I knew that the view from our campsite would offer a stunning sunrise so Stephie and I agreed to get up before dawn to be ready. Unfortunately, Stephie did not take into account her phone changing time during the night due to European daylight savings time so I was awoken at 3:45 am by her alarm. I dozed back to sleep, but it was restless at best. We were up at 5, which was just after first light.
As we waited on the beach for the sun to show itself above the horizon, more of our group came to join us. We watched a brilliant sunrise with several boats on the horizon and the clouds changing colors gradually. By 6 am the sun was fully up in the sky and we were having breakfast of omelets and fruit salad.
We were racing the tide that morning so we quickly broke camp, picked up our comrades at their post resort then headed off to Two mile reef. It was a two and a half hour boat ride out to the reef and since the sun was not too hot, I sat on a small wooden platform above the main deck. We knew that dugongs, or sea cows, inhabited the waters where we were heading but sadly we did not see any.
Our boat was the first to arrive at the reef and as the captain set anchor, I donned my mask and fins and plunged over board.
Two mile reef is often called the aquarium, and for good reason! The reef is a stunning collection of brilliantly colored corals in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Schools of fish were everywhere and no matter where you looked, you saw something new and amazing. It was the best snorkeling I’ve ever done. The visibility was really good and it wasn’t crowded with people. The only thing you had to watch out for was the coral: the entire area is protected as a national park and there are big fines if you are caught standing on the coral or breaking it. I could have snorkeled all day!
Surprisingly, when I looked up I noticed that most of our group were already back on the boat. I slowly made my way back to them and discovered that I was the last to board. I guess everyone else got bored more easily.
We then set off for Bazaruto Island where we were to have lunch. This island is half sand dune and half jungle, with many sandbars surrounding it. We had to approach in a very non-direct way to avoid beaching on the sandbars. You could easily tell the regions that were more shallow by the different color of water.
The captain set anchor off the coast and we waded ashore onto a sandy beach. I set off on my own to scale the largest sand dune and enjoyed a pleasant, quiet hour climbing up and running along the top of the dune. The run started off well, but as the sand became less packed, my feet sunk in and made travel difficult. The views from the top were epic and it was fun to race down the steep side taking huge leaping strides.
I made my way over to the other side of the island where lunch was to be served and joined the group for a short swim and snorkel before eating. I didn’t see much in the way of fish, but it was nice to be in the cool refreshing water. Lunch was served in the shade of a few trees on the beach and was the best calamari and fish stew I’ve ever had, again being prepared on the open fire on the boat. It was a piece of heaven.
After lunch we had an hour or so to explore, but by that time it was too hot to do much so I sat in the shade with a few others then we walked down to where the boat was moored. We waded to the boat and all boarded, heading back to the main land.
It was a long trip back to Smugglers and the main land, but we passed the time by playing a few memory games and eating popcorn.
We arrived back at camp in mid-afternoon and had some time for a swim, shower and short read before dinner.
After dinner a few of us arranged a ride into the village to go to a local bar. A common type of transport in the area is called a tuk tuk and it is a three-wheeled motorized car that can hold the driver and three passengers. Tuk tuks don’t go very fast but the roads are bumpy and there are no doors so you have to hold on tight.
It was a Sunday night and the Afro bar was not hopping! We were the only ones there except for the barman, the owner and two of his friends. It was a huge space, with indoor and outdoor seating and you could tell that it sees a lot of traffic on the weekend. We sat outside at a picnic table and had a few drinks, but it wasn’t quite the local experience we were hoping for since there were no locals to talk to! Everyone was exhausted after getting up before 5 so we left around 10:30 and headed back to our lodge.
These two days were the highlight of the trip and I have some wonderful memories I will cherish forever.