MOZAMBIQUE 2017 // TRAVEL


In July, I spent close to a month helping a non-profit research organisation collect data on the endangered megafauna off the coast of Tofo, Mozambique:


MOZAMBIQUE // COASTAL // PASTEL

These are some of the shots I took using my DSLR of the coastline out to sea around the headland between Tofo and Tofinho beach. We’d be up here most evenings humpback whale watching, recording their behaviour and position on a time-sheet. Because the Sun sets behind, the beaches and clouds are cast in a pastel spectrum in the twilight hours, accompanied by a slate-coloured sea.


MOZAMBIQUE // TRAVEL // MISC

The 3 day journey to Mozambique began at Heathrow, with my flight heading out to Maputo (the Mozambican capital) via Addis Ababa. Once in Maputo, I had to pit-stop for a night there before waiting for my internal flight up the country to Inhambane, the nearest airport to Tofo. The beaches and mangroves swamps along the coast made some spectacular organic shapes. Eventually I arrived at Tofo, and began my research volunteering, mostly deep diving, collecting data on the megafauna.


MOZAMBIQUE // NATURE // BLUES

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On the way back from one of our research dives, we came across an idling humpback whale. Immediately our skipper kills the engines and we glide closer. As the humpback wasn’t too bothered with our presence, we made the call to take a dip and get a better view. We were around 8-10m away. Such stoic animals – a highlight of the trip!

Another gob-smackingly majestic creature we’d bump into were the whale-sharks, named such after the way they feed and their size. The ones we encounter are generally juvenile males, usually 10m in length, who have made their way to Tofo to take advantage of the plankton blooms that exist thanks to nutrient up-welling in the area. They feed around 7 hours a day, consuming around 21kg of plankton! Being so calm (braindead) and docile, we can afford to get quite close to them, around 3m, which sort of explains the goofy mugshots I managed to take!

On top of whale-sharks and humpbacks, we saw dolphins, turtles, manta rays and huge sting rays -I’ll aim to get those images up soon.


MOZAMBIQUE // CLOUDS // VIVID

Further shots of the coastline, focusing on the dramatic cloud formations that loomed over. The first image, has the unintentional form a mushroom cloud, as if a nuclear bomb was being tested off the shore. The symmetry as well, also reminds me of a stereotypical Rorschach ink-blot test. I’m pretty sure they’re just clouds though.


I thoroughly enjoyed Mozambique, and I think it’s had such a positive impact on me. I made some great friends, and we all intend to hop back over to Tofo next year. I can’t stress enough how important the work is that is done out there protecting the reefs and these animals. All of these ecosystems are on the brink of disappearing into nothing within the next few decades. Another reason to go back and help out.


 

HIGHLANDS 2017 // NATURE


After the onslaught of exams had ended, a bunch of us headed up to the Scottish Highlands, specifically the Cairngorms. We stayed in a lodge in a close to Aviemore, which was our base-of-operations, so to speak. From here we went off to do rock-climbing, gorge-scrambling, and some hill walking:


HIGHLANDS // NATURE // DESAT

 

We used up our Sunday to climb a huge hill-range near to us. The cloud layer was low and dense that day, so the last 100m up to the summit had us completely submerged in fog, which was super atmospheric. 30km later, we arrived back at the base with sore feet, but pleased with the walk we’d just finished.

Over the next few days we took it easier and headed through one of the valley forests to go for a swim in a nearby loch. I and two other brave/stupid boys, went for a dip. The other three, being concerned for our safety, ran off with our clothes! After we’d negotiated them back, a brutal pine-cone war commenced: we still hadn’t forgiven them. Once wounds had been dressed by the medics in our group, we set off home.