Sunday, February 19, 2012
Friday 10 Feb Diani Beach
We woke up very early to catch our ride for our Pili Pipa Boat adventure. We had to thoroughly slather ourselves in sunblock which takes longer then one ever anticipates. The van came at 7:15 and another couple from the cottages joined us. We picked up a few other people from other resorts, including some of the wackiest Germans I have ever encountered!
The majority of other tourists here are Germans. They are very distinct. They typically have a speedo in a fluorescent color on with a big belly hanging over strutting down the beach. The beach boys don't even approach them they are so offensive to the eyes. The women really like skimpy bikinis, but these women are a leathery sort of 60 something with pot bellies and lots of bling. They are loud and have little awareness of their surroundings. I got some pretty good shots of a few. The couple that joined us on the boat ride were no exception. Though in their 40's they both had significant plastic surgery scars around their faces, died hair, and suits that really were offensive to EVERYONE! The man wore hot pink hot pants and the lady a ruffled bikini, pink hair and one of those diamond tooth stick ons, ugh. You'll see the pictures and know exactly who I'm talking about. They were a sight!!
We drove for about 2 hours down the coast towards Tanzania through rural towns with mud clay dwellings and bright fabrics. We got to the docks that the tour dhows shared with dhows loading grains and fruits to sail to other small ports. We had to take a rickety wooden dinghy out to the dhow and climb on. We set out under power(they'd say they rarely use the sail) toward the reef. The tidal swings were causing massive swells. The wooden boat squeaked and jerked but got us out to the reef where we were set up with snorkel things and set out. Once again there is no safety awareness here. We were asked if we could swim, those that said no got a life jacket. There was no safety brief about the reef or the boat, we just jumped(I dove, it felt very freeing diving off a boat into the Indian ocean!). The water was colder then on the beach but very tolerable without a wetsuit. The reef was alive with fish of every tropical sort. It was like a massive Las Vegas aquarium! Spotted puffers in blue and yellow, packs of angel fish, spotted moray eels, sea urchins the size of basketballs, corals you only see in museums! It was magical! After over an hour we climbed back on board and took off to another section of the reef.
The next reef was just as magical. The tides were dropping below the reef so the fish were squeezed for space which made for good viewing. The water was a little merkier due to the rough seas but visibility was still over 15 feet. Once again a menagerie of sea life. After about and hour we swam back to the boat and headed out.
The tour boasts a large swahili seafood feast on an island. The only problem was the churning seas between us and the island. It was crazy! The waves were crashing over the bow! We were launching off one large swell and diving into the lull of the next which if you didn't have a strong hold of the boat would send you into the air! The other passengers looked pretty panicked. I watched the captain who was clearly sweating and thought "hmmmm, could I swim to shore from here?". The boat, as I said, was wooden. By this I mean pegs made of wood instead of nails holding it together and lashings of rope holding everything else in place. The deck hands were securing things from getting tossed around then hunkered down against the mast. This lasted about an hour and a half.
Everyone was relieved when we pulled up near the shore for lunch. We, once again, had to get into the wooden dinghy which was getting tossed more then the boat had. We were told we would have to cross the coral on foot to get to shore due to the low tide and that we would have to wear shoes since there were large sea urchin spines sticking out of the coral. I think this was more adventure then a lot of the other passengers were anticipating, but, they all managed it. We were told we would have to walk through the forest to get the dinghy back after lunch due to the tide coming in.
They were right about a seafood feast! We ate a lot of what we had just seen and Tusker to go with. I think we all needed a little break after our journey. We were full and happy in the sun, ready to go back. We all set out on foot through the forest. It was about a half hour walk through a Bilbao jungle(I stepped on a 1" thorn that went through my flip flop, youch!) to a coral out cropping with a sketchy dock. We all piled into the wooden dinghy, weathered the seas and were back on the dhow for our short ride to the main dock where we had to get back in the dinghy and climb ashore. We then piled back into our respective vans to head back to Diani. We had an amazing day and loved every minute of it.
It was a relief to be back at Asha, we were tired. Jen had come out from Mombasa to hang out with us and enjoy the glory of Asha. We all had dinner then walked down the beach to the most renowned bar in Diani called 40 Thieves. We had a few cocktails, danced to some Madonna and Rhianna in our flip flops then chased ghost crabs back to Asha. Perfect day.