Saturday, April 29th and Sunday, April 30th:
Sher is getting restless and bored. I’ve now realized that a relaxing beach vacation is not really his style. I’m happy to spend my time playing Soduku, board games, lounging on a beach swing, reading my book, chatting with the staff, enjoying the spa, etc. But the lack of adventure is getting old for Sher fast. The timing worked out well that we finally committed to staying in the underwater room… and today is the day! I’m also going to let him take over the journal and blog again for a bit to keep him occupied!
We have to leave for the underwater room right after lunch since the tide comes up at 4pm and getting on a boat from the shore can be challenging. It turns out to be a pleasant boat ride to the room and the manager gives us a mini orientation but we are swaying side to side as it is choppy and windy. We are 500m or so from the shore surrounded by the ocean in a free-standing box that is chained down to the ocean floor. There are three levels, the water level has a large lounging table with couches, shower, toilet, a little fridge and some storage area. The top level is for diving into the water and there is a bed for star gazing and enjoying the views of the open ocean and dolphins and whales. The actual room is 4m below water level and there’s small passageway with ladder steps that take you down. Once in the room, there is a 360 degree view of the ocean underwater, it’s like being in a huge natural aquarium. Note- the pictures below are all from Google. We cheated a bit and borrowed pics for now until we go through all our GoPro pics…
After Shikiri goes through explaining everything to us, he takes off and leaves us all alone in the middle of the ocean in this giant floating box that’s moving up and down with the current. The sky is dark and cloudy. Now I am thinking that this is probably not such a good idea since myself and Mariam both have a fear of the wide open ocean waters. My stomach is churning, I am excited yet nervous about the next 24 hours in store for us. I look over at Mariam and her facial expression says it all, we are both out of our comfort zone. Looking down in the choppy water is making us both nauseous. We are still on the water level seating, it has been 5 mins since Shikiri left… and then suddenly Mariam puts on the wetsuit and decides to jump in to this choppy ocean, right away from the top floor! My heart starts pounding. Shoot! That means I am going to have to jump in with her. I am thinking it’s probably not a bad idea since it’ll put me to ease once this scary ocean is conquered. I accept the challenge! We walk to the top floor and almost talk ourselves out of it…. but then 321 and Mariam just goes for it. I follow soon after with the GoPro. It’s a bit for shock to the system but we get over it within seconds in the water. This doesn’t seem so bad after all, we get back up and go again. Feels so much better, the sea sickness and nausea are all gone. OK now we can relax, the big fear is dealt with, now we can enjoy the underwater room properly. We go down into the room and it is full of activity, there’s all different types of species, most fish time I’ve never seen before. I doze in and out of sleep, this is so relaxing. We go back up to the water level and wait at the table for Haji to bring out dinner for us from the boat. We have shrimp, lobster and fish for dinner. Probably a bad idea stuffing my face with seafood while out here. I don’t feel so good with my full stomach on this choppy water. We climb back down to the room. It’s pitch dark down there so I turn the outside light on and all the fish glow with fluorescence. The room is swinging side to side and we hear wave after wave crashing. The view outside the room is very tranquilizing though, these fish swim with such elegance. In no time we find ourselves passed out.
Half way thought the night I wake up in a shock to Mariam calling out my name. I open my eyes and it’s pitch dark, the outside water light is off and we are still rocking side to side to the sound of the waves. I am terrified, expecting water to start pouring down into the room. I turn on the lamp next to the bedside and everything seems to be in place in the room, Mariam looks frightened. I check the switch to the outside light and it’s flicked on. I turn it off and on again, nothing happens. I repeat flicking it on and off and still no luck. I reach for the emergency phone that we were given. All of a sudden there’s a flash that lights up the water. I am thinking maybe we got hit by lightning and that’s why the power is out. I panic and start scrambling through the emergency contacts. Just as I am about to press dial, the lightning that we see outside the window turns solid and water lights up all around us again. The fish are dancing around with such elegance, it immediately calms us down. I observe everything around us and still hear the waves crashing into the room. I figure the outside light is on a timer and I tell Mariam this. We go back to bed, looking out the window and watching the fish smoothly gliding through the water eases us to sleep. I wake up a couple of more times during the night to the occasional big wave crashing in but then fall asleep right away. Bright light outside intensifies and wakes us both up. We look out the window and this time there are whole new different species of fish, these are the colourful type, we can’t believe our eyes at the variation here. We look at the clock and it’s 6:30am. We hang around amazed and mesmerized until we hear Haji arriving with breakfast. We eat our breakfast in the rain and Haji reminds us that 11am is the checkout time. We finish breakfast and it’s 8:30am. The rain somehow makes the water very calm, we spend the remainder of our time jumping off the top again and getting the last bit of fish viewing from the room.
We check out of the room and make it back to shore in one piece again. Finally back on land! Mariam tells me that she wishes we could have stayed longer. I secretly think she’s crazy! It was an experience for sure and I wouldn’t mind returning in dry season, the staff says the water is completely calm normally outside of the rainy season. But for now, one night was enough. We go for our spa appointment right away (scalp massage for me and facial for Mariam). Then we enjoy a big lunch after, didn’t have much of the breakfast in the rain. Mariam’s lunch is jackfish, the fish that we saw swimming in large schools around the room. She says it is the best fish she has had on the trip. We also decide to leave our resort early, the staff make arrangements for us. I can’t do all inclusives, I find it boring and pointless. I only last 4 out of our 7 days. We make plans to go to Mombasa. I am excited to be leaving tomorrow for next adventure.