Marcel and Ben continue to work on their Advanced, and the Open Water Group passed their tests so they are certified and working toward their Advanced Diver, well, except Melissa. She is dating the dive instructor though, so I have a feeling she will pass. They all seem to enjoy diving….if they like it here, they can dive anywhere. It is lovely to hear them all talking about their dives, so excited by everything! I love it.
Today we all circulated and signed petitions regarding the massacre of sharks and rays yesterday. The Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna is rushing them to Maputo (the capitol) tonight. Most of the fishermen here have small rowboats, but this was a much larger, motorized boat. They have been told to fish 3 kilometers from shore, but they were in the bay. Even so, it is not illegal here, hopefully it soon will be. Darren, the marine biologist from the Seychelles, filmed it and there are many photos of the event. Let’s hope the government will understand that tourists are here to see these animals in the ocean, not being butchered on the beach. Rumor has it there is a Chinese mystery man in Maputo who pays top dollar for shark fins….some of the local guys who work in the dive industry are trying to find out his name.
I feel as though I have been here much longer than 10 days. I have become much stronger physically as the hills and treacherous stairs to the beach are unavoidable. It has been good for me. I have been diving every day since Friday, and I’ve done 3 ocean safaris. Launching the boat is no picnic, either, everything here involves physical exertion. I’ve started to know the scientists and divers….grad students, research assistants, biologists, they are all doing awesome work. I usually dive and safari with Ben and Marcel, and Darren is on every ocean safari as he is here from the Seychelles to measure and film Whale Sharks. Not much luck for him yet!
There have been few sightings in the last couple of months, and I sense a little concern. Great news filtered in today: a Humpback Whale was sighted off of Barra (one of the points of the bay)! I would love to see one. They come here to breed in late May, early June, so I may get lucky. I am also posting a photo of Marcel doing his laundry, and yes, I have to hand wash my clothes, too. A first for me.
I am very glad I decided to do this trip, and I hope it will be the first of many. I am diving in the morning and again in the afternoon, Friday morning a group of us leave for Bazaruto, a chain of island off of Villancula….it is said to be beautiful and serene, with incredible snorkeling. I am looking forward to it.