It’s hard to believe that a whole week has gone by since the last post and that our Love The Oceans experience has to come to an end!
On Saturday morning we were lucky enough to dive the world renowned Manta Reef and we were not disappointed. The visibility was clear, fish swirled around the huge cleaning stations in whatever direction we turned, and we even saw dolphins splashing not far from shore as the boat sped us towards the dive site.
The afternoon was our first experience of swimming lessons which were so much fun! It was especially fun to splash around squirting the kids with the ocean creature pool toys before stirring a lot of excitement when we got out our underwater cameras! We also got to put our Portuguese into practise which we discovered needed much improvement, so we made it our mission to get some more phrases under our belt to make the experience even more rewarding next time.
Sunday was our first fully free day and the morning was filled with diving in crystal clear waters before making the hour and a half trip to Tofo market later that afternoon. After a sunny drive with summery tunes on full volume, we wandered around a number of colourful market stalls before going up to Jenny’s amazing rooftop café for the most delicious cakes (passionfruit sponge, cheesecake and vegan chocolate brownie). We soon discovered that Jenny’s was the inspiration for the quote of the day board back at Jay’s and the relaxed vibe made it easy to sit among the hanging plants and cool wooden décor as we sat and watched the world go by.
After a full weekend of leisure, Monday was back to the 5am start for the walk to Paindane fishery. A lot of the time was spent sitting in swingy chairs and wandering along the beach (in addition to helping pick up rubbish in preparation for a wedding taking place in the nearby beach shack) as we waited for the fishermen to come in on their boats loaded with fish and squid ready for measuring. After being fortunate enough to hitch a lift by truck on our first fisheries day (and by boat on the second!), Monday was the first day we had to make the long walk back to base.
On Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday, it was school time! We were tasked with coming up with an educational mural for Guinjata Bay School and after brainstorming and sketching out ideas, we decided on a mural encompassing the importance of coral reefs complete with colourful fish, bright corals (and a diver with red fins that very much resembled Jay!) In the afternoons we taught the kids lessons about continents, ocean creatures and sustainability using interactive games including our fun ‘tuna tuna dolphin’ variation of ‘duck duck goose’ (all the running around outside seemed to go down well!)
We also enjoyed getting to know some of the children as the school day ended by playing football, doing yoga poses while they sat on our shoulders and even getting my hair plaited (although had to watch out for attempts at dreadlocks!)
After signing our initials at the bottom of our completed mural and waving goodbye to the kids for the last time, the next day was back to the ocean for coral reef surveys. The afternoon was mostly spent on our balcony logging, with us all determined to get it finished so we could enjoy our last full day in Guinjata.
On that night Antoni and Lily also learnt that Good Friday is always a full moon (nugget of wisdom from David!) and we all watched the horizon, waiting for his guarantee that it would rise at 5.40.
Saturday saw more diving in the morning and although the visibility was more like a green algal soup rather than the beautiful clear blue ocean we’d been used to, we still loved it nonetheless and revelled in the last exhilarating ride back to shore on the boat. After another rewarding afternoon of swimming lessons (with some markedly better Portuguese!) we said our goodbyes to Pascal which made it all the more real that it would soon be time to leave.
Our last night came far too soon, but all of us had a hilarious night of card playing, listening to party tunes and trying Chess’s speciality pornstar martinis (topped with the delicious passionfruit that is far better than home). Jemma even impressed us with a very clever card trick which left us all in awe!
It’s safe to say that we’ve all had the best experience and have met people and made memories that we will never forget.
It’s been an absolute pleasure having these guys as part of the team for the last 2 weeks. Thanks for being such awesome volunteers and we hope you’ll be back in the not-too-distant future!