The beautiful Kenyan Coastal Reef – sadly disappearing!
KWS – Kenyan Wildlife Services has set up laws along the Kenyan coast that shells, starfish – actually all marine life are strictly not to be removed from the coral reefs and gardens…. Gardens… a word of the past!
Gone are the days when one would fill their lungs with the salty warm tropical air and attempt to dive a few meters to get close to the colourful shawls of fish rushing from one coral garden to the next using the ocean currents to maneuver whilst the sun’s rays glimmer off their metallic bodies and shiny scales.
I recall snorkeling, or perhaps better explained, lying motionless in the ocean, face down and geared with a simply mask and snorkel. The only movements was of my head and eyes darting from one spectacular display of colours to the next, not needing to search much to enjoy a spectrum of tropical warm saltwater marine life.
Last December and this January – I felt embarrassed after explaining to my son and daughter what beauty the Kenyan coastal gardens had to offer.
Why embarrassed? – After various attempts of taking the kids out for some snorkeling, I felt that I had fooled them as it seemed my stories were lies.
Could it be that the tsunami helped devastate the gardens and disappearance of the numerous corals and fish? Perhaps again an expert can expand on this question.
I would be relieved if that was the answer. At least I can put it down to natural disasters hoping that nature would soon bounce back and show its true phenomenal colours.
Sadly some areas and coral gardens have been turned into semi deserts and at times a complete bland grey and dull green colour with little marine life.
Some blame it on the star fish!! Personally I blame it on the absolutely naïve, disrespectful stupidity that some locals but most of all tourists do.
I saw tourists and “fishermen” wearing their rubber shoes going off onto the reefs during low tide and removing any shells they could find. Do the hotels not see this and explain to their gets the ethics of the ocean? Do the hotels not understand that part of this ecosystem is what brings people to such wonderful countries!
Does KWS close their eyes to the beach boys selling cowrie shells amongst others on the beach – spread on native rugs?
KWS have rangers walking the beaches; – why do my eyes see things their trained paid eyes do not? Yet when guests go out to sea they are ready pounce and take entrance fee for the marine parks!
Why do street stands and shops in Mombasa sell numerous types of sea shells?
Again I have been personally disappointed with the lack of education or sense that is being used by the educated tourists and some locals who for money are willing to damage their own land!
Lucky there is still a lot to be seen when scuba diving as over the reef a boat is needed and a good healthy pair of lungs to get past 5 to 6 meters if free diving.
I say – come back Jaws but is a smaller version to scare away those ignorant reef wreckers!!!
Sorry about such negative reports but when you are still young and have seen what has happened to our childhood play ground in only 20 years (when I left the coast for the 1st time to study abroad) – what will happen in the next 20 years… it is very worrying and sad!
Co-founder of bushdrums.com