This time we woke up just after 5:30am to drive to the Kilifi boat yard to pick up a boat that one of the benefactors of the project would be lending to us. This meant that we packed a backpack full of snorkels and towels and three fishing rods and then realised that we didn’t have any food for the journey so took my bag of apples that I had bought the day before in Kilifi (a heartbreaking move but I acted very relaxed – “Oh yes of course I don’t mind you taking the apples that I just bought to last me two weeks, I’m totally fine with that”. Oscar-worthy I’m telling you) and a couple of carrots from the fridge. Then we set off down the bumpy roads to the boat yard.
We arrived at about 7am and met some others there too, as there was more than one boat to be brought back. Although there was one slight issue which was that the boat the others were trying to drive back didn’t work. So we waited on the dock for about an hour while they tried to fix it. I felt very unhelpful as I know diddly-squat about boat mechanics so just kind of sat there watching a squid hunt just off the jetty. At 8ish we decided to send the first boatload of people back and that the others could catch us up later on.
We had a lovely boat ride from Kilifi back down along the coastline to Vipingo Ridge, which took about an hour and a half. I think it was supposed to take a little bit less long but when we were about 1km away from our home beach (God I love saying that) the engine kind of gave up and so we were stuck floating at sea for a little while. Luckily it was only for about fifteen minutes before Des and Cameron managed to get the engine working again and we motored back to the beach very carefully through the deeper channels, so as not to break the corals or the boat.
Fixing up the boat
When we got back we were told that the other boat had managed to overtake us but didn’t know that to get in you needed to use the deeper channel and so had gotten stuck on the other side of the beach. They needed rescuing. Again this was not up to me or Yael with out limited knowledge of both the terrain, the tides and boats so we went for a snorkel instead. The tide was quite far out so it was very shallow, but that makes it all the better because the fish are concentrated in a smaller space so you can see more and get closer to them. Win-win. We saw a very small moray eel, a very small lionfish (which luckily aren’t a problem in these waters) and a sea hare (kind of like a sea slug looking thing which I haven’t seen before). The water is also much clearer when it’s shallow and the sun had just come out so it was properly beautiful to look at.
We got out the water after about an hour and walked along the beach to meet Des and Cameron who had successfully managed to rescue the others but had had to leave their boat behind as by then the tide had gone out too far to manoeuvre it safely. By then it was about 11am and having not eaten anything apart from an apple and a couple of carrots since 5:30am we were all pretty hungry so went up to the house for a very late breakfast and a good ol’ siesta.
After that we learnt some new species (so many types of wrasse oh my god) and went for a snorkel to try them all out. The water in the afternoon seems to go a bit more sepia coloured and a LOT warmer so it’s less good for snorkelling but we still saw another lionfish and another moray eel.
We swam over to where the other boat was stranded and pushed it over into the deeper part of the reef so that it wouldn’t damage the reef as the tide went all the way out. Once we sorted that out it was time for a drink at the beach bar. I had my first dawa, a Kenyan cocktail made with vodka, honey, lime and soda water and it was delicious. Apparently you haven’t really stayed in Kenya until you’ve had one so really I was just doing my duty… Let’s go with that.