September/October Week 1

Week 1: Anne, Charlotte and Jamie.

Together with the amount of lectures, diving, walking, beach cleaning, eating and fun that we have had already, it’s hard to believe that we’ve only been here for a week! Sunday saw us all arrive in Guinjata Bay to start the next five weeks learning about the local marine environment so that we can assist in the conservation of this area. We got moved into our home for our time here which is surprisingly really nice considering we are in rural Africa! How could we possibly complain about a view of the Indian Ocean right on our doorstep? We met the whole team who welcomed with open arms starting with a big plate of cassava!

Monday and Tuesday saw us receiving lectures from Chess, Lis and Mat who told us everything there is to know about Love The Oceans, the area of Mozambique that we are in, the marine life that is found here, how they are working to protect this area and how our volunteering work is assisting them. It’s been really interesting hearing this information as it has opened our eyes into what our next 5 weeks will entail. We’ve also been informed about the research methods which are being used which we put to the test including dunking our heads in the pool pretending to be whales! In addition to this, we carried out our first beach clean on Guinjata beach where we managed to collect over 6kg of trash, a great addition to the total amount that has already been collected.

We were all really excited for Wednesday as it was our first diving day!  We had such an incredible morning completing two dives despite our transect tape not working! However we were lucky enough to spot several eels, a school of Giant Trevally, Lionfish, Blue Spotted Stingrays, Scorpionfish and lots of Nudibranchs. All this was post excitement of our boat going past a baby Humpback Whale breaching! In the afternoon, we were welcomed to the world of fish ID’s which involved some rigorous analysis of all the different fish in the area so that we will be able to put our knowledge to the test when we carry out our coral reef transects and fisheries research.

Thursday became our day off this week as we had planned to go surfing at the weekend but today was the only day with good enough weather. Chess and Lis drove us to Tofo which took us on a journey through Inhambane allowing us to see the local culture until we reached the chilled out vibe in Tofo. Along with the surfing, today involved lots of eating which we obviously all enjoyed.

Friday was another culturally rich day which took us to Guinjata and Paindane School to get an idea of the places that we’ll be spending time teaching the local children and painting classrooms to add to previous volunteers work. We met our wonderful community outreach officer, Pascal who gave us a cultural tour around his home. We spent the afternoon playing football with the local children, weaving palm leaves, collecting water and watching how Pascal’s wife, Estrella, makes the local dish of matapa! Then we were lucky enough to eat the matapa which was unbelievably delicious. Back at the restaurant, the lovely Nina had also made matapa so there were no complaints from us!

Overall, it’s been an intense week but we have all learnt so much and we are excited to put all of our effort into the next four weeks in such a special place.

We’re super excited to welcome Anne, Charlotte and Jamie to Guinjata Bay and Love The Oceans! Training week is always intense and we’ve properly thrown them in the deep end this week with difficult diving conditions, long days of lectures and a full day of fisheries research in the sun – so it’s great to see that it’s going swimmingly! Thanks for a great first week, we’re looking forward to the next four weeks!

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