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Have a Whale of a Time in Kenya

Up until recently, most travelers, and even some locals, had no inkling of the aquatic mammals that occupy or pass through Kenya’s waters. Known as a safari destination, with the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara between July and September considered its pinnacle, the African nation’s expansive marine life was something only fishermen knew the true extent of. But largely thanks to the efforts of a former lawyer from London, the country now has a burgeoning marine tourism industry, with tourists seeking out the coastal town of Watamu, located 140 kilometers north of Mombasa, for its humpback whales. The tide began to turn around 10 years ago, when Jane Spilsbury, who had been living in Watamu with her marine biologist husband for several years, began hearing tales from local fishermen of dolphin and whales sightings. Determined to prove their existence, the pair spent six months boarding local fishing boats armed with just a few scraps of paper and a cheap camera in order to document and photograph any visible evidence.