around the halfway point of our stay here in Mozambique. We are joined
by Emma, who is working mainly on humpback whale research. If the
second half of the month is anything like the first, I just might be
telling my mom to cancel my plane ticket home! Humpback whale
sightings and swimming with mantas have both become everyday
occurences, and are accompanied by nudibranchs, the occasional turtle,
and a whole host of other marine life.
We have been following a set schedule here, with different tasks and
goals to achieve every day. One regularly occuring task is the
Humpback Whale Land Survey, which takes place every other day. During
our 3-hour shift, we sit atop a dune and make note of the conditions
that accompany each humpback whale sighting. We take these
observations a step further with the Humpback Whale Boat Survey, where
we get a chance to take a closer look at the whales from the dive
boat. Yesterday we had whales pass less than 2 meters from the boat,
and at one point we were surrounded on all sides by whales traveling
and slapping their tails! We've also observed mantas swimming at the
surface, a pod of dolphins, a sailfish, and - most memorably - a whale
Jumping off the boat and into the water, we've had some great diving
experiences as well. I personally love the Manta ID task, where we
strive to take pictures of the mantas' distinct underbellies. Being
surrounded by those massive, graceful creatures never gets old!
Androniki, however, would probably lean more towards the Nudibranch
Search. She has found a varietal of nudibranchs, ranging from large
and brightly colored to the smaller and more mundane, and has a great
eye for them on the reefs.
Away from the internship, we've had a chance to enjoy all that Zavora
has to offer. The bigger outings, like kayaking and horseback riding,
have been interspersed with trips into Inharrime, nights around the
fire making pizza and barbecued chicken, and of course plenty of time
spent playing on the beach. I know I speak for all of us when I say
that we are looking forward to what the rest of the month will bring!