Community Days Out
Watamu is in a Marine Conservation area so fishing and other water based activities are regulated to protect this delicate environment. There is an area inside the reef known as ‘The Coral Gardens’, which can be visited for a fee and by hiring one of the local glass bottom boats. For visitors to the region it is a “Must Do’ trip. Here you can snorkel and explore the underwater beauty of the corals and the myriad of beautiful fish.
However, for local residents it is financially out of reach and so most have never experienced this marvel on their doorstep.
Since December 2016 we have organised and paid for community trips on the boats for local people, encouraging them to bring their children for a day out.
On the first trip, there was a lot of excitement but on arriving at the boat some were extremely nervous and reticent of even getting on board. However, once on board we all sang and danced to Kenyan songs which seemed to calm nerves and when we arrived at The Coral Gardens the majority ventured into the water with the help of the crew and the flotation aids provided. It was an amazing experience for all of us.
From that first trip word soon got around, and each subsequent trip became more and more popular. In September 2020, on one event, we took out 4 boats, over 120 people of which 90 were children. Every trip continues to be an amazing experience.
While increasing safety for the children by increasing their confidence in the water, the boat trips are also an important educational experience. The children and their parents are given fish cards to help them identify the diversity of fish in this part of the Indian Ocean. They have also learnt about plastic waste and the need to help keep the sea and beaches free from plastics.