Tuesday, September 22, 2015

JAWS 9 1/2: Baringo Lake Expereince

"I am going to measure how deep the water is!" Daniel said as he jumped in after the long stick he had just thrown into the murky Baringo Lake water. Almost as soon as he hit the water panic began to set in. He began to scream, swimming as fast he could back to the rocks he had just jumped from. Amy and Claudia who were still in the small inflatable dingy also began to yell. Daniel crawled out of the water at my feet.

Of course I had not seen what went down. As soon as Daniel climbed out of the water the story began to unfold. A few meters away Daniel and those on the boat had spotted a "mama crocodile". Meaning a large proper crocodile. As soon as Daniel hit the water the crocodile began to swim his way. That's when Daniel made a bee-line for the shore. This story was just one of the many experiences that made the Lake Baringo trip a high adrenaline weekend adventure.

Photo Credit: Some guy with Amy's Camera
Daniel, Benjamin, Claudia, Amy, Kelsey and I arrived at the Robert's Campsite at the edge of Lake Baringo well after we planned to get in. If anything could have foreshadowed our weekend of adventure it was our truck breaking down only an hour into the 3 hour long drive to Baringo. Determined to get to Baringo we drove slow and stopped often to pour more water into the overheated engine. Finally after thousands of stops we finally made it to the lake.

We immediately set up the tents and blew up the small inflatable boat to head off into the murky waters of the expansive lake. To set off into the lake you must first traverse through dead trees sticking out from the lake making sure to avoid the hippos that sleep in those waters. Form my other blog posts you probably already know that hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa,

Photo Credit: Amy
We sped out into the lake towards an island which Daniel said had perfect rocks to jump from. On the way we bought fresh fish from a fisherman we found floating in the middle of the lake. Of course as soon as we reached this small island we encountered the crocodile. Shaken-up we decided not to jump from the rocks but rather use Daniels influential potatoes buy our way into the island campsite pool.

Photo credit: Daniel
We enjoyed drinks and darts by the beautiful pool perched up on the top of the island camp and swam in the clear pool free of crocodiles. We discovered a small floating dock close to the island which we decided was free of crocodiles due to its distance from the shore. Of course crocodiles swim near the shore not in the open lake. We took the opportunity to practice our diving and flipping skills off the small wooden platform.

We headed back to Roberts Campsite to cook the fresh fish (now sitting in a cooler for hours in the sun) and the potatoes that Daniel brought on an open fire. As we ate we began to hear the sounds of the hippos climbing up onto shore for their nighttime feast. (they eat grass of course not humans) They were so close, we could see them as we pointed our flashlights towards the shore.

After a filling meal we were ready to sleep. As I slept on the small mat in the tent I listened to the noises outside my tent. I was almost sure that if I opened the tent door that I would see a hippo staring back at me... so I did not open the door. In the morning stranger noises woke us up from our slumber. As we opened the tent door many small monkeys were fighting over small scraps of food on the ground.

We ate breakfast of eggs and toast and jumped back on the raft to head out again into the water. We headed for the small wooden dock floating in the lake since it seemed like a safe place to swim. One of our friends Benjamin headed back to shore to pick up a friend, Alexander, and bring him to the floating platform. When he got back he told us a story about how on the way he carefully navigated the dead trees looking out for hippos as he went. All of a sudden only meters from the shore he felt a thud on the bottom of his raft. He sped hastily away, not sure what he hit but fearing that it could be a notorious hippo. As he fled the scene he looked back to see the head of a hippo emerge only two meters from the boat. Of course he was lucky and sped from the scene unscathed.

Photo Credit; Claudia
We headed back to shore after a long afternoon on the floating platform. As we traversed the open water of the lake we saw something bobbing on the water. We inspected longer we recognized it as a crocodiles head. It was swimming right in the middle of the lake. We all looked at each other shocked that our theory of crocodiles not liking open water was disproved.

We had a quick lunch and piled back into the broken truck to head home. Alex who had come Sunday brought his truck to help tow the other overheating vehicle back to Daniels house. Of course on the way back home a police officer flagged us down. He asked us if we were a "break-down", we said yes we broke down then he asked "Where is our break-down" we were not sure what he meant. Where did we break down? What part of the car is broken? We were so confused. He noticed that we were confused with our questions. He went to talk to Daniel in the "broken car" who explained the situation. The police officer let us go without a bribe and we continued driving.

Photo credit: Claudia
We later found out that "break-down" is the name of a vehicle which tows cars and you need a special "break-down" licence to tow a car. After our eventful weekend at Baringo we were happy to be home safe and sound. I am definitely excited to visit Baringo again soon.

Make sure to visit Claudia's blog to see more of her amazing photo's: claudia-leung.weebly.com

1 comment:

  1. WOW! What a trip. You are definitely a risk taker, but oh, what you saw and experienced. You seem to have a great group of friends in Kenya. Were most of these students from U of Colorado? Love and hugs, Aunt Judi