Tofo Mozambique, swimming with very big fish. We are very happy and very lucky.
Now is the humpback breeding season so the sea is full of humpback whales. But the main hope was to see whale sharks and swim with them.
On our first boat ride out, the weather was overcast and the sea a bit rough, and we didn’t see any whale sharks although we saw plenty of humpbacks, mothers and calfs, and breaching out of the water.
So we went again a few days later when the weather had cleared, and spotted four whale sharks at four different times. Each time we would all jump in and snorkel alongside the 10-20m fish. The whale sharks swam at a leisurely pace but we still had to swim quite hard at times to reach them. Ralph was always the first in and swimming like the clappers to find the shark from within the water. When he’d find it, he’d stay snorkelling alongside and put his hand up in a triumphant fist above the water to signal to the others EXACTLY where it was. It was exhilarating.
We weren’t supposed to get more than 2 or 3 meters away, to respect the whale shark’s space (i.e. for their sake, not ours). But once I suddenly found myself face to face – and on top of – the whale shark, having had no idea it was there. It was a ‘Yikes!’ cartoon moment. (And captured in the go pro video Ralph made).
Later that day we went on our final dive and on the way to the site Michael, our dive-master, spotted some giant manta rays in the sea. We took the boat to them and jumped in with snorkels fins and masks. Mila and I were the lucky two to see a giant ray from in the water, about a meter away. They are the most mad looking creatures, and HUGE, and frisky.
We also saw a local baptism ceremony from the beach, which Mila drew (below). Bea sketched the whale shark. The sea is full of life and the sketchbooks are full of art and writing!