After five hours of driving with only one little bathroom stop we arrived at Tofo Beach – a touristy, but lovely little place at the Indian ocean that is famous for diving and surfing.
We checked in at the dive shop and tried to find our camp but as google maps had a wrong location we ended up stuck in the sand. What hadn’t happened during the whole 120km of sandy and slippery road the day before, happened now in the middle of a beach village. But luckily changing to 4×4 solved the problem and with the help of some locals we also found the camp. Unfortunately, it was a hostel and not a camp and they offered us their parking lot to set up our camper with no electricity provided. We weren’t happy about that but decided to solve this issue the next day and enjoyed a beer at the hostel where we met David.
David was a world traveler as well, right at the end of his trip. And like us he didn’t plan to return to his home country, in his case Germany, but to migrate. He wants to migrate to some West-African country to build gardens and do paintings. We went for dinner with him, enjoyed some way to loud African singing and dancing and wished him good luck with his plans.
The next day started bad. Daniela had been bitten by mosquitos all night and had barely slept. That moment we decided that we needed to change our accommodation but first we prepared for our first dive in Mozambique.
We drove out with a rubber boat holding tight to make sure not to fall off the boat in this raff sea. As a year had passed since our last dive we chose an easy dive to get back into it and we took our new under water case but not the camera to test it out. The dive was ok. No corrals and not that much to see but still an octopus, lionfish, cow fish, a giant lobster, three nudibranchs and at the end the highlight, a guitar fish. A fish that looks like a mix of a stingray and a shark. On this animal you could clearly see how closely related those two species are and it looked fascinating.
But the real surprise hit us on our way back. Suddenly one of the guys screamed “whale shark” and we all grabbed our fins, mask and snorkel and entered the water. And there he was, even bigger than all the elephants, rhinos, water buffalos and hippos we had seen in the past days. With his seven meters in length even bigger than the giraffes but of at least the same beauty and elegance. He had this beautiful drawing on his skin and no damages whatsoever. We swam with him as long as we could, and I was so happy this had finally happened. I had seen whale sharks before in Oslob in the Philippines, but they feed them there once a day and therefore I don’t consider it complete free wild life. Daniela had seen a wild whale shark before in Ko Tao in Thailand but also for her it was an outstanding experience. For me a dream came true and maybe on one of our next dives we will see another one and this time we will also have a camera in our housing.
After the dive we upgraded our accommodation from the parking lot to a small beach bungalow and celebrated our close encounter with the beautiful whale shark with a couple of local beers. Fortunately, there were also two beachvolleyball courts right in front of our bungalow and we joined in with the locals to play some games and we will probably repeat that every day of our stay.
After spending an excellent night in our beach bungalow and the first breakfast since Joburg we didn’t had to prepare ourselfs we went on our first deep dive at Tofo beach. We didn’t know by then, that it would probably also be our last one.
The visibility was better than the day before but again we didn’t see too much. Some moray eels with nice drawings and several schools of fish were the highlights. While some of our dive group considered the dive as awesome, we were a bit disappointed. But we are also spoiled from our diving experiences in Indonesia and the Philippines. It is really difficult to compete against the variety of flora and fauna in our two favorite dive countries. But what Tofo beach is famous for are the big creatures and that’s why we decided to sign up for an ocean safari for the next day to search for whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins.
As promised this time we put the new camera into our underwater case. And even though it had proven to be working we were a bit nervous to take our most important working instrument into the water.
First, we saw some dolphins, but they didn’t intend to swim with us but then the first whale shark showed up, taking his turns to feed on the plankton. And while for him the swimming was quite easy we had to paddle quite a lot to follow him. After driving a bit further, we saw another whale shark and then another one. The last one was so unimpressed by our presence that we could swim with him for quite a while and take some pretty cool photos. As the visibility was bad we had to be within 2m from the whale shark to get a clear picture but we somehow managed without crashing into him.