Misfits Mid Life Crisis Adventures in ………….. Mozambique.
Week 37, Saturday 28th February until Friday 6th March 2015.
This week I have mainly been listening to….. Alt-J, Suede, Morrissey, Lana Del Ray, Pulp, Cocteau Twins, XX,
And have been watching…. Weeds (Season 6, eps 5 to 13), (Season 7, eps 1 to 3)
Still reading on Kindle……Finished “A Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire” book 1 by George R.R. Martin. Started “A Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire” book 2 “ A Clash of Kings” by George R.R. Martin.
Saturday 28th, and so starts the final week of my current (my 2nd visit to Tofo, the first was in 2013) trip to Tofo. We went south today on 2 dives on what could have been called a “Harry Potter” double tank. The first dive was to “Hogwarts” the second was to “Chamber of Secrets”. As we arrived at “Hogwarts” about to kit up we suddenly had a couple of Devil Rays jumping out of the water, what an amazing site. During the dive those of us at the back saw a medium sized ray swim in between our group of divers, the divers at the front were oblivious to the visitor. I saw another Sea Apple (it’s a form of Sea Cucumber, which I also like) don’t see many of them I was excited. After an hour and a half in the sun on the boat we dived the lovely “Chamber of Secrets” a site full of small life such as Porcupine fish chasing each other and living together very closely under a ledge. They have huge sad looking faces love to see them close up. A Torpedo Ray hiding in a crack wouldn’t have been spotted if not for a customer who likes to investigate every nook and cranny. For the last 9 months I have scrambled on the boat at the back like a huge neoprene covered seal, it’s never a pretty sight and thinking about it probably has not helped my back. I am now managing to climb in the boat like a normal diver (grab on to the rope dip yourself in the sea a few times and jump and kick grabbing hold of ropes or foot straps). My feet are starting to get a little colour but I suspect there will still be a difference between legs and feet by the time I leave. SAZ skyped while I was sitting drinking a beer watching the sun go down.
Sunday 1st March, First thing this morning I went on a dive north, there had been talk of going on an exploration dive to a new unknown site. Just before we left it was however decided that we would actually go to one of our normal sites (I haven’t been there very often). The boat ride to “Reggies” takes about 30 minutes, the sea was flat as I watched Tofo recede in to the distance. Another chilled dive I was at the back sweeping for Nadia (Sweeping is a little like being a underwater sheep dog, you keep an eye and make sure that everyone stays together and goes the right way). A large Jenkins Ray was spotted and passed the group. Mike and Miki had a very close encounter with a huge Potato Grouper, big fish who are so curious and love to come and say hello. We actually came back to the shop instead of doing a second dive straight away. I started to look at making a couple of new signs, a problem soon became obvious the wood is not square so I need to think of a way to make the writing straight. I had to stop when I was needed for another dive (what a hard life). Only 4 of us went in the bay to “Giants Castle”, we investigated a little more north which is not something we normally do again I think this was because we were an experienced group. During our assent we came across a huge group of schooling bigeye trevally, were we swimming with them or them with us, I’m not sure. Either way our group was surrounded by big fish sites like this I will never forget. My camera battery died months ago I have tried to get a new one with no susses. Next time I come I will have a new camera so I can capture these special moments.
Monday 2nd, a day of bad weather, wind, rain and rising sea (there is another Cyclone of Madagascar). We did launch only in the bay on Tofo dives 177 and 178 today. The sea was choppy while Neptune chucks buckets of water over us just to make sure that we were really wet by the time we arrived at “Clownfish” trip of 2 minutes from the beach. My main job was to set the buoy line, today it was decided that we should use an anchor point that is actually ours; I have seen it so many times and know where it is. The concrete filled plastic bucket is on its side and has not been used in a while but it still has an anchor point so I attached the line. This meant that the customers had a visual reference to descend to the sea floor with. Once Satu had done the required skills with her customer I lead them round a small loop of the dive site. Towards the end of the dive the reef got darker; I looked up and could tell from depths that it was raining. Sure enough once out of the water I was wetter than in the sea, but we had another dive to do. Luckily we didn’t need a long surface interval and off to “ Mikes Cupboard” a slightly deeper dive which I lead. Saw a torpedo ray hiding, crocodile fish relaxing on the reef and so much lovely reef life. When I’m in the water really feel that I’m weightless (I’m not of course) in my head I’m on a spacewalk exploring this amazing alien environment. The journey back to the beach took a lot longer due to wind waves, we all either had sunglasses or dive mask (inc the captain) on so that we could see where we were going the rain hurt your face it was like you were being hit by hail stones. Had lovely vegan Moussaka made by jenny, for lunch so nice I could have eaten it twice (yesterday I had 2 club sandwiches that Jenny made, so I couldn’t have extra moussaka). I did something very rare I nodded off in the afternoon I just came over very tired. Miki got his own back and draw on my forehead. Mike and I had done it a couple of days ago to him. So I was asking for it really, I didn’t feel a think I was in a deep sleep, definitely Karma in action. Mike brought crab home this evening for a curry, when I found out how they were going to kill them (basically twist the shell in too) I couldn’t eat it. I have and like crab but won’t be eating it again.
Tuesday 3rd, due to the weather, high wind and rough sea there were no launched today, I stayed in the shop until noon when I was allowed to go home. I am trying to come up with a cartoon to say thank you to all the guys at Liquid. But I have a slight art block, plus I’m not feeling well again, Nadia came back from the UK last week a little ill and a number of us appear to have it. Had a lovely afternoon nap for a few hours listening to music, still no ideas have appeared. I decided to have a go at packing for Friday. I’m leaving my dive gear at the shop, and one case with Jenny. I want to take back as little as possible, leaving toiletries and some clothes. I’m mainly taking electrical stuff home must make sure everything is fully charged. Jenny made chicken noodle soup which she said was “Jewish Penicillin” here’s hoping it works. Mike has got himself a new place, he’ll be moving out before I leave I think Miki and Adrian are moving in as well, it will become Tofo’s party central, the bars in town better watch out Mike, Miki and Adrian are in town.
Wednesday 4th, I stayed home, tried to sleep, coughed a lot and in the end went for a walk in to town taking pictures but also to go to the pharmacy. Got cough medicine hope it works as I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a plane with me coughing all the time. Saw some of the lovely people in Tofo that has made my experience so great told them I’m leaving and have promised to see them before I actually depart. I did mention I was coming back in July but I’m never sure how much is really understood due to the language barrier. Popped in to Liquid, I already feel like I have left as there was a meeting about to start about things that need to be done during the rest of March things that won’t concern me. I have to remember when I return to the UK that I won’t be away from Tofo for long I am returning in a few months. I have done some rough cartoons of the people that work at Liquid but there not good, so I have come up with another idea for a goodbye toon, it will be rushed but I hope it speaks from the heart.
Thursday 5th, my last full day at Liquid and in Mozziebeak. I was feeling a little better so a staff dive to “Giants Castle” was arranged, Tofo dive 179 since June. What a dive, the reef is about 500 metres long but we pretty much stayed around the drop point. A small eye stingray (there not small at about 2.5 metres) was seen pretty much straight away. Then we were treated to a beautiful Manta on the cleaning station it was chilled hovering above the reef, we even saw it feed (well it mouth moved). We just stayed slightly lower than the manta and watched it Mike getting great video and pictures. There was a slight current so we had to work a little hard to keep in the same place but it was so worth it. The Manta came really close to us at one point, they look so alien. After about 20 minutes we had to start to start to ascend, that’s when it got even more exciting. Below us we spotted 2 more Manta’s, the way they moved about each other it was almost like a ballet. We were all so excited you could see the smiles coming from behind the regulators. What an epic dive which I thought was my last. I later found out that I was going on another dive in the afternoon to “Salon” Tofo dive 180. My dive gear was drying so it could be packed away; this meant that I used shop gear instead, it felt very strange diving in gear that was not my own. “Salon” is nice but it’s no “Giants”, no Mantas. In the afternoon almost all of Liquid was together for a last supper, I’d got 8kgs of fish; Jenny made a lovely salad and got nice fresh rolls from her little bakery. We all sat down and ate together; my Tofo family are very special to me. My dive gear once dried was packed away for when I return in July, it will be Humpback season again i can’t wait to say hello to them. I feel very sad to be leaving, the last time I left Tofo (October 2013) I found it very difficult to readjust to life in the UK. There is a difference now I’m coming back in a few months, I have to just remember that I’m just visiting friends and family in the UK for a few months then I’m coming home to Tofo. I worked out that if I can save a minimum of £2000 which is about 104,000mets, I could live comfortably on that it might be a tight budget but I could do it. This doesn’t include flights and visas and stuff like that so I would need to earn more. But £2000 is an achievable figure to earn in order for me to return to this amazing place and dive with great people from all around the world and wonderful marine life. After the excitement of today I am having a couple of drinks and doing nothing. I didn’t get to 200 Tofo dives but I’m very pleased with 180.
Friday 6th, Just before bed the fan stopped working, it only one night but I like a fan on. But I haven’t slept much of this one night. I did the on-line check-in for my Joberg to London Flights, other than that i have tossed and turned all night. Will be at the shop for a little to say final goodbyes, some of the people won’t be in Tofo when i return other will. I just want to thank them for a wonderful time everyone has been so good to me.
I will write an update when I get to Joberg airport, am there about 6 hours before I fly to London via Dubai. I am very sad to be leaving this little paradise in a lovely country with amazing people. I can’t wait to return in July. In some ways the Mid-Life Crisis continues in the UK, I need to find work, I have to survive the next few months. I don’t think it’s going to be easy going back but I have to remember that I’m not staying long, Tofo keep calling.