Vasco da Gama, Mike, and Trish

Malindi Travel Blog

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Vasco da Gama's landing site

John had given us the phone number of Trish, an old English friend of his living nearby. Scott and I gave her a call and she told us to go to the National Monument at Gedi and find Mike, a friend of hers. Before heading out there we decided to do some exploring and hiked to the shoreline near Malindi. Perched high on a bed of black coral stood a white stone monument engraved with the Portuguese Coat of Arms and bearing the name Vasco da Gama, dated 1499. We were awed; remembering him from our fifth-grade studies of the great explorers. To set foot where Vasco da Gama had come ashore at that still-remote site was incredible and made it easy to imagine being one of his crew.


We met Mike at the Gedi Ruins which were the remains of a town built of coral by Arabs in the 1200's. Mike was from Arizona, doing research on bushbabies: the Lesser Galago, which was about the size of a small kitten, and the Thick-tailed Galago, the size of a rabbit. Both were nocturnal. He had a room for us in his thatched-roof house and we sighed relief at not having to pitch our tents in the potentially snake-infested yard. (Mark Easterbrook, an authority on coastal snakes, had previously captured a thousand green mambas in two months in the Gedi area.) Mike drove us to Watamu Beach and introduced us to Trish. She was a kind, elderly English woman who was born in India and raised in Kenya. She served afternoon tea with miniature pancakes and told captivating stories of her fascinating life.


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Vasco da Gamas landing site
Vasco da Gama's landing site
photo by: rotorhead85