Vance’s logged dives #898 and #899 June 29, 2009
Diving off the Bazaruto Islands in winter blustery conditions was not great but turned out to be a wild African adventure, the kind that makes travel on the continent unique. We wandered down to the dive shop at 8 where 6 tanks were kitted and put on one of the South African style inflatables with the tanks lashed in the center, and we set off with two strong engines to the Bazaruto Islands to the north with the wind at our backs, so we didn’t really notice the high seas and strong wind till we reached our destination and needed to shelter inside a bit of exposed reef. We dropped one passenger there who had just wanted to visit the island park, and set off again into the chill wind and against the seas which by this time were now wild with white horses and throwing cold spray onto the boat. We cut through the waves between Bazaruto and the next island over and then headed for the reef still some distance off but marked by a distinct surf zone. We found waves several meters high when we reached the reef but got through them to the relative calm at the other side. Relative means just that and we were still dodging waves as we kitted up, but we soon had our gear on and dropped over the side of the rubber boat. Once down it was calm apart from a bit of surge.
Meanwhile up top the boat hands were having a rough time of it following Denis’s buoy and they complained of fearing to repeat the experience for us to do a second dive. Denis was talking to them about the prospects in the small cove where we had again sheltered to eat our sandwiches and get out of the cold wind as best we could. There was a huge dune there at this place called Ponta Dando which Bobbi and I climbed, sand peeling off to an improbable drop at the mounting edge. The view from the top was sauvage, rough seas all around between castaway island vistas, il n y a que du vent et de l’eau as the French had said on the last ride out.
Denis managed to calm the fears of his boatmen and conditions had at least not worsened by the time we set out for our second dive, though two divers declined the return trip and opted to wait on the island. The second was similar to the first. On these dives we dropped over coral down to sand at 20 meters. There were turtles in the rock outcrops and morays here and there, in particular some free swimming honeycomb ones, graceful. There was also a bull ray or what they call here a marble ray, also graceful as it swam away. We also found a blue spotted ray buried in the sand. Bobbi remembers the trigger fish of all kinds, blue ones, mean looking tritons and white speckled picasos. Surgeon fish looked tranquil in schools. Denis pointed out crabs in the anemones. These were not spectacular dives, just decent ones, requiring some competence in breathing to stay at depth for 45 minutes. These conditions did not warrant our diving another day but back on dry land we felt we had earned our beer and meal for the coming evening.