Monday, July 4, 2016

Tanga, Tanzania to Lamu, Kenya (June/July 2016)

It was a fast jaunt from Tanga to Lamu (approx. 200 nautical miles). We stopped first just over the border in Shimoni to check into Kenya. The officials were very friendly but also quite thorough, very much on guard against Al-Shabaab. They checked us out more thoroughly than anywhere we've been since New Zealand, asking questions about safety gear and looking through lockers and under beds. On shore, we asked the immigration officer about the piracy situation, whether it was safe for us to sail to Lamu. He said that the fishing boats go up to Lamu all the time. I asked: And they come back? Yes, they come back, he smiled. Evidently, the trip to Lamu by sea is now safer than by land. After two days in Shimoni, we continued to Lamu, way too fast for my liking, the pleasure of moving at 8 and 9 knots with a moderate following wind and strong favorable current muted by the knowledge that soon we'll have to struggle against this wind and current to make it back to Tanga. So much for living in the moment.

Momo anchored in Shimoni, with Q flag, after an excellent day sail from Tanga (30 miles).

Momo's escort to shore; Shimoni officials included the driver, the man in charge (pictured above) who scanned our papers and asked questions, the driver (a nice boy who drove us back to Momo later in the evening) and two more escorts who looked through Momo's lockers -- always with huge smiles.  
Fast trip to shore for check-in. We had planned to rest at anchor for the evening and then check in, but we were warned that waiting a day to go to immigration would land us in jail. We took the friendly advice and nice ride, and checked in on the evening of our arrival. 

Lamu waterfront: Al Jazeera (the boat).

There are (virtually) no cars on the island of Lamu. Transport is by donkey. Or by boat (almost all of them powered by two-stroke Yamaha Enduro outboards, by the way, mostly 15 hp).

Old mosque in Lamu town under reconstruction/ repair. 

Boy, donkey, transport boat, sails: typical Lamu waterfront scene. 

Spindly-legged donkeys carry everything, from people to heavy bricks for construction.

Small dhows in front of old Lamu Town. 

View to waterfront from typical arched doorway. 

Constant care to boats -- we know it; they know it. 

Momo's colors, with a message. And a nice outboard. 

Kids playing Bao, a traditional East African mancala board game

A friendly antiques dealer who said that if we used the proper keywords we could find him on Google. But we forgot the keywords, so we can't.

No cars, but plenty of bicycles in Lamu.

Town tour; looking for a way to access Internet. 

Cats and doors -- key Lamu scenery.

No shortage of fresh veggies in Lamu. We are eating well. 

Town square in old Lamu.

Lamu town square.