Mombasa to Diani - Leg 5
Day 5 Mombasa - Diani. Distance covered 33km. Distance kited 54km. Hours on water 3.5
As always the day would begin early, at around 6:45am. Nic, ever the pro, would be up an hour before everyone else editing his photos from the day before. We hope you’ve been enjoying Nic’s daily photographs capturing the Kenyan coast, it’s people, and our expedition (picking up a bruised cheek from his camera after hours of photography on board the bouncing skiff). It’s a very special feeling for us to have our trip documented in such a wonderful way, and we owe Nic a huge debt of gratitude for giving up his time to join us.
We would then all sit together for breakfast, this time in the not-too-shabby restaurant of Tamarind Village overlooking Tudor creek. Our daily breakfast meetings normally consist of a series of big, often critical, decisions that need to be made about the day/s ahead. Jason would brief us on the route and the local expert (Boris or Justin) would colour between the lines. What time should we leave? what’s the forecast? What’s the tide doing? Is there time to get there? Where should the catamaran meet us? What kite size should we use? Where will we stop for breaks? Will the windsurfers have enough water to enter the lagoons? Are the radios charged? Does anyone have any injuries…it goes on and on. But as always, we make a plan, and we stick to it.
I think it’s fair to say that this was the leg we had all been looking forward to the most, Mombasa to Diani. Most of us had cut our teeth windsurfing and kiting on the white sands of Diani, and one of us had even made it their home. If there’s anyone in the world you’d want to go on a downwinder with on the South Coast it’s Boris, who knows every inch of it like the back of his hand. However first we would have to navigate one tiny obstacle - the city of Mombasa and it’s two channels, the Likoni ferry channel and Old town channel.
We set off from Nyali in one tight group, with a 16knot breeze in the air, and made our way steadily across the 5km stretch of sea in front of the city, littered with beacons, buoys, fishing nets and, sadlly, litter. We were all clearly nervous about this as evident by the checking and re-checking of our sails, boards and screws before leaving. We made the decision to ditch our rescue boat as it simply wouldn’t be able to keep up. This meant squeaky bum time. Thankfully it was much ado about nothing as we sailed past with relative easy and entered the south coast lagoons within half an hour, kiters and windsurfers cruising at the same pace…FINALLY!
From an expedition perspective I’m delighted to say there were no drama’s to report in the 3 hrs that followed. Just laid back cruising in and out of the reef. From a blogger’s perspective this doesn’t give me much to work with! So I’ll just cut to the chase and describe our arrival at the front of Kenyaways and Boris and Kathi’s kite centre H2O Extreme. As we approached the kite school we got into line at the back reef with Boris taking the honours of the lead in. One by one we landed the kites and within 5 seconds we each had a cold beer in our hand courtesy of a welcoming supporter, and could hear the clapping and shouts from the crowd of friends and relatives at the treeline. If you were there yesterday, and you are reading this…THANK YOU! it’s amazing to arrive to such a welcome.
Then came the best bit. Who says you need to slum it on an endurance expedition? Leo Giovando, owner of The Almanara Luxury Resort, and good friend to most of the group, went above and beyond with his generosity and support for our expedition offering us 3 villas to accommodate us for the night. Almanara is based on the quieter, dare I say it, classier, Galu beach and only a stones throw from the H20 Extreme kite school. Almanara also houses Sails restaurant run by Chef Doig, arguably the best restaurant of the south coast, where we had our dinner. As we tucked into Kilifi oysters, spaghetti alle vongole and lovely wine surrounded by our closest friends, we all quietly asked ourselves - does life get better than this? Kenya…you’re magical sometimes.