Kipini to Che Shale - Leg 2
Captain of the day - Justin
Captains Log - Day 2 - Kipini-Che Shale - distance 90km - Hours on water 8
The theme of the day was: pragmatism. We woke up in Kipini to a breathtaking sunrise, with the local fisherman making their way out to sea over mirror flat waters. As we all sat and enjoyed our breakfast of mandazi’s and meat samosas (or in Nic’s case combing the two to make a mandosa) Justin and Boris were less relaxed. Their intuition on the conditions they are so familiar with were giving them cause for concern - this would not be a windy day. Oh….and it was also our longest day in terms of distance to cover.
Cue - crisis meeting. There would be no way we could wait for the wind to pick up in the early afternoon and make it into Che Shale before sunset. The Kaskazi wind gods were having a lie in. Normally so reliable they simply weren’t in the mood to play. What to do. We felt our only option, whilst keeping with the spirit of the expedition and ethos of ‘East African Board Riders’ would be to wakeboard with a surfboard (skurf) behind Captain Rossano’s boat all the way down the coast until the wind picked up. This meant a relay system of each person averaging 25mins behind the boat, which if you’ve ever wake-boarded you’ll know is pretty tough going.
After several hours of skurfing, feeling dejected and cold from the onslaught of sea spray, the wind finally began to play ball. Our next challenge was to find a spot on the beach from which to launch. Pulling into Justin’s magical spot - the secret island lagoon - an incredible sand-spit protecting a pristine lagoon brushed my mangroves and tiny islands, we pulled in to rig up a test kite. Justin did a few runs but sadly the wind, and wind direction, was still not right. Agonising. So we kept going until finally our moment arrived and in the mid afternoon we finally had the chance to get back on the water.
What followed was one of the best 2 hr downwind sessions most, if not all, of us had ever had. The section between Ras Ngomeni and Che Shale is a fantastic 15km stretch that should be placed firmly on the bucket list of any local watermen. No people, no boats, no danger, flat water, empty beaches - bliss. After the best session of the trip so far we pulled into Che Shale at about 6pm in a tight group followed by the support boat. We had the warmest possible welcome from the locals, Che Shale guests AND staff. Justin and Isabelle went above and beyond, in making us feel welcome at their fantastic boutique resort. The day ended with one of the best crab dinners we’ve ever had, fresh from Justin’s crab farm behind the hotel. A perfect ending to an imperfect day.