Sunday, July 3, 2011

chasing dolphins

Our island is a tourist hot spot. Tough for me to believe some days when the bugs are everywhere, there is no power, and I buy a whole bag of rotten eggs (yep, yesterday!) but true. And although I forget the truth is that it is a crazy beautiful place and tourists flock in the cool season. Mostly granola, dread lock sporting, backpack hauling type folks or Europeans who wear way too little clothing and stick mostly to the beaches and the expensive hotels dotted along the coast.


We have not done many things tourist simply because of time, having small kids, and the ongoing issue of fund-age. But there are a few things on our "to-do" list while we live here that are just non-negotiables and swimming with the dolphins was one of them. So, in an effort to not be the Chicagoan who has lived in Chicago my whole life but never been to the top of the Sears (or whatever it is called now) Tower we decided we best start seeing more of the sights. And it was the perfect opportunity when the couple that stayed a week longer than the rest of the team wanted to go. We could hire a local guy J knew instead of paying the tourist rate we could all go for the price of one person! We offered to drive and they offered to have our motley crew along for their dolphin chasing adventure. Another family from Switzerland here visiting our team leader also joined. We got up before dawn, packed a lunch, grabbed our gear and headed out arriving at the coast around 7am. We ended up having to walk about a half mile out through ankle to waist deep water to finally board a boat (I guess there are some benefits to actually paying tourist prices :) but even though we were all soaked we headed out. Watching and swimming with dolphins should not be the name of this tour, it is more like a bunch of boats (some in various states of disrepair) chasing the poor dolphins. But even though pasty tourists and local boat drivers chase them they seem to stay in the same general place and after a few times we actually got amazingly close to them. It was hilarious as all the boats sped toward one location then our boat driver would yell in Kiswahili to get in and follow him to get the best chance of seeing them. Our wazungu selves would hoist our bodies out of the boat and swim after them with varying degrees of success (J actually got really close to a few) and Anni jumped in twice and tried out her newly acquired snorkeling skills. Evy; on the other hand would NOT recommend this tour and in fact every picture of her would make the brochure on things to NOT do with your children but hey, live and learn. She hated the life jacket us joy-kills made her wear and after that it was all down hill. Fortunately for everyone involved the girls and I (and a few other sea sick folks) hit the beach before more snorkeling to give everyone a break from the constant screaming. And turns out Evy is much more fond of the beach than the actual ocean. She had a blast covering herself in sand and jumping in the water at low tide with Anni. When everyone returned we enjoyed some lunch and packed up to head home only to find one the borrowed car our friends were using would not start because the immobilizer on the car had been activated and you could not turn it off since the keys got wet. As with any problem here soon there was a crowd working on the issue while Evy and I wandered around and took some pictures of the beautiful water and shore. After a while J was sent off to get some rope to tow the car it miraculously started- just a prayer was needed, and we were all finally off. It was a great adventure! And this family has now chased the dolphins!!
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 013.jpgedit
before realizing she hated life at sea
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 015.jpgedit
our boat driver bailing water out...never a great sign but hey it was cheap!
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 007.jpgedit
fellow adventure seekers
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 030.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 026.jpgedit
Anni was so brave!
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 034.jpgedit
Emily was so close...pretty amazing, eh?
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 040.jpgedit
Evy was not a fan of dolphin chasing..."Why oh why me?"
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 042.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 051.jpgedit
Go Anni!
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 130.jpgedit
much happier on land
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 155.jpgedit
the girls soon had an audience interested in their frolicking
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 157.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 137.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 167.jpgedit
totally her idea
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 159.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 177.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 181.jpgedit
car issues...an ever present problem here
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 196.jpgedit
yep...beautiful....
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 190.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 187.jpgedit
evy laying, dolphin boat ride 194.jpgedit

5 comments:

Doro said...

On pics it looks really great your trip. Love the pic from Evy with both her hands up - "what are you doing with me? Why we have to suffer on this boat??" may be her thoughts. And her peeling experience - maybe the scrubbing will help and more hair will grow soon.

Roxanne said...

doro- you crack me up!! The pics were fab- it was a good trip (minus the crying Evy for 2 hours :) Next time she stays at home- Anni did great though! Thanks for the life vests! I love taking pics- and even got the kunguru in one of the last ones landing on the boat- fun!

Laura S said...

Looks like a blast! I agree with Doro that the picture of Evy on the boat is hysterical! Anni is a super rock star!

Laura S said...

Looks like a blast! I agree with Doro that the picture of Evy on the boat is hysterical! Anni is a super rock star!

Bibi Ronnie said...

What a great adventure! Anni did great. Pour Evy looked seasick. I had the same look on a gambling boat once that I couldn't get off. Kind of payback for making you sick for nine months. Sand in her hair was funny.