a $7 starfish adventure

a few months ago, i was in kenya. we had a 10 year peace corps reunion. it was the first time that we had all been together since we left zambia and was an amazing get-together. over the american thanksgiving weekend, tim found us an airbnb on the beach in mombassa. so off we went!

while we were chilling by our pool (yea, it was an AWWEEESOME airbnb), eating lunch a guy came around to offer us a tour of starfish and snorkeling. he didn’t really give an exciting introduction, and i wasn’t super into it at first. but everyone else was going to go, so i would too! we set everything up so that we would go the next morning at 10am.

the next morning comes around, and we are all ready to go on our adventure. but i’ve already hit a snag. i don’t own shoes. and we needed shoes because there are sea urchins and if you step on them? well, you are in trouble. so our tour guide was going to village-style twine tie my flip flops to my feet. which i was ok with! but then tim offered up his converse so i could wear those instead. (which probably was the much safer option because there were TONS of sea urchins everywhere!)

off we go to see the star fish!

we all had the impression that we were on a leisurely walk to see some starfish in nature. that was half true. we were on a walk. and we would see some starfish, but we would also be taking a MILLION photos along the way.

we get out to where the starfish are and it is really cool! so many colors and different versions. but then we were given a task. we need to collect 50 starfish. ummm, okay?

so after me, kim and kapree picked up a few, we were done (as you can see in the above photo!). we didn’t come on a tour to be given tasks to do. so we just sat down and watched the starfish flip themselves over (which is super interesting and cool!). tim and our tour guide were diligently collecting starfish still. and then out of nowhere, some random fisherman also dumped a bunch of starfish right in my lap. clearly, this is a regular occurrence.

why were we collecting starfish? for a photoshoot. of which none us asked for. but our tour guide was well-prepared with lots of photoshoot options.

eating starfish salad since 2018…

after about the 60th photo, tim said we had enough and wanted to go snorkeling. now at this point, i have lost the desire to go snorkeling. the tide had gone out, so we were in anywhere from 2 inches to waist high water. that’s it. that and sea urchins around? sounds like a disaster waiting to happen to me. plus it didn’t appear that there was anything super interesting available to see. we were already playing with starfish.

everyone else geared up for the snorkeling portion of the tour, and i stayed with the bags. tim and kapree were swimming and snorkeling around. and then kim, 3 feet away from them, stood up. the water was knee high.

i burst out laughing. this was just too much!

at this point, kapree was a bit annoyed because the snorkeling wasn’t great. not even good. in kenya’s defense, she had last snorkeled in the great barrier reef (which no where else in the world can really compare). we all just wanted to get back and start drinking. but then something amazing happened.

our tour guide jumped into the very shallow water and started kicking and flailing his arms and legs around. the splashing was comically large for such shallow water. it lasted for about 10 seconds. and we all stopped what we were doing to watch him.

he then stood up and said, ‘i won many awards for freestyle swimming in school.’

freestyle swimming indeed.

we finally made it back and went to the bar next to our airbnb. we thought we had been out for half of the day. it had only been 2 hours since we left and was nothing like we had imagined. but then again…

we only paid $7.

join me on my himalaya hiking adventure!

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