May/June Week 4

The weekend after our last post was very exciting. We started the Saturday like we normally seem to be doing, with a far fun dive! This weekend we were at Extacy which was a beautiful dive site, albeit the vis wasn’t the best we had, but I think both of us will enjoy a dive regardless. There was lots of really exciting life around too. Our second dive that day was a research dive that we were making up for from the week before. We love our research dives and everything we manage to see and capture on the dive. We’re even at that stage now where we are starting to identify what we see while we’re actually on the dive. What we had been looking forward to all week was the Saturday swim lessons for the kids we had taught a week ago at Guinjata school. It was so amazing to see all our kids again. We loved seeing them so excited. It was interesting to see the differences between the kids: you’d have the confident boys jump straight in and start doing laps, you’d have the boys who wanted to go in and have fun, but you could tell they were not entirely confident with floating and then you have the girls who tiptoed into the cold water and found it difficult to swim. Once we acknowledged the different abilities we started working with each group separately, teaching them how to float, improving some of the stroke techniques and just simply putting their head underwater and learning how to blow bubbles. This was all aided by a donation from Zoggs, they provided goggles, armbands and flotation devices; all the kids were so excited to use these, especially as it made them more confident going under water as they could see. It was lovely to see how much they all improved in just under 2 hours. A young boy named Armando would constantly come up to me and show me something I had told him to work on that he could now do. Fingers crossed that what we’ve taught them resonates with them and the next step for them could be getting in the sea!!

We had our second surfing trip on Sunday. Nicole is quickly turning into a pro but I think I can confidently say that I prefer being under the water than on a board above it. The rest of the day was lovely and relaxing, as much as we love Guinjata it is nice to see more of Moz. In this beautiful little town, there are lots of restaurants, bars, markets and there just seems to be this awesome community spirit around there, this was emphasised in the evening when we saw this incredible band play. As all of us love food, we would definitely mention the food we had there as a highlight; amazing pasta, coconut bread, pizza and cakes (including specially made vegan cupcakes).

The beginning of this week was spent in the town getting our visa’s extended and running some little errands. We’ve never been into Inhambane properly and this was the first opportunity we had to look around. The buildings had this beautiful colonial architecture and there was lots to see in the local market. The rest of the week was very similar to last week, we had two days to get data on fisheries and two days diving to collect coral reef surveys. Even so I think not one of those activities is getting tiring. We love doing it all just because it’s always so different and exciting. Our days in Paindane can be long and hot, but we love talking to the fishermen, they are just the most beautiful souls. As vegetarians and strong animal right activists you’d think fisheries wouldn’t be our favourite thing to do, but we thoroughly enjoy it and having nothing but complete understanding and appreciation for why these men do what they do. We decided to record the catches from the SA boats too, just to get data from everything that comes out of the water. It was nice to see one of the boats actually give their catch to a local fisherman who helped get the boat out of the water. You can tell just how talented the local fishermen are as they have way less gear and they were coming out which a larger quantity and bigger fish. Friday was a slightly sombering day at fisheries, it was heartbreaking to see that out of 13 kayaks only 4 came back with catch; one of the fisherman was talking to us and mentioned that they were all pretty unlucky today and they didn’t know what they are going to do as that means no money for Sunday which is a very important day for them, it’s been described to us as the ‘Mozambican Christmas’.

Diving is just the best here. We’ve both been to a fair few places and we can both confidently say that the diving here is some of the best we’ve done. Not just the dives but even on the boat. We saw a pod of humpbacks so incredibly close to the boat on Wednesday and we both cried. It was just such a beautiful moment and they were so close you could see all sorts of markings. We spent the majority of the dive looking up every time it got a little bit darker in case they were just hanging above us. It was really amazing to hear their songs underwater. The vis finally cleared up this week and all three dives were so clear. So clear the on the second dive Nicole snorkelled along the whole dive with us because she didn’t want to miss out on anything cool we saw. We honestly don’t think we’re going to get a bad dive here, there is so much life and limited damage. Both of us are very used to heavily bleached areas so it’s interesting to see the stark contrast with the abundance of life when you’re in an area where it’s not really that present.

As we end this week we’re looking forward to the swim lessons and celebrating Mozambican Independence Day this weekend and of course another fun dive!

Time is flying! We can’t believe that our volunteers have already been here for four weeks now.          
We started this week by going to Maxixe to get our visas extended and decided to make a day of it by taking the opportunity to show the volunteers around Inhambane too. The rest of the week they have been fully submerged in their fieldwork, taking on another four research dives and two full days of fisheries research. With the fourth week of the programme and the third week of fieldwork coming to an end it’s great to see how tasks like floating up-side-down above a coral reef holding a quadrat and doing fish ID on the fly is becoming second nature to the volunteers!              
After last week’s success we are looking forward next round of swim lessons this Saturday. Last Saturday we were happily surprised to see four of the girls from school at the swim lessons, so we hope the girls are equally brave this week!