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?