It all started with Daniel.
It was a hot, sunny day at Baobab when Martin and I strolled into the welcoming air conditioned office. A young man was sitting behind his desk, eagerly awaiting his next customer. As the sweat was cooling from our dampened foreheads, we told Daniel that we wanted to do a trip to Wasini Island and asked for his recommendations. Having been before, I wandered to the stand with all the brochures and picked up ‘Charlie Claws’, but Daniel hurriedly suggested an alternative- Pilli Pipa. “Pilli Pipa is better. I recommend to all customers”.
We went back to the pool to think about it (after having to convince him that I was in fact a Kenyan Citizen and would not be paying tourist rates) and by the end of the day our trip was booked. 7am on Sunday morning we needed to be at reception.
We woke early that morning to watch the spectacular sun rise above the Indian Ocean, and scoffed down a couple of sausages with a couple ‘to go’, and legged it to reception. The transport was late. Typical. Then we were told we had to check out and we had a mad panic and I argued that we were checking out the next day (hence the confusion when we actually did check out). The drive was long but eventually we got to the port of Shimoi. We boarded a small boat which took us to the dhow (already full with thankfully patient people waiting for our group).
If you were to carry along down the main road for another (half hour?), you would reach the Tanzanian border – I’ve almost done this accidentally before! (During the East African Slave Trade, Shimoni, as well as other coastal towns was a ‘slave holding port’ and for a small donation, you can go into the slave caves.)
It’s about an hour to get to the marine park from Shimoni, and with about 15 minutes to go we passed a pod of dolphins who were swimming alongside us. All I wanted to do was jump into the warm water and swim with them. (A lifelong dream is to swim with wild dolphins).
Goggles, snorkle and flippers on, we jumped into the welcoming blue water and saw the magic that was just beneath us. Lion fish, turtles, ‘unicorn’ fish- it was magnificent. I had the go pro in hand trying and hoping to catch everything! We were even lucky enough to see a couple of turtles. I normally am not the biggest fan of snorkling- no matter what googles I wear they always leak, so I tend to jump out early and sunbathe on the roof. This time however, sharing it with someone I loved, I enjoyed it a lot more than usual. We went to two spots, and then headed off to the island for a lovely seafood lunch. I had to hold in giggles and looked at Martin who was doing the same when they sang us a ‘welcome and enjoy your food’ song. However, it was delicious and I ate to my hearts content. The wine went down well too!
The island itself has no cars, and the main source of income for the inhabitants are tourism and fishing. There are a couple of restaurants there which belong to the company’s that take you (such as Pilli Pipa and Charlie Claws), and you can take a walk through the little village.
As a set up, I prefer Charlie Claws- they have a lagoon pool over looking the sea, and it’s been set up that you can lounge around after lunch. However, the service that we had with Pilli Pipa was outstanding. The crew were really knowledgeable and friendly, and the staff at the restaurant were there for whatever you needed. A lady even came around whose job was to smash our crab shells so we could eat the meat inside.
By the time we got into the minivan for the trip home, everyone was hot, sticky and exhausted. A shower and a cold drink was in order!