Whale Shark conservation in Tofo
Trip Start Aug 28, 2008
11Trip End Nov 06, 2008
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Adriana picked us up from the airport. She's the marine biologist looking after the project in Tofo
We did go to Inhambane though. The bus journey in was absolutely crazy, I've never seen so many people in one vehicle before, they were practically sat on our laps. We went to the markets and I loved it - locals with no English trying to sell us fruit and veg and all touristy bits and pieces. I loved the banter and am looking forward to getting back there sometime. We got to taste a really weird fruit that looked a bit like weetabix or something inside and tasted a bit like sweet woodchips, not something that we bought
The following day I started the training for my advanced diving. I was pretty nervous about diving again but it was a bit of an adventure. We had to push the boat 180 degrees to face the see and then drag it into the sea. Depending on where the tide is and how many people there are this can be pretty hard work, particularly when you're fully kitted out in a wetsuit which is not made for aerobic activity. It quite baywatch as we all sit into the boat and fly over the waves. I had a new technique for getting into the water to learn - you roll backwards off the boat into the water and instead of checking everyone is ok at the surface you just head straight down to the sea bed - I like it and was the first one down on my first attempt! It was a spectacular dive, there's so much going on around here - I spotted a ray, a moray eel, a crab and we also saw a massive moray eel, lion fish and octopus - a first for me.
The weather turned again towards the end of the week and on Friday, my birthday it poured rain most of the day and we had a power cut, so we had no hot water or light. It was so miserable outside that we were sat in with torches at 11am trying to read our books! We managed to get out for dinner that night though and we went to a restaurant where they had clay ovens for pizzas - at least the electricity wouldn't be a problem there
My dive the next afternoon didn't go so well - I was supposed to be proving my buoyancy skills - meaning I could float mid water but had difficulty getting down to begin with, not great. We had the rest of the weekend off and didn't get up to much really. We did an ocean safari on the Monday and it was our first encounter with whale sharks. The visibility wasn't great and to see these massive sharks (7 metres) coming out of the gloom towards you is a little scary! It was pretty cool once you get used to it though.
On Tuesday I did a double tank dive (we don't come back to land between the two dives) and succeeded in ticking off my photography and deep dive - only two more till I get my advanced qualification! Again, the amount of fish and things to see down there was spectacular and I hope I've got some good pics to take home to prove it now.
In between whale watching (sitting on a hill for two hours with binoculars counting humpback whales as they come past on their migration), ocean safaris and diving the second week went pretty fast. I've snorkelled while a manta ray swam just under me, I've taken pictures of whale sharks from a couple of metres away while frantically snorkelling to try and keep up, we've seen hammerhead sharks, a mother and baby humpback playing only 20 metres away, a leatherback turtle, loads of rays, octopus, the only thing I've missed so far are the dolphins. In the house there's not an awful lot to do so I've read a couple of books already.
More in my next addition!