Red Team – Amy, Oisin and Shannon
Monday marked the first transect dive for us, with two of us diving and one of us snorkelling to collect the GPS coordinates. The conditions were rough, although on the ocean floor there was little surge and current. With still enough air left when we finished the transect, we could partake in a brief fun dive during which we heard whales (apart from Amy on the surface)!
Tuesday was a 6 o’clock start for Guinjata fisheries. While waiting for fishermen to bring in their catch we met two of the locals, after a long conversation discussing Love The Oceans a few fishermen returned bearing a few fish. Twice in the day one red team member went on one of the dive boats to do whale watching, but alas, we didn’t spot any whales.
Wednesday was an early one – a 5.45am to walk to Pandaine fisheries, during which we watched a sunrise we will not forget anytime soon. In addition to quite a few fish (including a salt and pepper moray eel, Mahi mahi and a Guitarfish) we observed whale behaviour in the distant horizon including fin slapping and breaching. A long day but a good one!
Thursday brought another day on Guinjata fisheries. We set up shop under a little shaded shelter and made friends with a few of the local kids and with three of the local’s dogs (honestly the highlight of the day!). We divided two whale watching trips between the group and finished the day logging the large amount of fish caught which continued on until after dinner.
Friday had us back on transect dives starting at 7.30am (an extra 30 minutes lie in!) The conditions were not as rough on the surface this time although the surge and current were much stronger making placing the quadrat and taking a decent shot with the gopro quite tricky. The day ended on a positive note with fish and chips for dinner (the fish was a locally caught King Mackerel) and vegetable spring rolls.
Green Team – Megan, Rhiannon and Josh
Our first week of official research has started and Rhiannon, Megan and Josh (a.k.a the dream team) are intrigued for the week ahead. Our day of monitoring fisheries at Paindane point began with our first whale sightings of the trip which set us up for a for a good day, which then ended with the local fishermen bringing an impressive selection of fish.
The next day consisted of our first transect dives as the dream team. Even though we had to deal with less than ideal conditions we powered through and everything ran smoothly. Following this was 2 more days of fisheries research at both Paindane and Guinjata, both of which resulted in us measuring and logging some amazing game fish, including plenty of King Mackeral and Mahi Mahi, not to mention a 2.7m long sailfish! The biggest caught in the area in a while. The week ended with a busy evening of logging data and some freshly caught fish and chips for dinner, preparing us for our weekend off ahead.
Blue Team – Izzy, Jim and Viktoria
Monday was out first day of research and data collection. We spent the day at the Paindane fisheries site waiting for fishermen to come in so we could, count, measure and ID all the fish they had caught. The walk to Paindane is long but the amazing sunrises are worth it. We hoped for a day of sunshine, but the weather turned, and we spent most of the day being battered by the wind and sand- but at least nobody got sunburnt!
Tuesday was the first time we did a transect dive to collect data on the coral reefs around Guinjata bay. We went diving twice, and struggled a bit on both dives due to the surge, but we managed to get some good data.
On Wednesday we were whale watching and monitoring the fisheries in Guinjata Bay. The whale migration is late this year and not many whales have been seen, but on Wednesday they finally made an appearance! We couldn’t deploy the hydrophone, but we did get a lot of whale activity data.
On Thursday we were diving again and this time the transects went a lot smoother. We didn’t manage to see any whales from the boat, but just offshore we were greeted by a pod of around 30 dolphins next to the dive boat!
Friday was spent back at Paindane fisheries and luckily the weather was a lot better! The day started off fast with 3 fishermen coming in at around 7:30 so we were expecting a busy day, but the rest of the day was slower.
This weekend we’ll be doing some fun dives on Saturday, swimming lessons with the local kids and then we’re off to Tofo this weekend to surf, browse the markets and eat cake!
Conservation Adventure Program – Krystal and Rhiannon
Framed by palm trees, I awake to a stunning sunrise over the Mozambique Channel. It is my first day of the 3 week Conservation Adventure Program with Love the Oceans. I jump right into the water on a fun dive to wet my appetite for the weeks to come. My heart was beating with anticipation, my stomach knotted with nerves. We battled a swell of 2m for a successful dive and the resulting boat ride out served as a pseudo water coaster experience, as a bonus. While down at the depths I heard the call of a whale in the distance. They are late coming to the channel this year; is this call a calming song to ease the weariness of my first dive?
Learning to dive this week has been non-stop smiles and laughter and surfacing from the depths of 18m on my first ever dive has not failed to interrupt this. The beautiful sunrise every morning added with the interactions with the local community through painting murals and the Cultural Tour have been rewarding experiences, with the added bonus of very happy kids styling and plaiting our hair!
We can’t believe the 2nd week of the Research Program is over already and the 1st week of the Conservation Adventure Program! We’re looking forward to see what the next few weeks have in store for our volunteers. Keep up the good work!