News from Kenya’s South Coast

Courtesy of Luciana Basile, South Coast Residents Association, here comes the latest of their newsletters with much to ponder about, especially the story that the dreaded Chinese dredger was seen off the Diani beaches again last month!Read on to get all the news from Diani, Ukunda and beyond.

SOUTH COAST RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION

This issue is sponsored by SCRA and Base Titanium

If you wish to sponsor a Newsletter please contact: chair

A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE CHAIR:

Diani seems to have been re-discovered! We now see many Kenyans both from Nairobi and up-country coming here for a holiday, even for a long weekend. June and July have been busy months with Diani Rules and other sports events, a dog show and several weddings taking place in various establishments. To all those newlywed couples, we wish them a lot of joy and happiness for their future.

At a restaurant we saw a group of tourists from Poland enjoying the excellent display by acrobats on the beach, cheering them on and even joining them, while others took camel rides. It was good to see our beaches coming alive again!

UNBELIEVBLE! THE SAND DREDGER, AGAIN!

Mid July we were alerted that the sand dredger, accompanied by a Cargo ship (or aggregate carrier) had left the Port and heading South. The dredger came very close to Maweni Beach (near Waa/Tiwi) and stayed there all day. What they were doing we still don’t know, but what we do know is that they are brazen and that such an action can put in jeopardy all working relationships and dialogues which we are currently having with the Managing Director of Kenya Railways. This issue is still in the High Court and no dredging should take place until such time when we receive a Court ruling.

These photos were taken from the beach using a simple camera. That is how close it was!

This photo was taken from the air. Again, see how close to the beach!

Thanks again for excellent networking amongst our members – John Lockhart-Muir, Paul Bromfield, Elias Kimaru, Marc Hawley and Darrel. I wish I could attach here the video clip of the dredger movement – quite amusing!!!!

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UPDATE :The Kwale Rescue, as you are all aware, is a joint venture between the Kwale County Government, SCRA and Kwale Red Cross. Diver rescue training has started with the training being done by David Aisthorpe who has great experience having done this in Australia. Provision of more equipment is underway and signages to be placed along our beaches, together with the red and green flags are being prepared. It is hoped, that in the future, all hotels will have trained life guards for their swimming pools. Beach operators who rent inner tubes need to be educated on the importance of not renting these inner tubes at high tide or strong wind and waves, as some children had to be rescued as the waves were taking them out at sea.

The beginning of July started very badly and sadly. Three lads entered the Ocean at about 6.15 p.m. near the Mosque and Kongo (Tiwi) River in spite of our beach guards warning not to go in due to the high tide, strong winds and huge waves. An alert was immediately sent out but it was getting dark. Two lads were saved but sadly the third one drowned. Again, same day, same area, a fisherman was reported missing. His body was found the next day miles away on another beach. Four fishermen from Maepe who were across the reef had their sail torn and boat capsized by the strong winds. Although our rescue boat went out, these lads managed to swim back ashore. We met up with them at Maepe; they were frozen stiff, exhausted and in shock. We immediately gave them hot tea and chapati and then the Red Cross took over to take care of them.

A

very special THANK YOU goes to DENIS MOSER who is always the first one to go out in his boat and help people, and to HAMISI MWANDARO our Sub County Administrator,, who, as soon as there is an alert rushes to the scene giving instructions and assisting.

Photo 1: Teaching life saving

Photo 2: Beach Training

Photo 3: David explaining a

point

Photo 4: The four fishermen whose boat capsized at sea.

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ASSISTING FAMILIES WHO LOST EVERYTHNG TO FIRE:

COLOBUS CONSERVATION is not all about monkey and wildlife but also working with and caring for the local communities.

As you are all aware on the 28th June 2016, Diani residents witnessed a horrific fire that started at Neptune Hotel and spread quickly across and also down the road. On the night of the fire Diani residents rallied around and helped in any way they could. Many people had to leave their homes uncertain to what they would be returning to. The day after it came to light that 15 families lost their homes and businesses. To help, Colobus Conservation in conjunction with SCRA began a collection of clothes, mosquito nets, buckets, shoes and whatever people could spare to be distributed among the families who had lost everything. Donations came flying in, truly showing us the kindness of the residents in Diani. The Colobus office became a maze of clothing, shoes, buckets drawers and even toys. We quickly began sorting through making sure that everyone received a fair share of the items donated.

On Monday 11th July, Team Colobus along with Mr Hamisi Mwandaro of Kwale County Government went out to distribute the donated items. Despite the circumstances it was an incredibly enjoyable day; the Colobus team got to meet many residents in the area, showing that we are not only here for the monkeys, wanting to show that as an organisation, we really to care for the whole of the Diani community. We want to say a huge thank you to all the kind people that donated, your donations really did make a huge difference!

DIANI TURTLE WATCH – update

Thanks to our Diani Turtle Watch monitors who now number 10 between Waa/Tiwi up to Chale Island plus 2 more in Funzi Island, much awareness has been created amongst residents, beach operators and fishermen. So far this year we have seen the greatest number of turtles coming up to lay eggs (61 nests) and so far 1,411 hatchlings have made it back to the Ocean. Sadly though, due to sea walls and human/wildlife conflict the majority of these nests have had to be relocated to safe areas.

Early August we welcomed the Watamu Turtle Watch team headed by Casper Van der Geer their Manager, and Denis and Fikiri. While Denis and Fikiri met up with all our monitors to do refresher courses, Casper and Luciana did some marketing. The highlight of the week was a visit to MAJI BOUTIQUE HOTEL one of the main turtle supporters and host to our hatchling nursery, when Mrs Caterina Banin handed over a cheque to Casper for turtle conservation. MAJI BOUTIQUE HOTEL recognizes the importance of the link between tourism and conservation. We are extremely grateful to MAJI for their continued support of our work, and say a huge ASANTE SANA!

If you come across any turtle activity on the beach please do inform us immediately and call Juma at 0734413938 or Luciana on 0720440360

Did you know that :

1. They think jellyfish are delicious. Leatherbacks and hawkbill turtles feed on jellyfish and keep their populations in check. Plastic looks like jellyfish when it’s floating in the water and that’s why so many turtles die from ingesting plastic — they were going for a tasty snack.

2. Theyre the oceans lawnmowers. Green sea turtles have a more plant-based diet and eat seagrass. By keeping seagrass short, they prevent it from getting tall and harming other marine creatures.

3. They cannot retract into their shell like other turtles. Since they don’t have to protect themselves from predators for most of their life on water,sea turtles cannot retract their flippers and head into their shells. Their anatomy makes them more agile when under the sea but highly vulnerable when nesting and hatching.

4. Temperature dictates the sex of baby turtles. Warmer nests lead to more females and cooler ones lead to more males — which is why climate change could drastically affect their populations by creating too many females and too few males to match them for reproduction.

5. Theyve been around for a very, very long time. An estimated 110 million years is how long sea turtles have existed on Earth, which means they once shared the planet with T-Rex and other dinosaurs.

6. They can hold their breath for five hours underwater. To accomplish this mighty feat they slow their heart rate to up to nine minutes in between heart beats in order to conserve oxygen.

7. They live to about 100 years. And that’s also roughly the amount of eggs they lay every time they nest.

8. Dogs are not a sea turtles best friend. Even though they’re marine animals, some of their natural predators include dogs who dig up their eggs buried in the sand.

9. They have an excellent sense of direction. Sea turtles can detect the Earth’s magnetic field and they use it as a compass.

KWAHERI KEITH & ANDREA

It was an emotional pizza lunch with all the staff and volunteers at the Colobus Conservation cottage as we bade farewell to Keith. Luciana, on behalf of all the Directors, thanked both Keith and Andrea for all their hard work and for putting the face of Colobus on the map in our area. After 6 years with us Andrea had already left to return to England to finish her PhD – being separated was too much for this great couple, so Keith has now joined her. We will miss them both but with Andrea’s great love for the Colobus monkeys, we are sure to see them back, even if it’s for a visit, in the not too distant future.

Kelly (CC’s Conservation Manager), Keith, Nancy (Administration) and Luciana

Andrea, Keith and of course Suzie. And to the left a new born Colobus, Andrea’s specialty in raising these special and precious babies.

SEA WALLS:

We daily see so many sea walls being erected along our coastlines, many of which are cement walls which are totally useless as not only do they change the face of our coastline but eventually break up and cover our beaches with cement and stones. Some of the most horrific ones we have recently seen are establishments trying to protect their sea frontage with bags filled with sand. These bags tend to break, strewing bits and pieces along the beaches and into the Ocean (very detrimental to turtles and various forms of sea life).

We have seen a much better version using two rows of casuarinas poles and stuffing in between them sea weed, rocks and sand. This allows the waves to seep through the casuarina poles and lose momentum amongst the sea weed. A much neater, cleaner and environmentally friendly system!

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OTHER SAD GOODBYES in our County has seen the transfer of two K.W.S. Senior Wardens both of whom have collaborated in all conservation work in our area. While we wish them all the best in their new postings, they will be sadly missed by all of us. The first Senior Warden to be transferred is JOHN WAMBUA who was based in Shimoni and is now Senior Warden in Tsavo East.

Our Senior Warden in Kwale, MOHAMMED KHERI has been transferred to the Mombasa Office as Senior Warden for the Coastal area. At least he is not too far from us!!!

John Wambua from Shimoni now Senior Warden in Tsavo East

Mohamed Kheri being welcomed at Colobus Conservation by Nancy the Administrator

Mohamed Kheri joined Tony during education day at Colobus Conservation. Mohamed talked to the students on the importance of conservation

ALBINISM is caused by a lack of the pigment melanin, which gives hair, skin and eyes their colour. In many parts of Africa people with albinism are misunderstood, disadvantaged, and even attacked and killed. Their body parts are sold to witchdoctors for use in charms and magical potions believed to bring wealth and good luck. It must be stressed that people with albinism are NORMAL people. Albinism also occurs in the animal kingdom:

Albino : Sykes, baboon, giraffe and dik-dik – these are just a few of the many to be seen around the world!

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SAY NO TO THE CROWS!

The following is an interesting extract from Vipingo Ridge Newsletter:

“Residents might recently have sensed an eerie quiet on the Ridge, inter-spaced with the sweet sound of happy, singing birds.

No harsh nasal crow cawing, almost anywhere!

Our labours are finally showing fruit; by undertaking an aggressive crow nest destroying campaign we have virtually decimated the Ridge crow population.

Of course there will always be crows, those whose nests were too well hidden, or a flock merely flying-over and looking for opportunistic feeding, but we have to maintain the pressure and all Residents are asked to do their bit, by:

***Making sure wet garbage left out for collection, is properly packed in strong bags (bags dumped in a wheelie-bin, might be the answer).

***Not leaving half-empty dog food bowls out for any length of time. If dogs are fed during the day, please collect bowls as soon as they have finished eating. Ideally, dogs should be fed on a kitchen veranda or in the courtyard.

*** Crows flying low, from tree to tree in a sort of circular fashion is a good indication there are nests in the vicinity. Similarly a "low chuckling" sound is a brooding noise, which means nests will soon be built.”

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DIANI RULES – A CHARITY SPORTS EVENT IN SUPPORT OF KWALE EYE CENTRE:

As part of SCRA’s support for charity work, SCRA entered a team in Diani Rules together with Colobus Conservation. This was from 3rd to 5th June 2016.

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8TH EDITION OF THE DIANI BEACH TOUCH RUGBY TOURNMENT HELD AT FORTY THIEVES BEACH BAR 8-10TH JULY 2016

It was an exciting weekend of rugby for everyone and especially the South Coast Pirates 2 who won the tournament. South Coast Pirates fans and stakeholders were treated to an action packed final day performance at the Diani Touch Rugby Tournament when two of the teams, South Coast Pirates I & II met in the cup final of the competition on a stormy Sunday afternoon. The other finals saw Les Gaulois 1 winning the Plate, Les Gaulois 2 the Shield and COMRAS the Bowl. The Junior’s tournament was won by the team Lady Jackals from Nanyuki playing a young Likoni Community One team final score 3-1. A total of KES 664,000 was raised which will go towards the local rugby clubs The South Coast Pirates and the Junior Rugby Association of Kwale.

The winners 2016

Lady Jackals winners

SEEN ON DIANI BEACH –

Motorized vehicles are NOT allowed on our beaches. Only Police and Ambulance are permitted.

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