Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Expedition 084 is off and running..

…and swimming and hiking and adventuring out into the wilds and wonders of Kenya! We arrived on base on Wasini Island on Friday, October 3rd – eight EM’s coming from the UK, Italy, the US and Australia as well as three interns and four staff members adding Barcelona and Portugal into the mix, finally sprinkled with our boat captain and askaris from Kenya. While training week was intense with lots of information being crammed into our heads, we were rewarded with yummy food, good company and gorgeous sunsets over the ocean and the warm starry skies every night.

But training wasn´t all lectures – on our first day of Marine we saw Flying Fish, African Sea Eagles, Sea Turtles and a Moray Eel as well as loads of beautiful tropical fish. Standing at the front of the boat with new friends as you cruise through equatorial waters in the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park looking for dolphins you realise how amazing and rare this experience is. And there would be more to come: in the following days we would see big pods of Bottlenose Dolphins and even some Humpback Whales!!

During our Forest training we were again spoiled on our very first outing. As soon as we left the cottage in Shimoni and entered the forest the excitement began with a sighting of a Yellow Baboon! We later found a troop of Colobus whom we were able to spend an amazing hour studying their behaviours and activities. And honestly…some of the juveniles seemed as curious about us as we were about them! With mornings starting at 6:30am you often find yourself hungry for “second breakfast” by 10:30am – the best compliment I can give the Colobus is that they made me forget my hunger for the entire hour that we watched them.Living in Mkwiro Village is it´s own special treat. The children don´t seem to ever tire of running after us with smiles and “Jambo”s every time we appear. Teaching in the classrooms gives us a unique opportunity to get to know the community better – it´s a welcoming different from any that a tourist receives. The kids have already started learning some of our names and I am blown away by how eager they are to learn about English and us! (At the same time helping us to improve our Kiswahili…)

Training week ended with a group trip to the beach town of Diani for some well earned relaxation. The food, the music, the beach, the dancing and everything was a fabulous way for the EM´s, Interns and Staff to celebrate the end of the training and the beginning of the real adventure!...