Our next destination on the Mozambican tourist circuit was Tofo. On our way we passed through a nice little city called Inhambane. Fried chicken wasn’t open, but we saw this OLD DUDE WEARING AN IOWA HAWKEYES JERSEY:
And check out the local Chinese supermarket:
Tofo has an absolutely beautiful postcard-perfect beach:
It also has a bunch of filthy tourists:
Our first few days in Tofo were basically spent chilling, partying, and being awesome. On our last day we decided it was necessary to do some activities. Check out Marc and this other dude surfing:
I also tried surfing for the first time. I caught some, but I didn’t really get up. Still, it was tons of fun and I need to try it again. Probably on the Jersey Shore. That will be awesome.
After surfing, we had a snorkeling trip.
The big draw of Tofo, besides the awesome beach, is the wildlife–specifically Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Because this is Africa, a bunch of companies are willing to take your money and let you swim with said presumably safe huge sea animals. Manta Ray sighting is more suited for diving, but Whale Sharks are chill bros, and usually hang out near the surface to eat their favorite plankton snacks. This means you can pretty much just go for a snorkel with them.
Unfortunately, the massive crowds of tourists meant tons of boats going out to see the whale sharks around New Years. The tourists agitate the whale sharks, and they’re like “see ya!”. By the time we got to Tofo, they hadn’t been spotted in like 2 weeks. But the local dive companies were still running snorkel trips where you probably wouldn’t see a whale shark, so you’d have to settle for a consolation prize like, say, swimming with dolphins.
Expecting a totally chill fish and dolphin snorkeling experience, me and Marc signed up for the snorkeling trip. How does high-end snorkeling work in Africa?
It starts with a video produced by the local internationally funded research institute where proper whale shark viewing is discussed–guidelines which will be completely disregarded by your tour guides and boat captains. Then you’re taken out to the beach, you help push your dive boat in, and you take off bouncing over the waves. Life jackets? As if! At no point were we even asked if we could swim or if we’d snorkeled before.
The water was choppy and we frequently went airborne as we set off to sea. And then the word came in–at least one whale shark was back. To hell with dolphins and fish, it’s shark hunting time!
We quickly located a whale shark. The boat parked right in its path and we were basically pushed into the water. A chase began, and I got pretty tired pretty quickly trying to catch a shark in the open, choppy ocean. Marc, however, managed a close encounter immediately. He was the first person to get up close with the shark. It was pretty cool, and he decided he was going to just stay in the boat after that–he was feeling a bit seasick and was exhausted from having surfed all morning and not really eaten much.
A few minutes later, I also had my close encounter. I was pushed off the boat right into the path of the shark. It was *awesome*. Dude was huge. He was also coming right for me. So I swam out of the way. When I stopped to check on the shark, he was still coming right for me. I think with the boat placement (like a meter from the shark), me (less than a meter), and the guides in the boat smacking the water, Mr(s). whale shark got a bit agitated. So then I panicked, much to the amusement of the guides. I managed to get out of the way, waved goodbye to the shark, and returned to the boat. I was also exhausted, feeling a bit seasick, and was totally bushed from the lack of food, the surfing, and the open water swimming.
Marc, however, was getting a bit worse. He was turning white and was losing feeling in his extremities. Also in the boat was another girl who had never snorkeled before, a girl puking seasick, and puker's boyfriend who stuck with his lady even though he was feeling okay. Joining us a few minutes later was another girl dealing with a fresh Jellyfish sting. Over half the group was out of commission. After a few more minutes of shark chasing, the rest of our group agreed it was okay to end the trip early.
By this point, Marc was heaving and now laying on the floor of the boat in order to not pass out.
But we arrived back safely. This is where Marc spent the next 90 minutes, recovering from our adventure:
Tofo was pretty cool.