After finishing up with the safari I was looking forward to a bit more of a lie-in, but fate was not on my side. The reason we had chosen Watamu as our beach destination was due to the proximity of the Marine Reserve which is a national park and protected from fishing. In some parts it is completely banned and others they only allow traditional methods. As a result the marine life is some of the best that you can get along the Kenyan coast and so perfect for diving. I always try to incorporate a bit of diving wherever I am so this was a nice way to split up beach days with some activity. As I have mentioned in previous posts we were visiting right at the end of the season. In Kenya the rainy season generally starts around April and runs until September and so the sea conditions are often too rough for diving on the outer deeper reefs. As it was the shoulder of the season and the rains hadn’t quite arrived yet we were lucky to still be able to go diving but still had to be cautious of the weather and so the diving was early to make sure if storms picked up over the course of the day you wouldn’t miss out. This however, meant another 5.50a.m wake-up and a quick breakfast on the go at 6.30 so I was ready for my 7a.m pick-up.
We were staying at Temple Point Resort and the hotel is affiliated with Aqua Ventures dive centre which is located along the beach next to Hemingways hotel. The centre come and collect you and take you along to the centre where we did all the necessary paperwork and kitted up. The weather was behaving badly and it was a cloudy morning with rain on and off, although to be honest these are perfect diving conditions as it prevents the inevitable sunburn that occurs when you get out the water between dives. It was just me and an open water student and so they paired me with Dominic – a divemaster for my first dive and Hector – an instructor for my second. They like to give all the staff a chance to dive so on slower days they switch around. We headed out to Caracas for our first dive, a mere 10 minutes from boat ride from the centre and jumped in. There was a bit of current and surge for the first dive but compared to diving in Scotland it was lovely and carefree with 10m visibility. We spotted a lot of fish including; scorpion fish, lots of puffers, 2 octopus hiding in holes and a lot of cornet fish. The highlight had to be a squid swimming around. I have never seen a squid actually swim before and we followed along for a bit before letting him swim off. Otherwise the corals were nice but pretty standard Indian ocean reefs.
After the first dive the open water student was feeling sick and so we took him back to the shore but had to stay on board the boat so we didn’t have to pay 2 sets of marine park fees. The staff brought us some fresh coconut, tea and biscuits to enjoy before we were zooming off to the next site – Drummers Drift. Due to the currents the conditions were perfect for drift diving and luckily the surge had calmed down a lot so it didn’t feel quite as much like being on a ride. I rolled in with Herbert and we headed down. It was another lovely relaxing dive with crocodile fish, a blue spotted ray, pufferfish, angelfish and unicorn fish. The highlight was a juvenile green turtle with 2 large remora on its back but once it spotted us it swam off obviously not too used to divers yet. It had been fab to be back in the water after a few months and we headed back to shore before Helen kindly dropped me back at Temple Point.
After enjoying a lovely lunch of barbecued fish, potatoes and cauliflower cheese we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the beautiful pool. My mum had been on a beach walk in the morning with the animators (entertainment staff) at the hotel and really enjoyed it so she headed back down to make some purchases while I relaxed and got into my book – In the Shadow of Man by Dr Jane Goodall. I had bought it a few years ago when I went and listened to the living legend speak and got to meet her afterwards and it was a fantastic book to read while on safari surrounded by so much wildlife. When my mum came back from her second beach expedition of the day we headed for a great dinner – I had a curry feast before spending the rest of the evening sitting at the bar relaxing. I could definitely get used to this new chilled life.