05:01.81S 39:41.31E

Andrew Smyth
Mon 1 Sep 2008 15:00

Mombasa: After Pemba Island we went back across to the mainland and spent a few days anchored off the Tanga Yacht Club, which was very welcoming and which had a fine, newly-built clubhouse overlooking the mangrove-lined bay. Tanga’s prosperity was founded on sisal and the vast sisal plantations exported their crop from here. Man-made fibres have reduced this trade to a tiny fraction of what it once was, although the recent increases in the price of oil, has given it a small boost.

We entered Kenya at Shimoni, on the southern border with Tanzania, and when visiting Wasini Island, half a mile off the coast, we were persuaded by some of the local women to teach them how to use their computer. This was complicated by the absence of any electricity and we eventually had to take them and their computer to Calliope. The sight of half a dozen women wearing colourful kangas and black headscarves, bouncing out to our boat in the dinghy, while clinging to bits of computer equipment, was unforgettable.

Having been warned off going directly in Mombasa, we are now anchored in a creek a few miles to the north. It’s narrow, but very deep, and the green banks hide some opulent villas, many with private pontoons and smart yachts. It’s very different from anywhere we’ve been.