When we got back from Rwanda we spent a few days in Nairobi with Will again. Nairobi has hellish traffic and we were due to arrive at 5pm but didn’t actually get in till about 9pm which turned our 23 hour bus trip into a 27hr one! Add to that the hour it took to get to Wills place and we arrived very weary but happy to be upright! The flat was full of people when we arrived and so it didn’t take long for the party to begin. Six degrees of separation reared its head when we discovered that one of their friends was a mate of my nephew in Buenos Aires so we promptly Facetimed him in Argentina…. the night ended up with drinking games until dawn- all fun and games in Nairobi
The next day we went to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage which was set up by David & Daphne Sheldrick many years ago to rescue baby elephants orphaned by poachers. Sadly this is still the case as most of the babys are still either orphaned or snared or even shot when they are found. They are all under 3 years old, hand fed and then released into the Tsavo National Park where there are lots of elephants to bond with. The keepers were very dedicated to their charges and it was intetesting to hear how after all the publicity and efforts made by everyone the poachers are still able to cause such damage.
We had a lovely lunch and a quiet evening and set off early the next morning to catch the new express train down to Mombassa. We went first class for the grand sum of $30 and dined in a really old fashioned dining car – the other unique thing about the journey was that it runs straight through the Tsavo National Park so we were able to eat our lunch watching the animals. A very nice way to spend the day.
We arrived back at Kilifi Yacht Club with plans to head south back to Tanzania but our friends on Paseafique and Vanamos were heading through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean arriving in May/June. They encouraged us to come with them and Mike on Proud Cat had also been trying to get us to go with him into the Gulf of Oman so we sat down and drew up two columns of pros and cons. It was no contest- the pros of heading north instead of South definitely outweighed waiting another year and crossing the Atlantic three times in order to get to Turkey. So, decision made – it was plan plan plan and organise the enormous task of getting through the Red Sea. This includes getting different charts, getting US dollars for the canal, getting info on anchorage and marinas, contacting agents, getting visas, sourcing cruising guides etc. We had never entertained the idea of going through the Suez Canal as it has not really been on any cruising agenda since the piracy problem but on researching the situation we discovered that it is actually very safe now. There are military forces flying overhead – British and American who continually keep an eye on you and we have to report our position to them every day as well. There have been no attacks on yachts for about 9 years and since the civil war in Somalia there have been no men able to go out to sea. We really looked at it carefully and having know many boats who transitted last year we feel confident it will be fine. We spent the next few days organising gas and diesel in Kilifi and then turned round and headed back to Lamu to wait for the right weather window.
Waiting, waiting, waiting …. the weather is not playing ball with us. It should have gone south by now but is stubbornly staying North-East which is totally out of the question, so the four of us – Proud Cat Paseafique, Vanamos and Indian Summer are just sitting around Lamu trying to stay occupied while we wait. We visited the museum’s, went to a coconut and sesame oil production place, went to various dinners and parties and I even made the Red sea flags for everyone.
Not such a bad place though – plenty of places to go and people to talk to – it’s just that sailors find it hard waiting and watching the weather every day –
Yemen (only the island of Socotra), Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt await us while we sort out the final details and menanwhile…. waiting waiting waiting….