Oyster Bay was the first of three homes we had in Dar es Salaam. It was just up the coast from the city. We were a stone’s throw from the beach, this made my parents very popular with their ‘friends’ in Dodoma as they came down en masse to stay. It got so crowded that bedrooms were set aside for each sex to change into their costumes. One cheeky man burst into the women’s room where most were naked and announced, “shut your eyes girls, I’m walking through”.
Many days were spent at the beach, sunbathing and swimming. On one occasion we heard screams from a man who had been snorkelling with a spear gun. He had shot a fish and the spear had gone straight through it. The fish turned out to be a giant moray eel (it can grow up to four metres), this one slid down the line towards the snorkeler. My father went into the water with a trident (just a broom handle with three prongs on the end) and stopped the moray from reaching the panicked swimmer. After bringing the moray eel onto the beach, it turns out it was only about 2-metres long. Everything looks bigger underwater, especially when its razor-sharp teeth are coming for you.