Shark Chronicles 075 – Life in Zavora: the small adventurous Lab in Mozambique

Shark Chronicles 075 – Life in Zavora: the small adventurous Lab in Mozambique

Posted by Jesse Alpert on August 5, 2010

You wake up around 7AM from the sunshine beaming through your window and make the decision of whether you want to make breakfast or not.

Then head up to dive shop to get some tea or coffee. Dive planning with customers and kitting up takes about an hour and change. After a short ride down to launching area to launch boat and you are in the water off to an offshore site. Winter water temperature pushes 22 degrees Celsius and hopefully the sun is shining to make the ride out pleasant. Offshore dive sites yield potato bass, eels, turtles, rays, etc. Usually one intern is performing a survey on diver impact during the dives while the other is watching for mantas, ready to photograph and identify it. After a surface interval we hop in for second dive, usually at an inshore site.

The visibility in Zavora during my stay has not been the greatest, with most dives having about 5-7m visibility. I am told that it can reach up to 25m in the summer. One special thing about the winter is the arrival of the humpback whales. We constantly hear them while diving and some are lucky enough to glimpse them while underwater. Seeing them constantly on the surface was a daily treat and pods reaching 6 or 7 can be seen during the winter. Inshore dives have mantas usually and they are quite spectacular to say the least. Wingspan reaching over 7m max as thy glide over you, just checking you out.

After diving, we head back to wash gear and dry it out. Eat lunch, take a nap, sunbath, until heading back to dive shop sometime after 3PM to input data. Need to wait till then due to the power shutting off from noon to 3pm. The silence when the generator goes off is a gift. After this, the rest of the day is yours. Whale watching, dive classes, socializing, dinner in or out, enjoy the beauty of Mozambique.

Traveling to Zavora for my short stay was one of the best choices of my life. Immediately being thrown into Mozambique culture on arrival and then the atmosphere of Zavora was great. Zavora is a relaxed place where everything runs on “African Time.”

The work here at Oceans is interesting and absolutely necessary for this area. The diver impact surveys supply data and information that can eventually help the conservation efforts for the beautiful reefs. None of the work is especially difficult from an intern’s standpoint, but it is interesting and fun most of the time. Yara recently started studying nudibranchs (sea slugs). These vividly colored, tiny creatures are loads of fun to search for and take great macro pictures of.
Personally, the best part of the trip for me was the people I met. Most of those people who live permanently here are some of the most interesting, experienced and funny people I have ever met. I just learned so much in such a short time from so many people especially from Jon (Mozdivers) and Yara.

A journey to Zavora yields great friendships, experience, eternal knowledge, and loads of good times.

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