As I looked through my photos from our week in Mozambique my priorities became clear. I had about 100 pictures of pretty scenery, 300 of seafood, a few here and there of people, but about a thousand (not exaggerating here) of dhows. Even the photos that fit into those other categories usually had dhows in there somewhere.
They are so beautiful and picturesque, I really fell in love with them – their simple but efficient design, the bright paint, unique color combinations, the fact that they are very much in use (not just strategically placed for the tourists) and I loved that we got to take three different dhow trips…
Two of the dhow trips were to the Bazaruto islands where the boat doubled as a snorkel gear locker room and five-star kitchen. While we lazily ogled brightly colored fish (you wouldn’t believe the blues, oranges, yellows – I felt like I was finding Nemo), they prepared an amazing seafood lunch complete with steamed crab, fish steaks, rice, relish, salad, etc. And they prepared and cooked all of it on the boat.
Our second dhow trip was also a snorkeling expedition. It took three hours in our little dhow with the tiny engine to motor out to the reef. As a storm was approaching, we headed back to one of the islands and had another amazing lunch – also prepared on the boat. This one was a little more impressive since our chef/captain had to slice up fish fillets while navigating four foot waves.
Perhaps the best dhow trip was our ‘sunset cruise.’ We had to wrangle to get to go – even though we’d scheduled it, the dhow had arrived back from its day cruise late. Basically we just sat there with our bottom lips stuck out until they realized we weren’t leaving. The solution was to send two of the junior staff with us – they were maybe 15 years old and excited to be captain and first mate. The sunset was spectacular and made even more beautiful by the sounds of the water. No motor, just sail. We enjoyed another Mozambican beer (you get so tired of Carlsberg in Malawi that anything different tastes amazing!) and watched the sun set. It was only an hour or so, but was so breathtakingly beautiful and so peaceful that it was one of the highlights of the trip.
I tried to convince Sandy that we needed a dhow. I had several picked out and was convinced that 1) it could be tied to the top of the mazda and 2) we’d use it all the time – in the bathtub, at the lake, on the river of death (I mean Shire River). We could do our own boat safaris. In the end though I was convinced that it would be a better idea to try and find a smaller dhow, like this one:
A few more fabulous dhows: