We kicked off our week with an early morning dive on manta reef, with a turtle at our drop point and endless shoals of fish, during which Ellie completed her final dive for her advanced open water qualification! Francesca and Saskia were also lucky enough to spot a bowmouth guitarfish and managed to snap some incredible footage. Later that evening we celebrated Tam’s birthday. Tam is one of our fabulous dive instructors and it was only her second week in Guinjata so we decided to celebrate in style. We had a Moz style birthday party on Saturday evening with improvised Harry Potter glasses and wands, chocolate cake, traditional birthday singing by the restaurant staff and a late night (and by late we mean we left the restaurant after nine pm!)
The next day we had a slow morning and then headed off with Francesca and Tam for a day trip to Tofo via the Inhambane market. After a very successful shopping trip in a clothes shop version of Aladdin’s cave we continued our drive to Tofo for souvenir shopping and surfing.
Tofo is beautiful and a lovely day trip from Guinjata. The town is bustling by comparison to our bay, and we were all somewhat shocked to be surrounded by so many people after enjoying rural life for the last four weeks. After collecting souvenirs for family and friends, and Nikki using her new-found skills in Portugese to haggle like a pro we made our way to hire surfboards. The usual hire shop was closed, but we hired boards from a nearby dive centre and Saskia and Ellie had a fantastic hour learning the basics of surfing under Tam’s watchful gaze. We then bought some cake and headed to Sunset Lodge on the way home for cocktails and a gorgeous sunset, managing to avoid excessive mosquito bites all evening!
On Tuesday on our first coral reef dive Saskia, Nikki and Francesca were lucky enough to hear whale song whilst under the water, and were so transfixed they extended their safety stop to listen. The song was so loud they could feel the vibrations in their chests. Ellie was unimpressed that whales decided to sing on the dive that she wasn’t on, and is convinced that they are deliberately avoiding her. Our second survey was considerably more challenging, as we battled with a changing current and surge to complete the transect.
The whales finally seem to have arrived in earnest and we have had several sightings from the boat this week. We hope that our sightings will continue to increase throughout our final week here, as we are all desperate to have as much time with the whales as possible before we head home.
We are looking forward to the arrival of the other members of LTO staff and some of the volunteers for the next programme on Sunday, but are beyond sad that we are now in our last week in Guinjata. The time has gone unbelievably quickly, and we hope to cram in some more awesome experiences in our last week.
Ocean love to all, Ellie, Saskia and Nikki.