I was supposed to be on an Ocean Sarari today, but the wind was too high, so we dove instead. The dive had quite a bit of surge, but we did see a lot: blue spotted rays, torpedo ray, jenkins whip ray, leaf fish, porcupine fish (followed me around!), lionfish and a lovely octopus! Still have not seen a manta ray on a dive, or any whale shark, leopard shark, or guitar shark. We watched a documentary today called SHIVER, it is about Mozambique's diverse marine life and how they are fishing out the sharks and the mantas. Several sharks have been harvested and slaughtered right on the beach, you can imagine what is going on in more remote areas. All for shark fin soup. Absolutely ridiculous. The soup is made from the inner fibers of the fin (gross) and then added to chicken soup! That is it. Shark meat is a staple in fishing villages here now that the Chinese have moved in, which is a major problem as shark meat is full of mercury...the long term effects will not be pretty. Sadly, the people here do not understand. 10 years ago NO ONE fished for sharks in Mozambique, but
the Chinese are paying these people top dollar. They have "agents" everywhere. The country of Mozambique has ONE patrol boat. One. There is no way to police the waters as they should be policed unless they declare the Inhambane peninsula a marine park, and give jobs to locals to patrol. I admire what everyone is doing here, conservation efforts here are all out, but if the local people do not understand and continue to multiple longline for sharks and rays, the reefs here will be devastated. The whale sharks have made very few appearances in the last few months, and while one used to dive with sharks and rays galore 2 or 3 years ago, now you're hard pressed to find them. It is tragic. I still have several dives left, so I am keeping my fingers crossed on photographing a manta ray on a dive. Send me manta ray thoughts!
I cannot believe I am on my third week in Tofo. The time has gone so quickly! I regret not coming for 4 volunteer weeks instead of 3, but I'll still be diving with my mates after I leave the project.I am posting some photos of the "boat
launch" so you can get an idea of what it is like. The more harrowing trip is the return when they "beach" the boat. Today I managed to hold on and not "fly". The trick for me is to be on the right side of the boat coming in as it is the side that goes down when it hits the sand. One of the boat drivers is a completely crazy driver, he has two speeds: zero and 100 miles an hour. So check out the photos and see what you go through to dive here! The surge was very present today on the reef....very difficult to take photos when you are going backward and then forward, backward and forward. Oy.
Tomorrow is another dive so I am looking forward to that. Each dive gives me a chance to see a manta. I think my next dive trip will be in the tropical South Pacific....on a luxury live aboard! After Tofo I'll be ready for some pampering.
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