Lamu to Kipini - Leg 1
Reflections on leg 1 from George Issaias
Captains log (George) - Day 1 - Lamu to Kipini - 59kms - total distance covered 90km - hours 6
And….they’re off. After months of planning, discussions (read: arguments) and a couple of sleepless nights, the Lamu to Zanzibar expedition finally became a reality. Our team of 6 kite surfers and 2 windsurfers gathered on Shela beach at midday day on 5th Jan as the wind finally kicked in. With friends and family on the beach to see us off, the whole team felt great and with the wind in our sails we set off for Kipini, followed by our support boat Katisa of Kilifi Sport Fishing under the expert guidance of Captain Rossano.
Our first section was a 20km stretch to Tenewe Island, nicknamed Samosa Island in honour of the lunch we devoured when we got there. Due to light wind our progress was slow going as the team had to hold back to ensure our underpowered windsurfers didn’t fall to far behind. The opposite would be the case in stronger wind. After 2 hrs we finally arrived, and what an arrival it was. Justin was the first to land safely on it, followed by myself who came in way to fast and ended up crashing on a reef and grazing the left side of my hip badly .This resulted in my board being swept away in the super strong current around the island. Jason, one of our most experienced kiters( great barrier reef record) did what good teammates do and ditched his board to go and rescue mine. However this meant that he missed the line to come into land himself, and ended up having to work hard for a totally unnecessary 20mins to go back upwind, while we all sat on the beach and looked on helplessly while stuffing our faces with Ali’s famous Samosas). Thanks Jason I owe you one.
As the wind picked up to 15/16knots we decided to beeline directly to our final destination - a 36km section to Kipini. After 2hrs of riding it was clear that the guys were getting very tired, myself included. With aching, blistering hands, stiffening backs, and burning legs we persevered and kept slogging away. Experienced kiters were crashing doing the simplest of turns as concentration levels started to wane. At around 5:30 we started to near Kipini - the northern most branch of the Tana delta. However with bad intel and poor visibility we struggled to find our destination for the night, the Tana River Lodge. Following instructions from the beach half the group sailed past the lodge to the south-side of the river and were unable to fight their way back to the northern bank where the lodge sat. I had to land my kite alone with the help of the local baywatch team and wait for Captain Rossano to come and collect me. Al had to no choice but to self rescue and was seen sitting on his own kite, and sailing it gracefully upstream before also being collected. The rest of the team landed safely in front of the hotel on a short slither of beach with jagged rocks. In brief - we had finally arrived.