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.
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.
The rising tides eventually set the boats free and we were ready to board.
There was some people congestion on that fragile wooden jetty.
Mothers were juggling kids and food.
I met our skipper Fabian and his helping hand Chaurelle on board of our fishing vessel.
We dispatched from the jetty before the neighbouring dhow, still loading and unloading goods and people.
Even a panda helped to store goods. The light southwesterly breeze was quite refreshing as we skipped through the endless bay with outboard help.
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.
The depth was carefully measured with a long wooden stick, no modern cons on this dhow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We stuck our vessel in the mud and tracked our way back to shore.
Similar to yesterday, the low waters mirrors on dhows and bay were amazing.
I personally can’t take enough photos of this given opportunity.
And who knows when I will get the next chance? We had a beer to finish the day off in style.
Not as successful as hoped for, none the less, beautiful and entertaining.