Mozambique - Ponta do Ouro - 04 2011

Mozambique March 2011

We recently came back from what all of us agree has been our families most memorable holiday. We went to Ponta do Ouro - just the 4 of us! What a fantastic time. This was the first time the boys came on holiday where we dived together as a family - (They recently completed their Advanced Junor Diver course)

The drive down was terrible and we were all worried that this was a sign of things to come. The roads between Benoni and Mozambique (a total of 670kms) had a small section of 150kms that were not being worked on. There were so many Stop-and-Gos that we lost count. What should have taken us 8 hours including stops and border crossings took us over 10 hours (and we got off to a later than expected start - failing alarms and tired moms :) ).

Check this IDIOT!!! overtaking on the hard shoulder (the right)... although the ENTIRE road (a national road the N2) was worse that some hard shoulders I have seen.

But eventually we arrived at Ponta.

We stayed in the newly completed luxary tents which were really comfortable and boy what a view!!! Below is a picture of the Tented accomidation behind us unpacking.

Inside the tents.

The view from our room - unfortunately there was a burgelarly incident 2 week before we arrived, hence the horribly ugly fence in front of us.

Some photos of our diving - no expert by any means but I like them. We experienced some wonderful diving conditions. Very little surge and almost no current to speak of. The viz was HUGE!!! Unfortunately some of the people we dived with should not be diving. Some hadn't completed a course or even attended one. As a Dive Master myself I was disgusted that they were allowed on the boat - however I focused on my family and explained to the DM leading the dive that I would not assist. I was there to look after my family only! We even had some guy that talked a good game (He is an instructor in Johannesburg) but he was the worst of the lot. He let his son swin off after everything without his buddy, Mickey the instructor?!? handled and touched EVERYTHING. He lay on the reef to get photos, he never paid attention to the DM. Very unimpressive - I don't care if he is an instructor, I have seen open water students dive better than him. In the end there were no incidents and my boys looked like experienced divers compared to some of folk we had to dive with.

Nice one of my wife and boys.

Mags looking oh so comfortable - check out the number of bait fish behind him. I have never dived amongst such huge schools of bait fish before.

Big schools of Dusky Sweepers

If you look carefully you can see what I think is a Porcelain crab. It was VERY difficult to get this shot as I don't like touching the reef even if I am taking photos.

Another image of the rediculous number of bait fish.

Devil Fire Fish hunting in groups.

Two bar Anemone fish (My favourite) - you can see the juveniles in the anemone.


Juvenile Fire Fish - you can see how small this is when you compare it to the hair elastic next to it. Not sure where that came from but it was removed.

One of the many MONSTER Potato Bass we came across. Pity I couldn't get a full side on - But just check out those bait fish.

There are a few lovely resturants which we went to for drinks.

Unfortunately didn't get a picture of the view from this resturant on the hill.

But by far our favourite dinner was at Alices Barraka. We started out having a drink or two at Fernando's just outside the market(We needed to waste some time as we are notorious for being early). We had to travel through the market 4 blocks into what can be described as a shanty town (quite scarey I will admit)

From the market side.

From inside the pub looking out onto the market.

The market.

Inside Alice's Barraka - Alice only has one table so you have to have the reception lady at the place you are staying phone before-hand. The place may have been humble but it was spotless.

Alice still preparing our chicken. There is no menu but this was by far the best meal we had in Mozambique.

Alice's assistant which her baby strapped to her back.

Before you eat Alice brings you a bowl and jug and assists you to wash your hands.

Our simple but brilliant meal. The 2M beer Alice fetched from one of her neighbors - It was ICE cold and went perfectly with out food.

Meal done, time to party. The places are so close together that you have music (LOUD music) from several different shebeens. Alice encourages you to get up and enjoy a quick dance. We had to dive in the morning so couldn't stay long.

I can't say enough about this experience. The meal was outstanding and the experience of walking through the cramped alleys to get to this little place was absolutely worth it.

We also got to take the yak out... I didn't get to go spearfishing (although I hear that the cuda were "loose" and I didn't have the energy to paddle a lure our either. But the scenes below may explain why. Who wants to paddle on their own when you can be having an awesome time with your kids at the beach.