My birthday dawned sunny and bright. It would be our best beach day yet. I went out onto the deck of our room to look at the beach, and there were Augie and Teresa down on the beach writing a message for me in the sand.
We did our customary early morning beach walk which was very productive. We found many small cowries, limpets, colorful scallops and more. The best find came on my birthday morning beach combing, a Paper Nautilus, a treasure deposited by the sea for me.
We enjoyed the breakfast and our waiter Sergio, a soft spoken and kind young man who was very patient with my attempts at Potuguese.
My sister and I were schedule for a swim with wild dolphins and snorkeling excursion that left the resort at 11:30. Mozambique is one of only 7 countries in the world where you can swim with wild dolphins. Our skipper told us that his company was in the process of filming a BBC documentary, BBC having chosen Mozambique for the filming site.
We watched as the zodiac type boat ran ashore through the waves. We needed help to push it back out when we left. The rules are very strict and the skipper was knowledgeable. We sped up and down the coast in search of a pod of dolphins. If we found them, the skipper would decide if they were friendly or not, and whether or not we would get into the water with them. Not having much luck up and down the shore, he took us to Pique Benine, a bay where he often found the dolphins resting with their babies.
Sure enough, we saw three juvenile dolphins swimming in the bay. We were instructed on the appropriate behavior, not to touch them, to allow the dolphins to approach us, etc. We jumped into the water with flippers and snorkels and discovered a pod of about 20 to 30 dolphins resting on the bottom. Only the three juveniles were on the surface, a common occurrence. You would never guess that so many were under the surface resting. The dolphins, we were told, can rest from 7 minutes to 7 hours on the bottom like that, with half their brains shut down and eyes closed. The dolphins moved off, the skipper called us back into the boat and we were told that they were exhibiting avoidance behavior, not playful behavior. Once again the skipper moved the boat about 30 feet in front of the dolphins, in the direction of their movement. We jumped back into the water to see if they wanted to play. Two of the juveniles swam towards us, getting within about two feet of our snorkel guide Jasse. I swam on my side as instructed, an invitation to play, as one of the dolphins got closer. Another moved away from the resting pod on the bottom, swimming up in our direction. They swam within about 10 feet of me, but then the pod called them back. The skipper said they were in rest mode and we would not disturb them, so we moved to a reef for snorkeling, seeing many colorful fish, a large ray, and a sea turtle cruising the bottom.
Back at White Pearl there was more bubbly on the beach and then prep for the evening. Augie, Teresa, my sister and I met near the pool for another bottle of South Africa’s Gramm Beck’s sparkling wine and birthday toasting.
A drum and dance demonstration took place in the boma area at 630. It was a lot of fun, and they even sang a Mozambique version of Happy Birthday. The outdoor deck was set for dinner under a clear and beautiful sky. Following our dinner a birthday cake appeared with more singing. It was clear and gorgeous night, our last night in Africa.