The small chain of stunning islands off the North coast of Mozambique in the Quirimbas Archipelago is an incredibly unique aquatic sanctuary. Many endangered species reside there and to date it is a unique and unspoilt haven for these rare underwater creatures.

Turtle-lovers certainly would be in paradise in the Quirimbas Archipelago with possibly up to five different species of turtle living there. The Green turtle and the Hawksbill turtle are the most commonly sighted turtles around Ilha Quisiva. While diving on the outer reef sometimes I sighted Green turtles that were so big they were mistaken for huge coral blocks until they suddenly swam away as we approached. On night dives it is a common occurrence to find several turtles sleeping in the small caves in the reefs.

Another example of marine animals listed as endangered which can be found within the Quirimbas is the elusive Dugong. Although never sighted underwater by myself, Dugongs were spotted on the surface by several people when doing sunset cruises on the local dhow boats. The Dugong population in the world is very small and these creatures are renowned for being incredibly shy. No real research into the local population has yet been done but the grassy seaweed beds found in the many estuaries near Quisiva and Quilalea seem ideal for them.

Humpback whales migrate past Quisiva every year and it is not uncommon to see them displaying their huge tails or jumping out the water. The whales have also been known to enter into the more protected areas around the islands to give birth to their young. The whale season begins at the end of June to early July with most of the activity happening during August.

The list of endangered sea creatures in the Quirimbas Archipelago is far too extensive to put in this blog and the truth is that the number of animals that need protection is numerous. This unique and breathtakingly beautiful area still needs to be thoroughly explored and researched since it is such an uncharted diving territory. However, the stories from local fisherman of sea horses and many strange fish are fascinating enough to inspire me to make the trip back there to discover more of the seas wonders.