Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mozambique adventures

So last weekend a bunch of volunteers and I travelled up to Mozambique to swim with dolphins at a project that will soon become a volunteer project, like ours, for dolphin and marine conservation along the coast.

The trip up there was eventful. Mozambique has suffered civil war and poverty which has left the country relatively destitute the further away from the capital one travels. As a result, once you hit the coastal border of South Africa and Mozambique in Kosi Bay, all roads leading North are sand. You can see in the video how difficult it is to drive on them, so trucks let out their tires to make the trip over the dunes.

Swimming with the dolphins was an amazing experience. Sorry I don’t have any video of it, but everything in the raft we were in got soaked so I didn’t want to wreck my camera.

People say dolphin’s echolocation gives you a euphoria and in the three times I’ve swam with dolphins I’d say it’s true. This time was different as the dolphins were wild and we had to find them with the boat, and we were free to swim with them as long as they felt like hanging around with us.

The dolphins were so close that we could have reached out and touched them. Sometimes they would dive down to the bottom of the ocean and come up with shells in their mouths. They would circle around us, playing and looking at us right in the eye. We swam without lifejackets so we could really dive with them and flippers to help us keep up with their speed in the water.

We stayed on reed huts in the beach in a town called Ponta d’Ouro, a small community about half an hour from the border. It was a cool experience to sleep under a bug net and hear the ocean as we fell asleep at night.

The food was pretty good, and we were all surprised to realize you could drink at any time of day, anywhere you wanted. Everything was really cheap and the beach was gorgeous.

We spent only one night away, but sometimes it’s great to get away from the project house, as tensions can rise when we have so many volunteers in such a small space over a weekend. It also acted as a bonding experience for many of us who didn’t know each other that well. It was great to mingle with some of the community project volunteers, being on the medical project myself.

Until next time,

Traveling is not just seeing the new: it is also leaving behind. Not just opening doors: also closing them behind you, never to return. But the place you have left forever is always there for you to see whenever you shut your eyes – Jan Myrdal

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