Fishing on a ‘Dhow’ with the locals, Machangulo Peninsula

Dhow in shallow waters, Black and white, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Dhow in shallow waters, Black and white, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

When I asked Wessel about fishing with the locals on a ‘dhow’, a wooden, native sailing boat, he pulled some strings to make it possible. The idea was to watch and interact with the fishermen and to take plenty off photos. 

Black and white dhow in very low waters, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Black and white dhow in very low waters, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

I met Dino around 7:30 at the workshop, Wessel had given him the day off. We drove on to Santa Maria village and arrived at the marina, which isn’t far from the village centre. As the tide was slowly coming in, we had some time to spend. A fair few mothers with babies gathered around the village square, others had packed up goodies near them. There didn’t seem to be a market going on though. Dino then explained that the ‘dhow’ ferry comes and goes to Inhaca Island on Wednesdays, the same day the doctor from Maputo visits. That made sense.

Black and white dhow in very low waters, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Anchored in mud, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

The rising tides eventually set the boats free and we were ready to board.

Traffic congestion on the pier, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Traffic congestion on the pier, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

There was some people congestion on that fragile wooden jetty.

Kids are always on the back, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Kids are always on the back, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Mothers were juggling kids and food.

The fishing crew, Dino, Fabian and Chaurelle, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

The fishing crew, Dino, Fabian and Chaurelle, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

I met our skipper Fabian and his helping hand Chaurelle on board of our fishing vessel.

Busy loading and unloading, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Busy loading and unloading, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

We dispatched from the jetty before the neighbouring dhow, still loading and unloading goods and people.

Panda deckhand, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Panda deckhand, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Even a panda helped to store goods. The light southwesterly breeze was quite refreshing as we skipped through the endless bay with outboard help.

Red sail sunset, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Red sail sunset, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Skipper Fabian prepared the hand lines whilst I enjoyed the view and chatted with Dino.  No clouds in the sky and the wind dropped to almost nothing as we arrived at our designated fishing spot.

Hot day on calm waters, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Hot day on calm waters, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

The depth was carefully measured with a long wooden stick, no modern cons on this dhow.

Mozambique, Machangulo Peninsula

Sail and paddle power, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

A fellow dhow arrived later, with sails up high. But with no wind at all, paddle power was needed. The ‘old’ fishing rule “no run, no fun” came in place once again. Wind and waters were stagnant, so was the action on the hand lines. With small hooks baited with prawns, the lines were swung out in lasso-style, quite a technique.

Lasso hand lines, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Lasso hand lines, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Small ‘grunter’ and ‘fingermarks’ (both in the bass family) were caught by the other three. I used small baitfish in hope for something bigger, but that never happened. I was just happy being out on the water, enjoying scenery and silence. If there wasn’t a mobile phone ringing. Constantly. What a mood killer. People are poor and have little money for food, but literally, everyone has a mobile phone. We stuck it out there for a while, with small success.

Small, but better then nothing, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Small, but better than nothing, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

None of the other fishing dhows were hauling in large or numbers of fish. The sun reflected on motionless waters, intensifying UV rays. We tried a different spot with similar small success. I wasn’t really surprised for even smallest fish to be kept. These fish were huge comparing to the ones being caught by kids in Ampefy, Madagascar last year. Food is food. This I can understand in desperate needs.

Almost as calm as a mirror, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Almost as calm as a mirror, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

These few undersized fish won’t increase overfishing as much as the extensive Chinese fishing fleet patrolling these waters. Bandits! We headed back to Santa Maria bay. Not much was going on on the fishing lines.

End of the fishing trip, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

End of the fishing trip, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

We stuck our vessel in the mud and tracked our way back to shore.

Wading through mud, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Wading through mud, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Similar to yesterday, the low waters mirrors on dhows and bay were amazing.

Dhow reflections at Santa Maria harbour, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Dhow reflections at Santa Maria harbour, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

I personally can’t take enough photos of this given opportunity.

Sunny side up, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

Sunny side up, Santa Maria, Machangulo Peninsula

And who knows when I will get the next chance? We had a beer to finish the day off in style.

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Painted sunset over Santa Maria Harbour, Machangulo Peninsula

Not as successful as hoped for, none the less, beautiful and entertaining. 

4 thoughts on “Fishing on a ‘Dhow’ with the locals, Machangulo Peninsula

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