Not to be confused with Pemba island in Tanzania, the small coastal city of Pemba sits at the northern tip of Mozambique and is the gateway to scuba diving in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Pemba is also located on the edge of the world’s third largest bay – residents claim that only Sydney harbour and Rio are bigger.
The reefs are fairly unexplored and the diving is unexpected. Around the outer edges of the massive bay are small cliff walls, lush mangroves and beautiful white sand beaches that lead to prolific reefs consisting of hard corals and masses of small fish.
Most dives are shallow but there are a variety of sites and even some incredible muck diving inside the bay and past the shipping port. The visibility tends to be low, especially in the rainy season as several rivers dump freshwater and sediment into the bay, but the critter life is superb. Seahorses and octopus jostle with juvenile lionfish and flying gurnards.