Big fish, little fish, swimming in the water
09.05.2007 - 18.05.2007 31 °C
As soon as we crossed the border I felt good. Nothing had really changed but for some reason I was buzzing. Maybe it's because Mozambique is more foreign, more exotic. A week has passed and nothing has even come close to bursting my bubble. Mozambique rocks.
We had a few days in Maputo to organise the next leg of our trip doing things like getting our Tanzanian visas and organizing flights. As always the places we needed to go were scattered systematically throughout the city making a succinct, mission accomplishing sojourn, impossible. It did however take us to some cool places we were unlikely to see otherwise. Maputo is a pretty shabby, kind of mouldy looking, place but the people are super friendly and it's got a really cool Latin / Afro thing going on.
So far the Moz food has well and truly exceeded our expectations. It's all about super fresh seafood and piri piri, loads of piri piri. We went to the Maputo fish market for dinner. It was one of those pick your own squid jobies. I'm thinking "what do I know about picking fresh seafood?" How is this a good idea in a country with substandard
hygiene? Fortunately our cook helped us and the meal was fantastic.
A few people have requested a kg update. I would love to know myself but the only scales we have found were at the Mapotu Central market and I tipped the scale at 110kg. Hmmm. If I had to hazard a guess I would go with 93kg however I must confess that the photo in the last blog made me look thinner than I am. Lets hope my exercise / piri piri ratio is low enough to keep the kgs dropping.
We spent heaps of our time people watching and chatting with the locals. Here are a few classic Maputo moments.
With our admin out of the way we set course for Tofo and more importantly Tofino point. Youngos.net had given me a mega hankering for surf and after being frustrated by flat surf in Cape Town and Durban I was hoping Tofino would fill the void. We stayed at a hostel called Turtle Cove, which was in the coconut groves behind the point. The place was fantastic but the owners were a joke. They were so inhospitable it makes you wonder why they went into the hospitality industry. I awoke to the light rustling of coconut palms and splinters of light shining through the walls of our grass hut casting a zebra
pattern on our mosquito net. By the time I got to the board rack the other three boards were missing, a sure sign that there was a wave about. Tofino is a 200 meter, sand bottomed, point break and on our first day in Tofo it was doing its thing. The water was light aqua, somewhere in the mid 20's, the early morning air was about the same. It took me a few waves to find my feet and for the first twenty minutes I was becoming concerned that 4 months out of the water was going to render me waveless. When I did hook into my first Mozabique wall it was a cracker. Clean, 4 ft, whackable and I managed to fluke my way all the way to the shore. It was a long wait in between sets
but with only the 4 of us out we all got a few good waves. I began to fade after my fourth wave as the inevitable spaghetti arms got the better of me.
Our grass hut
The set up, day 1
We spend the rest of the day wandering the sandy streets and checking out Tofo. It's a really cool town and I'm sure that in 5 years it's burgeoning backpacker scene will be compared to the Byron Bays of the world. Beachfront blocks of land are going for $10,000 USD. It's the perfect souvenir. Unfortunately you need to be a resident or business owner to buy one.
The next day we awoke to a much louder rustling of coconut palms thanks to a strong onshore wind that would all but kill the surf for the next few days. After a lazy morning we caught the bus to the capital of the state Inhambane, which is about as laid back as a city can be. Wide tree lined streets, crumbling layers of paint (pastels of course) on Portuguese or art deco architecture and beer gardens with outdoor pool tables. We had a massive lunch at the Mercado Central and worked it off with some fierce bargaining.
On day three I managed to get a cheeky wave in before the wind came up but with the new swell still few days away it was more about getting wet than anything else. I did however come close to soiling myself when a large fin surfaced in the choppy sea 10 meters away from me and pointing in my direction. Ant's cries of "DID YOU SEE THAT FIN!!" certainly didn't help matters. Fortunately my fears were relieved a few seconds later when a dolphin dove out of the next wave. I have been surfing and hanging out with two guys and a girl from Cape Town. It's funny how South Africans affect me. I definitely have a love hate thing going on. Fortunately my surfing buddies, Ant, Riyadh (and
Riyadh's wife Aniya) fall into the first category and we spend the rest of the day swimming eating and hanging out in the village with them.
(Photos c/o Riyadh)
The Surf cleaned up the next day and despite being a little small it was good fun. The rest of the week followed a very similar pattern and ended up becoming one big relaxing blur. We ended up spending a lot of time hanging with the Cape Town trio, surfing, interneting, drinking massive milkshakes, eating prego rolls, swimming and occasionally
venting about how horrendously run the hostel is.
We did manage to rouse ourselves from our close to comatose state of relaxation for Tofo's major draw card, swimming with whale sharks. There are huge plankton clouds just off the coast at Tofo and the whale sharks can't get enough of it. You're given snorkeling gear, taken out the back and once a whale shark is spotted it's into the
water for a closer look. The first time the driver told us to jump overboard there was a 5 meter shark swimming right towards Nat. It made a slow turn and sunk a little to avoid her and continued on its merry way. They are so docile and quite slow moving so it's really easy to swim with them. Once they want some alone time they slowly
drop into the deep blue. We had just stopped following one that had dropped when another surfaced a few meters away from me. It was very surreal. Riyadh's camera was having trouble focusing through the plankton cloud so it looks a little cloudy. In the water it was very clear.
The predicted big swell never really eventuated but the conditions gradually improved over the week. We had to share the break with a big group from Durban for the last two days but fortunately, by then the sets were marching in regularly and everyone was getting plenty of waves. We had a flight booked so extending, as tempting as it was,
wasn't an option. We decided to get up super early on our last morning to try and get a few in before we had to get moving. It ended up being the session of the trip. 4 to 5 foot, long clean lines and for the first hour or so there was only a handful of us on it. After
two and a half hours of joy I pulled into what is most probably my last wave until we get home. I dragged my self from the water, we said our good byes and started the trek north.
If you're keen to get some epic empty waves in moz Ant's a surf guide. www.surfing-safari.co.za
Nice point break, long workable rides
Lots o love,
Ev and Nat