Did not sleep very well last night because several men in the dorms alternated snoring throughout the night, but at 7 AM I was up and excited to go snorkeling at the Archipelago (love that word). However my enthusiasm diminished slightly when suddenly right after breakfast my body decided that something I had consumed should come immediately come right back out. We had arranged to be picked up by Sail Away at 8:30 at Zombie so I figured sitting in a car and sitting on the boat wouldn’t be too bad for my stomach besides I already was beginning to feel better- I could still go out for the day. The only problem no one ever came to pick us up, so we walked quickly down the beach in hopes that the dhow ( a traditional mozambique boat) had not left without us, my stomach was not too happy.
We made it to Sail Away in plenty of time. Thank goodness they were running a bit late this morning. The staff was helpful and got us set up with booties to protect our feet from the sharp rocks and a mask & snorkel.
I had only brought my one visa card because we didn’t want to have any money or extra cards out on the water, unfortunately it was not going through. We apologized for not having any cash on us but the guy was so nice. He said don’t worry about it you can go to the ATM and pay us when you get back. I was expecting him to ask to keep something of ours to ensure our return, but he put 100 percent trust in the fact that we would come back and pay. I guess he figured that it is a small town where most company owners know each other so if we didn’t come back he could find us.
Gathering all the bags and snorkel gear the group headed down to the beach where we waded through the water and climbed up a wooden ladder into the boat. The dhow has a sail and ruder, but on the way there they used the motor. In the middle of the back end of dhow is a pit where a fire is made to cook lunch and heat up water. On the ride out to Magaruque Island (the southern most of the Archipelago and the National Park) we watched the cook cut up vegetables for a salad and clean the squid for lunch.
Magaruque Island has gorgeous white sand beaches and palm trees along the outside and sand dunes with short shrub vegetation in the middle. In the water a rock ledge surrounds the island making it easy to enter and exit the water for snorkeling.
When we arrived at the island we were told it was not a good time go snorkeling because the tide was too high. I was glad because it was only 10 in the morning and I was not warm enough to get in the water. Alex and I decided to walk around the island, which we were told would take about 1.5 hours. After rounding the northern tip of the island we came across the view we had been expecting in Mozambique – a long strip of white sand, crystal blue water, and no one else in sight. It was beautiful! On our walk we saw several varieties of birds, collected shells (including the kind that you “can hear the ocean in”) and had a close up look at the resort that costs about 400 US dollars a night to stay.
We made it back to the boat just in time for lunch which was made up of a salad, grilled calamari, rice with tomato sauces, oranges, and bread. The grilled calamari was perfect and the tomato sauce added a wonderful flavor to the whole dish. I wish we had made it back in time to watch them grill the calamari over the fire on the boat because I am very curious about how it is done. There was no grate like in a BBQ, so I wonder if they do it in a sauté pan?
After lunch we gathered up our snorkel gear and headed for the water. Our guides said that if we walked south down the beach and then got into the water the current would just carry us north without needing to swim. Getting into the water took several attempts, as the water was so cold, but once we were in we drifted with the current (really no swimming required) and watched the fish below. Alex insisted that I go first when I took over camera recording duties because he scares the fish before I came upon them. I was a little uneasy about that since it was only to two of us in the water at the time, but it was is comforting to know that as long as I could see the rock shelf to the right of me I was ok. Alex took his waterproof Kodak video camera so we captured our whole underwater adventure. We saw several varieties of fish all with magnificent coloring- blues, orange, yellow. I saw one tiny shark, but no sea turtles 😦 If we had opted to go another day of snorkeling out at 2 mile reef (off Barazuto Island) I think we might have seen some large sea life since it is located a little farther off shore.
Popping up to clean out our masks and get some air we noticed our dhow had been moved from the inlet where it had been anchored all day to the outside of the rocks, just north of where we were snorkeling. We continued to ride the current to where the boat was tied and exited the water. Across the inlet it appeared that our group on shore was gathering up there belongs, so we headed in that direction. Apparently sometime during the day the staff had informed everyone that we were leaving the island at 2PM. Alex, the two Irish girls we had met on the voyage, and I were shocked. We had expected to get back to the mainland around 4-4:30, so we thought we would have time for at least one more snorkel run.
Back on the boat, wet and cold, we motored for awhile and then the crew put up the sail and we floated, since there was not much wind. During this time we were served popcorn and tea/coffee, which was a nice treat. After not moving very far the crew abandoned the traditional dhow experience for the motor. Although we went out on a dhow to experience a traditional boat I would have rather stayed to snorkel on the island longer then bob in the water with no wind for 20 min before reverting back to the motor.
When we reached the main land Alex and I quickly went to the ATM to take out money and returned to Sail Away to pay our bill.
Back at Zombie Cucumber we moved into the chalet and enjoyed warm relaxing showers.