Lamu, Kenya * November 2012 * Olympus OM-1, 35mm; Canon G10; Holga, medium format
Since its adoption as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001, Lamu town has hosted annual festivities to celebrate its coastal island culture, its Swahili and Islamic culture. During which donkeys race, dhows sail and musicians strum amok. On these days, the townsboys live on the docks—jumping and shoving each other into the water, becoming bobbing buoys in the Indian Ocean. The immensely warm ocean. An ocean that whimsically changes its tides. And its sea colors. The sea of the Lamu archipelago. In which mangroves require manhandling and maneuvering. Coral reefs demand fishing. Sea turtles scurry. And mildly obnoxious jellyfish sting. Mermaids must have spent time here. Somali pirates definitely spend time here. I search for the one-eyed buccaneers, but I only find dhow captains who wrap their waists in Kenyan kikoys. So I spend my Lamu fling on dhows and on sand. Collecting shells on Shela beach. Playing hide-and-seek with crabs. Earning a salty tan.