Inhaca is a small island in the Indian Ocean, population of around 2,000. It’s a 2 hour boat ride from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Last month, two friends and I took the 8am ferry from Maputo port for an overnight stop on the island. It was an unforgettable adventure.
On the packed boat, we squeezed onto a bench. I found myself next to a beautiful South African. I spent some most all of the trip trying to think of a good opening line. I failed. But, for an hour we sat comfortably and without incident. That’s a minor accomplishment.
After arriving, we hired a taxi to Santa Maria beach, on the other side of the island. Our taxi was an off-road open-bed truck. The half-hour ride, over sand hills and through dense woodland, ducking to avoid low-hanging branches, was an adventure in itself.
From the truck, we saw a group of boys waiting up ahead. As we approached, they charged towards us, and leapt on the back. At one stage 9 of them were clinging on. One by one they fell off onto the sand track, until the last boy, not wishing to walk back alone, jumped off voluntarily.
Santa Maria beach was beautiful, and almost deserted. There were hardly any waves. I decided to go for a swim. From the sand, the water looked as calm as a pond, but the current was fast enough to frighten fish.
I can’t swim as well as fish, to be honest I’m not even confident I could outswim a goat. I survived by venturing no further than 2 metres from the shore, constantly banging my knees on the sandy sea bottom. I looked ridiculous. Fortunately there was no-one to look. So, I left triumphant, having conquered the might of the Indian Ocean….well the edge of it anyway.