Dive Center Managers Sands at Nomad

A sense of adventure, a love of travel and the allure of life under the sea…

It took several countries and a few continents for Tamelyn O’Mahony and Julien Thomas to find their way to Kenya.

Always in the water as a child growing-up in South Africa and a keen diver since 2000, Tamelyn, who holds a BA in Visual Communications, swapped Johannesburg for life onboard super yachts travelling and diving around the world. Over the course of 10 years, Tamelyn explored the sights and underwater kingdoms of Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean and Asia as well as Indian Ocean territories.

After a four-year stint as a diving instructor in Thailand, Tamelyn returned to yachting for one final year before heading to the Bahamas where she met Julien.

Julien, from France, grew-up between Libya and France, next to the ocean. Julien achieved his first diving certification with CMAS in France in 1993 and became a PADI Dive Master in Madagascar, in 2006. In the intervening years, Julien honed his skills in the hospitality industry in the Amazon and Indian Ocean.

Julien’s work as a diving instructor and dive center manager took him to Thailand, the Maldives, Egypt, Panama and, finally, the Bahamas.

Life as diving instructors, videographers and photographers at sea was exchanged for the twin-position of dive and resort managers on a small island in South Lake Malawi. It was while in Malawi that the couple began searching for a base between their homes in France and South Africa.

“We decided we wanted a new challenge and to get back to the salt water,” explains Tamelyn. “So when Mombasa came up, which had been a dream for both of us, we decided to come and see what it is all about.”

Four months in, diving in Kenya, as managers at Diving the Crab, has impressed them both. They share the view that Kenya is an underrated, very special, diving destination. What they see in the waters of Diani on a daily basis, observes Tamelyn, is spectacular. It is a place where macro life meets whale sharks and dolphins, among lively and colourful coral gardens.

Julien’s favourite dive sites are Kinondo, for the impressive amount of fish, Igloo Reef for all the macro and Dzinani because of the white sand surrounding the pinnacles.

Tamelyn enjoys Galu for the sleepy, lazy turtles, drift diving at Mwanamochi, Nomads and Mwanayaza and the wreck for its abundant fish life. Night dives at Chale Marine Park have also been memorable.

As for their favourite sea-faring creatures, both site the octopus and the majestic whale shark, which makes a star turn between November and March each year, as well as stingrays, dolphins, delicate nudibranchs and the different species of moray eels.

With all this and more to offer, Kenya is also a great place to learn diving, says Tamelyn. “We have sites available for all certifications and levels of diving.”

So, divers and would-be divers: what are you waiting for?

Scuba Diving Kenya Scorpionfish

Rare marine life for scuba divers at Chale Marine Park

The Mtumbawe reef dive site at the Chale Marine Park is an underwater oasis, abundant with fish life and offering scuba divers the chance to see rare marine life.

The weedy scorpion fish, or to give it its proper name, the rhinopias frondosa, is one of these rare finds. It is a distinctive looking fish belonging to the scorpaenidae family. It is covered in weed-like appendages with an upturned mouth, tentacles on the nose and skin flaps covering its body. Weedy scorpion fish are an uncommon, colourful sight, usually found on the reef or rubble surrounding corals. They often appear entirely still.

Rather than swimming in the usual fish-like manner, weedy scorpion fish tend to hop or crawl on their pelvic fins before wedging themselves into strategic positions and laying in wait for their prey – usually concentrations of small fish.

Another gem of the waters at Chale is the paddle flap scorpion fish, or the rhinopias eschmeyeri. Although they are also able to swim, they tend to ‘walk’ around using their pectoral fins. Paddle flap scorpion fish are, like their weedy scorpion fish cousins, colourful creatures that blend in with their environment with a preference for laying motionless, ready to ambush their unsuspecting prey. It is unusual for the weedy scorpion fish and the paddle flap scorpion fish to inhabit the same area for months at a time, adding to the uniqueness of a dive at Chale.

The reefs around Diani Beach and Chale are constantly surprising the divers who visit them – you really never know what will be in store until you descend into Kenya’s Indian Ocean.

Scuba Diving Kenya Nudibranch

Nudibranchs – a divers delight and photographers dream

Top of the list for many scuba divers who are keen on underwater photography, especially macro, are beautiful nudibranchs. These stunning critters are part of the sea slug family and noted for their indulgent beauty and intricate display of patterns, shapes and colours. The delicate, flower-like protrusions on their backs are exposed gills (nudibranch means ‘naked gill’).

Ranging in length from just a few millimeters to a few centimeters, they are often hard to spot but the keen-eyes of experienced divers can often seek them out. The nudibranchs’ vibrant colours appear to have evolved from the need to camouflage and defend themselves against predators such as fish. The nudibranchs feed on coral, sponges and sea anemones and their life span, which ranges from as little as one week to as long as one year, depends on the food sources available to them.

These fascinating wonders of nature are hermaphrodites, in possession of both male and female reproductive organs. Nudibranchs cannot, however, fertilise themselves; mating couples may fight one another as if dancing a waltz over who is the male and who is the female. The impregnated nudibranch can produce up to one million eggs that can sometimes be seen on the reef laid in spiral, ribbon-like formations.

There are over 2,000 known species of nudibranch inhabiting all of the world’s oceans. During Kenya’s warm season from December to March, the reef can become awash with these radiant creatures, a wonderful sight to behold.

Next time a slug is spotted on the grass or in the garden, think of it’s beautiful underwater cousins waiting to be spotted at the incredible dive sites in the Diani Beach area of Kenya.

Kenya Scuba Diving Turtles

Protecting Kenya’s sea turtles

The warm, aquamarine waters of Kenya’s Indian Ocean are home to five species of sea turtle, several of which are seen on the regularly by scuba divers on the local dive sites, especially Diani’s Galu Reef. Kenya is a global hotspot for sea turtles and protecting them is high on the agenda for Diving the Crab.

Threats to the global sea turtle poulation include over fishing, hunting, poaching and the encroachment of their nesting grounds in pursuit of prime, beachfront real estate. Both Hawksbill and Green sea turtles are currently classified as endangered as a direct result of these activities.

Diving the Crab works with the Local Ocean Trust (LOT), a private non-profit entity committed to the protection of Kenya’s marine environment. The organisation works to create awareness for the protection and sustainable use of Kenya’s marine resources. Diani Turtle Watch, working under LOT’s umbrella arm, focuses its efforts on the protection of turtles through community education, the preservation of turtle nests and by helping hatchlings in their perilous journey to the shoreline.

Diving the Crab’s land base, The Sands at Nomad, has its own turtle hatchery to which the first sea turtle nest of 2018, containing 130 eggs, was trans-located in late January. The female turtle can lay between 100 to 200 eggs at a time and these eggs take approximately 60 days to hatch. By translocating and protecting the nest these eggs have a greater chance of hatching and of the little hatchling turtles reaching the ocean safely.

Divers and snorkellers have the priviledged opportunity to witness these fascinating creatures in their natural environment, on the reefs around the Diani Beach area.

Kenya Scuba Diving

Night diving at Chale Island – mysterious and beautiful

Diving the Crab’s night dives around the reef and waters of Chale Island unveil the mysterious, haunting spectacle of Kenya’s Indian Ocean in all its hidden beauty. The fall of darkness can render the familiar startlingly altered and unfamiliar. Scuba divers who’ve explored our magical underwater world past the twilight hour know this to be true of the ocean…

Under the calm cover of darkness, nocturnal creatures from lobster and shrimp to flat worms and eels begin to emerge while colourful coral polpys open to feed, drawing nutrients from the passing currents.

Senses are heightened at night. You see only what the beam of your torchlight allows you to see. This light is being filtered at a mere few feet, rather than from around 30 feet up on the surface of the ocean, casting the reef into technicolour and bringing a luminous intensity to the slow-moving scenes unfolding before you.

One of the unique appeals of scuba diving at night is the phosphorescent appearance of bioluminescent plankton, the fireflies of the sea – tiny microorganisms that glow in the dark like a thousand stars as divers move through the water.
Bring a spirit of adventure and enter the serene night time world of scuba diving at Chale Island for unforgettable underwater adventures.

Scuba Diving Kenya Octopus

Ollie Octopus entertains scuba divers at Diani Beach

Scuba divers at Kenya’s top dive destination, Diani Beach, have more than just the incredible reefs to keep them entertained – they have Ollie the Octopus! With his large, bulging eyes, long tentacles and slinky, gliding ways, Ollie the Octopus is the emerging superstar of Diani’s rich marine life. Ollie was spotted on a recent dive where he revealed himself to be remarkably tame and curious. Displaying a penchant for entertaining, Ollie went in for his close-up and was not shy to interact with the scuba divers.

The octopus is one of the ocean’s most complex and intelligent creatures, able to modify its appearance and behaviour based on its environment and perceived threats. Despite being colourblind, octopuses like Ollie have perfected the art of camouflage. They are solitary creatures and keen mimics. This enables them to model a variety of patterns and colours and to blend in with their surroundings and avoid detection. Similarly, octopuses can alter the texture of their skin. This startling ability often lends them a translucent appearance.

And that’s not all. Octopuses, both male and female, are adept multi-taskers. An octopus’s neurons are in its arms, rather than its brain, which allows it to process information through its tentacles and achieve the impressive feat of simultaneously performing an array of tasks using eight different appendages.

Yet, for all its many talents, the octopus is curtailed by a limited lifespan of only three to five years and is not the dominant ocean force it might have been.

Join the Diving the Crab team for a dive into the octopus’ world for the chance of a close encounter with the likes of Ollie as well as a whole host of other fascinating marine creatures that make the dive sites around Diani Beach their home.

Scuba diving Kenya