After catching the 3 am bus to Maxixe, the ferry to Inhambane and a quick chapa ride we arrived in Tofu, the main tourist town in Mozambique about 350 km north of Maputo. *(please note, that Tofu is actually spelled Tofo, but it’s pronounced like the soybean variety, so I’ll maintain my misspelling)
I had already crossed swimming with whale sharks off of my bucket-list when Andrea and Alexi visited me in March, but frankly it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. So when Christopher said he wanted to do it as well, I was more than willing.
The prospect of swimming with living dinosaurs seems to draw out quite the variety of thrill seekers from all over the world. One of the most visually striking people on our watery voyage was a Brazilian man who was covered from head to toe with tribal tattoos and expander rings. While he turned out to be quite soft spoken and friendly, Christopher did not take a liking to him since Mr. Tattoo Man did not listen to the instructions and made a big splash getting into the water, almost scaring away our illusive whale shark.
Even with splashing and all our human noise we found it. We only saw one whale shark but it was HUGE, bigger than the boat (almost 16 meters) and as an added bonus it was accompanied by a dolphin! You’ve got to see it to believe it:
Sure swimming with a whale shark was fabulous, but the real highlight of my day was when we returned to our cabana and I took… prepare yourself… my first hot shower since November!
The following morning I took a scuba refresher course and went for a dive. It had been almost 6 years since my certification but luckily it came back pretty quickly. We didn’t see any manta rays as I had hoped, but I did see the biggest shell I have ever seen in my entire life. It was just sitting there on the bottom of the sandy sea. I kept pointing and trying to show my utter excitement – big eyes and lots of hovering right over it. Maybe they were distracted by the schools of tropical fish or leopard eels, but none of the other divers seemed quite as impressed. What was wrong with them, I mean really, it was a very big shell!
The beaches in Tofu are very different than what I have in Vilanculo – the water is deeper and there are actual waves. I’m rather glad I don’t have that sort of motion of the ocean in front of my reed cabana, but it did make it awfully fun to body surf and watch the Roxy team show off cool tricks.
The entire next day was dominated by one of the worst 13 hour bus rides of my life. We did walk away safely and without an accident, but it was quite awful. We had a mean driver and a trickster for a door man, a flat tire that was fixed with toilet paper, the radio blared even when there was no reception, luggage and boxes were stacked to the roof and on our lap.
It felt something like this:
Finally in Maputo, we met up with Courtney and several VSO friends for dinner and recovery.