Diani to Shimoni - Leg 6
Leg 6. Diani - Shimoni. Straightline distance 47k. Distance Kited 54km. Hours on water 4.
Unsurprisingly it was hard to leave our luxury digs this morning, but Shimoni was calling so we all had to snap into gear and prepare for the 47km leg ahead. We’re getting to the business end of the expedition now and the toll it’s taking on our bodies is tangible. George had to get himself to a clinic to get his hip graze seen to and get drops for his aching blood red eyes. Al has lips that are so dry and cracked they’ve got blisters on them. Stef was walking like a matador at a toledo, but not out of choice. Marc has third degree (sun) burn on this arms. Justin has a constant look of pain on his face but to be fair that’s the way he always looks. Boris is losing his hair but that’s because he’s getting old. Even photographer Nic is hobbling around but that could just be out of solidarity. Jason and Craig seemed to be made of rubber and are absolutely fine.
We calculated our stint to Shimoni, famous for it’s deep sea fishing and being the last town on the Kenyan coast, should take about 4 hours. The wind came in at about 9am and by midday was hitting 20knots, our strongest day yet. This however caused a dilemma. The catamaran which was holding our smaller kites/sails had skipped Diani as it couldn’t enter the lagoon and gone straight onto Shimoni and it’s deeper waters. In short this meant we would all be hugely overpowered with our existing kits. Without getting into the technicalities this would make it a tough day in the office, with all of us having to work and concentrate 50% harder to avoid flying out of control and wiping out hard.
It was sad to leave Diani and venture into unknown waters but it also made it more exciting. None of us had kited/windsurf this far south before. If we had, we probably wouldn’t have opted to stop in Chale Island and it’s slither of a beach in a tight windlocked bay. What were we thinking! The gaggle of sunbathers there were treated to an exhibition of how NOT to land your kite whilst still in the water. Boris was the first to land and had to run around manically plucking our kites out of the air, with our lines tangling and boards being swept back out to see. Hectic. Nic, following us on the Boston whaler we hired for the day as a rescue boat, wisely opted to stay well away from the gnarly shore break smashing the beach. We treated ourselves to a coke then got the hell out of there before the tide came up further.
By 2:30pm the wind had picked up to 25knots, and we were using kites better suited to 15. Nevertheless we persevered and decided to beeline straight to Shimoni, through the Msambweni lagoon, around the rocky Funzi island, and on to our landing zone at Mwazaro beach on the mouth of the mighty Ramisi river. With some time to spare given the shortness of the leg, we took our time enjoying some of the waves in Msambweni.
When we hit the bay south of Funzi Island the wind had strengthened even more, and we were all over-powered. The water had chopped up a lot, and the last half an hour or was quite a strain. Everyone made it in to the beach though, where Harm from Pili Pippa was waiting to welcome us.
A quick car ride to Shimoni over a 7km coral track brought us to Harm’s lodge, a collection of safari tents on a small coral cliff looking out over Shimoni harbour across to the magnificent baobab treelike of Wasini Island.
Nic had come in from around the headland, as the skiff was unable to land at the same beach as the kiters. By the time he rounded the headland, the swell and chop had really picked up, and a special mention to the captain of the Boston Whaler, George his crew Alex for handling the conditions so well.
We gathered together with the crew of Hideaway and some local Marine Biology students for a delicious ‘Karoga’ curry, which was prepared in the traditional way in a large sufaria over a jiko of hot coals, by the experienced Karoga team of Harm, Yatin, and for one night only, EABR roady, Alex Rosticil, to buoy the lads as they really start to feel the effects of the last week or so on the water.