Friday, 5 June 2009

Diving by Max A

I missed the chance of diving in the Red Sea but more that made up for
it in southern Mozambique. Two wonderful spots, Inhambane and Ponta do
Ouro. In the former we had two wonderful dives, just the parents and
me, and our Dive Master, Alan.

But my favourite dive was right down south, off Ponta. Again the three
of us jumped in a boat with a few others and buzzed out to Doodles
reef. We kitted up in wetsuits, BCDs, regulators and of course, air
tanks. Then we rolled off the side of the boat and descended. The
water was amazingly clear and warm and I could feel that this was
going to be a good dive. At 18metres we hit the bottom, adjusted
everything and set off on our underwater safari.

I'd never seen such richness in underwater life. Little yellow fusilia
fish hugged the reef in the thousands, trying to avoid the hungry
tuna. Red and white striped lionfish swam in threesomes with all their
spikes upright. A large ray with a white belly and grey top 'flew'
gracefully past, flapping it's 'wings'. A Guitar fish or Sand shark
hid in the sand and didn't move as we swam past. They are quite rare
and very good at looking like the sandy bottom so you don't see them

A fat, yellow and black spotted moray eel with his angular, shaped
face languished on the rocks outside his cave, most of his body and
tail hidden. It's tempting to hold onto the bottom at times like these
to get a better view, but a good reason not to are stonefish. Like the
lionfish they are extremely poisonous and a serious sting can kill you
in under an hour. Stonefish, funnily enough look just like stones,
they don't move and unless you can recognise the shape or spot the
eyes they are impossible see. I very nearly put my hand on one even
though it had already been pointed out to me. Now that would have
ruined the dive.

My two favourites though were the massive potato bass. About the size
of a sofa they dominated the 'horizon' and were like zeppelin
airships. I swam along side the biggest and looked it in the eye. It
tolerated me for a bit but got rid of me with just a shake of his
collosal head.
And the other was a turtle. He was a hawksbill with a sharp beak, a
green smooth shell and brown coordinated flippers. Very relaxed and he
just let us watch him while he chomped on coral and swayed around in
the surge. I love turtles. They are so pre-historic and all of them
look like they've lived for 65 million years since the dinosaurs left

It was the perfect dive and I have no doubt that I'll be back at Ponta
do Ouro very soon.

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