The Guinjata Species Bonanza, a fishing competition in Mozambique, means a chance to win great prizes and head out onto the ocean, but for me it also includes the opportunity to capture some interesting photographs, people and scenes I would never have witnessed from my lovely local Durban.
So up I went to try my fishing luck in a very predominantly male world. As always, these trips are so worth it! Out on the ocean whales were breaching daily, while bat rays spun in the air over reefs and dolphins swum around our boat. And on the days when the competition was cancelled due to weather, we went out into the surrounding area and dipped into the lives of those around us.
The market in Inhambane was exactly how I’ve always remembered: jam-packed with wares for sale and reeking with the smell of fish. I walked around and simply experienced the scene until a lady selling dried shrimps caught my eye. I asked if I could take a photograph and was promptly refused. Moving on, I looked over the various fruits and curios for sale, taking photos when permitted until I meandered back to the entrance. A man in a stall grinned happily at me and I couldn’t resist asking for his photograph.
‘Sure! It is my brother’s stall.’ he gestured towards the man standing on his left, who smiled proudly in response. I took a photograph, thanked them and walked outside to the very welcome fresh air.
Onwards we drove, towards Tofo and later on Barra. Tofo is the backpackers’ capital of the southern side of Mozambique and I enviously eyed the content travellers as they strolled around. Someone came up to me and excitedly informed me about a ‘full moon party’ that was happening on the beach at a reggae bar. I had to regretfully refuse, but perhaps one day I’ll be back in time to join in the festivities.
Barra was much more built-up than I remembered but still as beautiful as ever. We drove around the various lodges until it was time to head back along a coastal route to Paindane.
Back onto the fishing side of things, the weather cleared up and the next day we were back out onto the waters. Aiming for the grand prize of a boat turned out to be irritatingly difficult as the largest fish eluded us for the next few days. Then whilst trawling down towards Legogo we had a pull and managed to land a cuda of 24kg – the second-largest fish of the competition. We winged about our bad luck for a while and then laughed it off as the week progressed.
We managed to scrape a tenth place in the rankings, which came as quite a surprise because we really weren’t taking the species side of the competition seriously. I came third out of the handful of women present and have decided that if I get the chance to fish again, I will definitely be eyeing out a higher position.
A week and a half of hard work, early mornings and painful muscles but still a week well enjoyed.
Previous post by Teagan Cunniffe:« Where to stay on the road north in Mozambique
Next post by Teagan Cunniffe:Seven things I learnt on a horseback trail in Peru »