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When Ernest Hemingway discovered Watamu

Two days for marlin fishing and a bath in blue lagoon

24-08-2017 di Antonio Altieri

The great American writer Ernest Hemingway was almost 35 years old, when he saw Kenya for the first time.
He, a great vivour and passionate of strong emotions, a hunter of women and animals, had long been fond of deep-sea fishing.
From the Florida villa, with the Pilar boat, purchased with the proceeds of the first novels published at home, he decided to carry out an expedition in the heart of Africa where he could match the passion for marlin and shark fishing to big hunting.
This time, however, Pauline's wife decided to accompany him, so much was the curiosity for a land imaginative and so mythical and distant.
Landing in Nairobi in the winter of 1933, the couple first stopped for a safari at the Tahita Hills and in the current Tsavo West (where he will take the cue for his story along the "Green Hills of Africa"). The idea was to go down to Mombasa, but a strong disorder forced the writer to return to Nairobi to cure himself. Once resettled, Hemingway was persuaded to return to Kilimanjaro in an epic journey that he described in the book titled "Kilimanjaro's Snow."
But we come to the coastal bay: after the safari in the presence of the highest mountain in Africa (by the way, it is said that he was introducing the term "safari" into English terminology and then world to mean an African excursion) In Mombasa and here some Englishmen met at Yachting Club.
From the island town he took a boat for a first shark fishing session, but he was not satisfied.
One of the hiking organizers, Olivier Rees, persuaded him to head north to Malindi.
Hemingway stayed at the Blue Marlin Hotel and organized two days of deep-sea fishing.
From the port of Malindi, coming out of the coral reef, Hemingway finally met the marlin but above all, towards the end of the day, discovered the unspoilt wonder of the blue lagoon of Watamu and having a swim. Crystalline water, lush vegetation, baobab on the islets a few tens of meters from the shore.
A paradise that remained in his heart and which he never managed to write, unlike what he did with the savannah and his evil in Africa.
How did he say later: "I could not convince myself that we had come to such a wonderful country, a country from which we had to come out of a dream, happy to have dreamed."

TAGS: Hemingway WatamuHemingway Kenya

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