A festival of pop art colours : birds, corals, fish and dolphins!

Lilac breasted roller flrying

Lilac breasted roller flying

For my birthday I decided to go and see my kins, the fish at the Coast. From Diani road in Nairobi to Diani beach…

On the way there amazing birds would dash like arrows in the sky and then land on the electricity lines. “What are they?” – ”  I haven’t seen it….”

When another one passed by I showed him again. Again he hadn’t seen it. “Most of them are lilac rollers”  said the driver casually. Of course I couldn’t take a picture of those winged beauties myself but here is a portrait of a lilac roller.

This is when I noticed how spoilt Kenyans  are. They have these birds we have not even conceived in our brightest dreams and for them they are just ” Most of them“. They don’t even notice them just like we don’t even notice our fat pigeons in Luxembourg Gardens. His tone translated :” we have plenty of these things you don’t even dare to dream of, and we don’t even see them anymore, because we have so many of them!

Stoplight Parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) at Salt Pier


I had planned to go to the Kisite Marine park on the 24th, and that day it seems that all the dolphins of the park had decided to come and greet me! When I was a child I had put posters of dolphins and cheetahs on my walls. And here I was when all of them jumping around, like a symphony! The captain said they had four species of dolphin, but I don’t remember the names he mentioned.I had made a lovely film with my lifetime dream friends… but that very day my camera got stolen.

When we reached the diving spot….. Waoo! The corals and the fish dressed in pop art colours. Unbelievable ….Pink, blue, yellow, orange….. the brain corals, corals like a lion’s mane, corals like bushes, others looked like flowers…. I saw my first parrotfish ever. And I saw several of them! Angelfish…too…

On the way back, the captain said that, when the tide was low, the area we were going through was totally uncovered and that we could walk through four kilometers of sea . This was something like what Moses did! I was amazed! I couldn’t believe it: the water we were sailing on now, could actually be gone?? “It is a reef he said”.

I started imagining how it could look like with no water just algae and rocks… a few corals… I wished I could see that one day!

starfish and urchin

starfish and urchin

Guess what? A big surprise for me. The next day I went to Diani beach… my beach…the water had gone! The tide was so low and I saw what I had dreamt of seeing. 1 km of uncovered “sea floor”. Starfish had to be put back in the water or else they would die.

I held my first starfish: it’s actually as hard as bone but they can move and change shapes. How strange! Huge starfish, and so many sea urchin I had to avoid walking on…Salim the guy who had accompanied me, told me the starfish were eaten by the urchins.


Corals at Diani beach

“When you reach this point Salim said,  you can snorkel”. But yet the water was so shallow that I was afraid of getting pinched by one of the urchins….

Less than 20 cm, it was really tight…. I tucked my tommy in…

And that’s how I saw my first rectangular fish ever.!

A tiny tiny yellow fish half the size of my little finger accompanied me all the way at the beginning. He was really with me. When I got tired, at the end of the first session….guess who appeared again!

Then I understood: the corals here were no coincidence. In Diani beach there is a coral barrier, and that’s why the waves broke at a certain point on the horizon. It was around 3 Km away from land. I had planned to reach by windsurf and snorkel from there to see the corals. I had thought I had to go to the Tanzania border to Kisite marine park, but what I wanted – the coral reef- was here already.

Again, just like earlier with the Moses experience, the stars had planned an even better surprise for me! I could snorkel now and enjoy the windsurfing hour just for windsurfing when the tide would come back.


angelfish at Diani

When it did, the beach shrunk. Again, I couldn’t believe it was the same beach as earlier. No space left to lie down, when in the morning there were more than 30 meters of dry sand! Those tides were impressive indeed. In the afternoons the wind rose and it was so harsh, that I no longer found it nice to stay on the beach. In the morning it was as calm as a lake.

During my holiday in Diani, the full moon hang above the sea, twenty four hours a day.



PS: for all pictures except the  lilac roller, and the parrot fish, I appear courtesy to Stilts Backpackers facebook page. Thanks Andy! https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Stilts-Backpackers/120956872812?fref=ts

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