The nerves of week one were quickly dispelled upon meeting like-minded individuals who came from all over the globe to participate in the Love The Oceans Conversation Adventure Program. As the sun lights up our first day, we study, learning new skills that will enhance our abilities and experience in the great blue. Once the work is put away for the day we enjoy a game of volleyball where the only goal is to get the ball over the net. No rules or proper technique necessary, all that is required is 100% effort, and a positive attitude ensures lots of laughter. When the sun has set, out come the good tunes, card games, and sincere gratitude for being surrounded by passionate people working towards a noble cause while having a blast. Another worthwhile experience was picking trash up off the sand, with the dual benefit of restoring pristine beaches and cutting the plastic to create eco bricks, used to build walls in the local schools. Participating in the community outreach program felt like a unique privilege to be welcomed by fun-loving students at Guinjata School who were filled with questions about the educational mural that we were painting portraying Humpback whale migration patterns. By the end of the day, smiles weren’t the only thing plastered on our faces; there was also lots and lots of paint!
Time flies when you’re having fun and we’ve settled into our home away from home with very little effort due to the hospitality of everyone involved especially the LTO team.
The program for our second week covered so much more than expected. Successful surfing lessons (despite swallowing half the Indian Ocean) we washed it down with delicious cakes at the Upstairs cafe in Tofo. Big shout out to Ricardo at the surf shack for managing to get us all to stand up!
Exhausted, we all collapsed into bed early for a 5AM start at fisheries the next morning. A slight competition emerged as we tried to identify the fish from the fisheries, getting a bit too excited to spot a white-spotted rabbitfish or a Bluefin chub. We’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to daily living in this beautiful environment with informative lectures and a walking tour of Inhambane. We’ve got up at the crack of dawn to camp out and be on hand for the local fishermen’s catch. Fish identification required patience and tested our research skills and brought home the myriad of varieties that look so alike!
The next day we were back at Guinjata school, painting a mural on the cetaceans commonly found in Mozambique; someone got a little too carried away with the ‘tonal control’ on her dolphin painting, while others got carried away dancing up a storm with the kids and teaching them songs. We can say for certain though that all of us got hooked on a feeling! We are so proud of our completed mural at the school, themed the migration of the humpback whales and the whales and dolphins of Mozambique. We really surprised ourselves with the project. Thanks to Pascal’s Portuguese lesson we should now be able to communicate more easily with the people around.
In terms of our rescue diving training, our team might be 2 down due to illness and injury but we’re not out. We’ve all been able to get on top of the theory whilst one of us has been able to get out into the big blue on some hard fought (pretend) missions: finding missing divers, rescuing unconscious divers and putting our other practical skills to the test. We saw species such as dragon eels, paperfish, marble rays and boxfish. We ended the week on a high as Gavin, one of the divemasters in training, completed his qualification. We looked on in horror and hilarity as he drank a mixture of beverages and piri piri sauce down a snorkel as per tradition. How he survived that will forever remain a mystery!
As the end of our second week is approaching we are getting ready for our first formal ocean safari and we cannot wait to meet the gentle giants of this beautiful bay!