Marine conservation in Mozambique – Ocean Safari


DSCF6580The Ocean Safari organized by Peri Peri Divers at Tofo Beach (www.peri-peridivers.com) is a great way to see the un-spoilt pristine beaches south of Tofo up to Praia da Rocha, but also to have the opportunity to spot whale sharks, manta rays and turtles and snorkel with them.  You need to be competent with snorkeling and a good swimmer to keep up with the whale sharks as they travel quite fast!

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Run by Englishman Steve Counsel from Manchester who has been stationed at Tofo for many years, you are reassured that safety is of prime importance to Peri Peri Divers whilst making sure that the ocean guides are fun and informative.

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Its always a question of luck – will you see anything – and there is never any guarantee – but these guys are experienced and know the coast well and can spot megafauna in the ocean.  What is surprising is just how close to the coast the whale sharks come!

snorkeling at Praia da Rocha

snorkeling at Praia da Rocha

The boat is reassuringly modern, with twin engines, life jackets and they also provide you with rash tops, snorkels, masks and flippers.  We were lucky to have on board Alex Watts, the whale shark research assistant at the Marine Megafauna Foundation (www.marinemegafauna.org)

Alex Watts, whale shark expert with Marine Megafauna Foundation

Alex Watts, whale shark expert with Marine Megafauna Foundation

We travelled all the way to Praia da Rocha without seeing anything.  Once there, the opportunity to snorkel was provided and most of our party jumped in and snorkeled the reef there.  Unfortunately, nobody saw anything significant and many were stung by the blue bottle jelly fish!  Apparently at Praia da Rocha a turtle had been spotted laying its eggs and a guard employed there to protect them from poachers.

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However, on the way back to base a “shadow” was spotted which turned out to be a whale shark of about 5.5/6 meters!  Everyone quickly – and quietly – dropped into the water and attempted to locate the whale shark.  They travel quite fast and you need to get your face quickly into the water – as Shy quickly found out as he was literally on top of the whale shark and it was important to make sure that he did not touch it or interrupt its projected pathway.

 

DSC07712Once we lost the whale shark, we carried on back to base only to find another whale shark!  Our team leader James phoned base to get us some extra time as the boat was booked out as soon as we got back so we could jump (quietly) in the water and this time most of us managed to follow the whale shark for a while getting a unique view of this magnificent animal!

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Well worth the money – but wear Factor 50 sun screen and a hat as the Indian Ocean sun can be very strong!

 

Jill Golding

 

If you would like to know more about volunteering in marine conservation in Mozambique, check out our website,drop  us an email to info@volunteervacations.co.uk or give us a ring on 01483 331551 or 07833 208 158 or 01483 203405 (eves).

Volunteers need to be fit enough to be able to jump into boats and cope with steps at the Lodge.  Good swimming ability if also important as currents can be strong.

If not a scuba diver already, volunteers can spend their first week doing their Open Water Qualification with Peri Peri Divers.

 

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