Alice, Keelan, Lucy and Sam
Monday, started with meeting one another and promptly learning the danger of almost every local animal, followed by a lecture on coral reefs and how one surveys them. The rest of the evening was spent getting to know one another and indulging in a creamy mushroom pasta.
Tuesday, we all thoroughly enjoyed a fun dive and our first coral reef transect dive. Mozambique treated us with its best conditions… 4 metres viz, strong currents with a lovely side serving of swell. The afternoon was spent identifying fish and coral species from the earlier dive. The day was finished with a lovely night of star gazing under the glow of Mars.
Wednesday, we had a morning full of lectures on topics such as whale watching and the fisheries species list, followed by learning how to use the hydrophone and a few good attempts at whale noises underwater. The afternoon was spent carrying out our first beach clean, learning the extent of plastic pollution first hand, especially micro-plastics. In the evening, we decided to start our project of making art out of plastic in an attempt to raise awareness of plastic pollution globally with bottle caps being our main piece.
Thursday, we had our first day at Paindane fisheries, with a 4k walk at 5:45am. Luckily the tunes were pumpin’ and the dunes were a slumpin’. 918 plastic bottle caps were collected on the way to add to our art and over 30 shoes, surmounting to a whooping 8.8kg for the day. During the day, only 3 fish were caught; however, one was a black tip shark which we were all upset to witness be killed, but all the meat is eaten so it is less upsetting. In the evening, the shark vertebrae were collected and cut up to smaller pieces in order to predict age accurately and the fisheries data was recorded.
Friday and Saturday were our days off. We did some fun dives, played football with the locals, watched 2 fellow volunteers present presentations on plastic pollution and climate change and battled the riptides with front flips and handstands.
Sunday was met with more lectures on marine conservation, how Love The Oceans works with the local community and what we would be getting up to at the two local schools; Guinjata Primary school and Paindane Primary school. In the afternoon, we had a cultural tour, which consisted of fetching water from a pump, playing football with some local children, eating some local cuisine called matapa with coconuts as our drinks and the children provided us with some of their finest music and dance moves as a farewell.
Our new volunteer quartet is off to a flying start! Although they’ve been thrown a few curve balls in the shape of tough conditions for diving and whale watching, both mood and motivation is high. The group has already impressed us with their creative ‘art for awareness’ bottle cap project, so hopefully that’s only a taster of what’s in store for the following weeks. We’re very excited for the next four weeks!