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Reflections on Marlin Lodge

Yesterday we returned to Landrick, fresh from Marlin Lodge in Mozambique, which gave us our own cabin with private access to the Indian Ocean. It was a deeply peaceful place, and it was curiously appealing to be able to walk straight from the bedroom into the sea: who needs plunge pools?

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Unlike so many "inclusive" resorts, Marlin Lodge is not guilty of excluding the local population. It's one of three luxury lodges that comprise most of the economy of Benguerra Island, employing a large staff directly, buying fish from the islanders and creating joint projects on what the Lodge recognises is a shared island. The dhow cruises are a good example of collaboration, and the islanders walk freely on the beach in front of our cabins. This led to an energetic game of football on the beach with our two Mexican neighbours, Leonardo and Andres, and some local boys in the pink light of sunset: pure magic!

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Benguerra has the improbably white, fine sand that seems as if borrowed from a film set. Last Saturday we had a wonderful boat trip to the island's South Point where the staff set up your sun umbrella, cool box and cushions, and leave you to enjoy sundowners on the beach. We couldn't resist a walk around the end of the island, where I picked up a purple pansy shell. This is the flat skeleton of a rare sea urchin which, like a sand dollar, has a five-petalled flower at its centre. I've added a photograph below the South Point beach. You're allowed to bring home the shells, and mine still smells of the Indian Ocean: very evocative.

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