A week ago we said fond farewells to our friends – there was lots of talk of drop-boxes, facebook pages and other techy stuff and then we all headed for Nairobi in our vans , only to stop at 2 more viewing points ,for yet more farewells , dropbox chats, family photos looking over The Great Rift Valley etc. They were a great easy-going crowd , with far more equipment than us . We called our van ‘Carry On Safari’ , while they were more the David Attenboroughs . I think we were the only van who tried travelling standing up while…not holding on /surfing/doing zumba – tricky when you’re going down a 1 in 2 slope ! They headed off to Zanzibar , while we headed off to the paradise that is Lamu .
At first in was something out of a James Bond movie .Our little plane landed on Manda Island , other little planes continued to take off and land around us . Abdullah picked up our little bags and ran with them to the jetty .In 5 minutes we were on a boat whizzing across the Indian Ocean and then dropped off on a jetty on a beautiful beach ,right outside our hotel – The Peponi ( a huge thank you to Ali and Andy for recommending it – we all agreed it is the best hotel we have ever stayed in ) .It was paradise in a ageing hippy boho sort of way . I felt Lamu was a cross between a little Greek unspoilt island, Marrakech , Zanzibar and Mecca .It has no cars ,everyone has donkeys or boats and is predominantly Muslim .Most local woman are clothed totally in the black niqab and the tiny alleys of Lamu town have become a world heritage site -it is stunning, relaxed ,but not artificial – it is a real working island .
There is nothing between The Peponi and the beach .We went to sleep and woke up hearing the sea . We were lucky enough to be there during the season the turtles were hatching .So by 7am on the first morning we were on a boat which took us over to Manda, up the Mangrove Creek , where we were dropped off ,then waded through ,to meet the elders from The Orma Tribe ,who took us over to the beach and explained the how they are striving to conserve the 2 most endangered species of sea turtles on earth – The Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle . Then they drew out a pathway on the sand towards the sea , dug deep ,and out came 70 plus tiny turtles that had just hatched .It was wonderful .The little creatures waddled the 4 metres down the beach and launched themselves into the sea .Hopefully around 50% will survive and then in 25years time make their way back to that very same beach !
We celebrated Florence’s 21st with all the staff at Peponi banging saucepans,clapping,singing and dancing .They baked her a fabulous white and dark chocolate cake. Then we spent the next couple of days exploring ,swimming,snoozing,reading,playing scrabble, doms and contract and looking for Jacob who went missing just as we about to be taken out on a boat to see the sunset -no probs , a local ,Cosmo ,took Florence and I round the island on his boat looking for him .Once found ,we all headed to Manda where John and Cosmo waded off , got beers ,and then we sat in The Indian Ocean watching the sun go down .One morning Jacob and Florence went out fishing and then Jacob gutted their catch of Barracuda and Red and White Snapper and the hotel cooked them for our dinner . We drank classy cocks, Tuskers, Kenyan wine and ate far too much .
Then we came home , and Florence and I went to Soup Kitchen .