Compared to last week everything has gone well. On Monday I went out on patrol with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in the morning (after sitting on the beach waiting an hour for them to come!), and Sgt. Tinga mentioned that the warden was in his office. Immediately after the patrol I went over to his office to speak to him.
Roni had told me that when you speak to an African park manager imagine you are entering his kingdom. Show absolute reverence to his position and only talk of what you can do for him and not the other way around. His desk and outfit certainly fitted this model as does the whole KWS pseudo-military structure. People have titles, like Sergeant Tinga and Corporal Saidi, and khaki uniforms with boots laced up to the shins. As I sat down at this Warden's desk I was quite nervous.
I explained about my study for the coral gardens looking at tourist behaviour and he was excited about that. He was also interested in what baseline data I could bring back for him, so right there and then he approved my access to the park! One interesting stipulation was I had to work with a KWS intern called Anthony, whenever I was doing work.
He studied tourism at Moi University up in Eldoret and said he really wanted to understand more about marine parks. Based on this first week I think he could be a useful partner, he quickly understood the tourist study and added some useful input while we gathered data. He even volunteered to make an excel spreadsheet for data, showing a rare skill for most Kenyans at being confident with a computer. He also has a rare thirst for travel and adventure, telling me storied of camping on the side of Mount Kenya with no water or driving from here to the Suez canal in Egypt! He does however share his Kenyan countrymen's lack of confidence in the water and while better than many, he gets tired much earlier than I'd like. I'm sure he'll get better and better though.
So this week I have been snorkelling around taking pictures of colourful fish and riding around on the patrol boat in the sunshine. Its a rather lovely existence really. On Tuesday I went back to the forest with David Ngala to catch up with his work there and saw an elephant, which was a great treat too. Here's a few of the best photos from the week.
|Ngala doing his thing in the forest|
|Releasing a turtle caught by local fisherman and rescued by a local turtle charity|
|Playing in the sea during a storm|
|Peppered Moray I spotted on Friday|