Maritime Tragedies

From time to time a corpse appears floating in the bay, usually someone caught by the tide and washed up to the beach. Tides here are very extreme: some are so low that we feel like walking towards the islands on the horizon, others are so high that the sea invades the Marginal making the circulation of cars difficult.

The worst tragedy caused by sudden tide rising occurred near Inhaca island, a long time ago. It was like this: a group of more than twenty women from Inhaca went to a sand bank uncovered by the low tide in order to collect clams. While they were doing their job, the water started to rise quickly. None of them knew how to swim. Holding tightly to the capulanas where they kept the clams, one by one vanished in the turmoil of the raising tide.

When the boat supposed to collect the women arrived, none of them was within sight. Days later, rags of their colorful capulanas were scattered on various beaches of the bay. I still remember the news and the sadness of the people as they were reading about the fate of this group of clam collectors.

Capulanas are colorful rectangular pieces of cloth used by Mozambican women to dress themselves and for various other purposes like transporting children on their backs.