triggerfish, sting rays and more.
We finish over orange sponges, where we have a very good chance of finding giant frogfish (above) despite their camouflage.
Adriano Chupis has corals from around 14m to 22m and is also full of life. There are always schools of redtoothed triggerfish and many snapper along with the macro life.
This is a perfect place to descend before drifting over and shallowing up to Chupis Garden. At around 15m we have started a coral nursery and many new residents have already moved in, including a couple of Indian Ocean walkmen.
Finally there is Chupis Deep at around 30m, where you can find many moray eels (left) and blotched fantail rays along with large schools of barracuda above and butterfly and parrotfish below. It’s full of cleaning stations around large barrel sponges – look out for the shrimps and cleaner wrasse.
Diving Chupis is exhilarating, but also check into the blue for surprises. Bottlenose dolphins sometimes visit the reef, along with the odd eagle ray or turtle.