Today was our first Indian Ocean dive experience in Africa and it was incredible. We were told that Mozambique was one of the best places to go for ocean life, but we didn’t realize it was as good as it was.
We set off early from Baobab Backpackers with a group of Italian and Spanish backpackers. The boats left around 8:30am and we headed straight for Bazaruto Island. On the way we spotted several pods of Dolphins, which were beautiful. They swam around our boat for several minutes and followed us as we continued our journey to the island.
We arrived at the island about at hour and a half after we set off from shore. While the crew went to work preparing a traditional Mozambican lunch for us, they gave us several hours free time to explore the sand dunes on the island. Mozambique has been a series of firsts for me in many ways, one of those experiences was hiking a giant sand dune on an African island.
The sand was so soft, Andrew and I took off our shoes so that we could feel it between our toes. At the base of the sand dune the sand is very calm, but as you climb to the top the wind starts to pick up and the sand turns into a series of small whirlwinds. Know I understand why the Arabs of the Sahara desert wear masks that cover their faces. If they didn’t have those masks they would not be able to see anything and the entire journey would be very painful.
We spent nearly two hours exploring the beautiful dunes and once we arrived at the top, we understood why the divers in Vilanculos climb the dunes every time. In the center of the island was a giant jungle oasis, with beautiful greenery, birds flying among the trees, and bodies of clean water. Climbing the sand dunes it is hard to imagine that anything with so much life could exist on the other side of something so dry. The sand dunes were definitely a highlight of my trip here to Africa.
The day didn’t end there. Andrew and I returned to the cooking sight with enough time to watch how they prepared each of the dishes. We learned how they marinate and cook the fish (with oil, garlic, lemon, vinegar, and onion), make calamari curry with vegetables, boil whole crabs, and prepare the rice and fresh salad. Andrew and I both love fresh seafood so it was great for us to be able to observe how others prepare it so that we can improve on our own techniques. All the food was delicious and it made me very excited to move to California where the seafood will be much better than in Utah.
We set off around midday to snorkel at two-mile reef which as beautiful but absolutely freezing! The summer months in the Northern hemisphere are the winter months in the Southern Hemisphere meaning that it is one of the coldest times to be in Mozambique right now. All our friends coming from South Africa told us that it is absolutely freezing there!
We saw many fish, manta ray, reef shark, and a turtle. It was a good day and we were absolutely exhausted by the time we returned home. For dinner we cooked up another fish dish that was delicious and enjoyed another rich conversation with Steph and Luke about their future travel plans.
Tomorrow we have the entire day to explore the city and markets, and learn to make Matapa and Mozambican seafood with Zita.
(Below: Andrew’s post)
I woke up a little relieved that the morning had come. While staying with Luke and Stephanie we’re truly Couchsurfing it as we’re sleeping on their couch. That means no mosquito net. In an effort to both keep myself warm, and bite free I had thrown the covers over my head. It’s a pretty effective method, but it doesn’t make for a very restful night.
We tidied our things and grabbed what we needed for our day of snorkeling – gopro, jackets, and Kylie’s camera.
At 8am we met up with our group at the backpackers lodge which was comprised of several Italians on holiday, a couple Spaniards, an English couple, and Kylie and I.
We boarded the boat and were off!
The morning air was cool and refreshing and the sea water surprisingly warm and calm as we darted towards Bazaruto island (two mile reef). Just a couple of days ago they’d seen dolphins and other marine life so we were hopefully to be as lucky.
Sure enough after 20 minutes our guide veered sharply to the right and cut the engine. He pointed excitedly (he didn’t speak English) at the water to get us to look. As our eyes scanned the surface of the water we saw several fins break the surface, dolphins!
To be continued… Post was deleted