An hour and a half drive south along the coast road, brings you to Kilifi Creek, a serene river mouth and popular mooring spot for the more affluent of Kenyan’s populace.
The boat, a 40 foot cabin cruiser, skippered by its retired owner Keith Mousley, was a perfect diving platform but unfortunately for divers, mainly for personal use not liveaboard charters….maybe we could persuade him…. On the way we were regaled by stories of 30-meter visibility and a Whaleshark encounter from a couple who had dived the spot the previous year. Damn, that got us excited but definitely spoilt our chance of seeing a Whaleshark that day! Never mind, the caves and blowholes sounded very inviting.
The Vuma Caves and Blowholes
There’s only one cave entrance that tapers to a narrow tunnel which branches off in a few places. The main tunnel leads round a blind bend where the light is cut out both sides to a vertical sink hole in the reef. If you ascend vertically, you will come out back on the top reef at 5 meters. Judge the tide well or you could easily be spat out the top by surge pushing through the cave. The Blowholes, presumably caused by a constant pummeling from the seas over thousands of years, are dotted along the rock wall which descends to 18metres and runs parallel and quite close to the shoreline.
The Dive Plan
We were to drop in, about 20 meters out from the cliffs, onto the top reef which started at 5/6 meters, swim over the edge and descend to 18metres to find the entrance to the cave. Once found, Steve would guide 3 of us through and out while the other group swam up and down the outside wall. Then we’d swap torches and the others would go for a swim.
Diving Vuma Caves
The entrance to the cave was a ‘jaw-dropper’ of an entrance not for spectacular cathedral like structure at all, but purely for the marine life that it houses. Moving around by torchlight, the beam is attracted immediately to bright flashes of red and then yellow. The big-eyed soldier fish sit in large schools gleaming red in the dark corners of the rock while the entrance is filled with yellow striped snapper. Large Potato Bass sat sulking in the dim recesses. Unfortunately, there were many particles in the water on our dive so the photographs did not depict the cave’s real splendor and color. C’est la vie….again!
Outside the cave, we swam south along the wall to find the blowholes. These holes were tunnels leading diagonally upwards from 18 meters to the top of the rock. On approach, the beams of sunlight shooting through the holes was similar to the strong shafts of light that penetrate a tall dense rainforest or the stained-glass window of a church. Diving on slack tide, we were able to get in close to the bottom of the holes and look up to these rays blasting through. That scene was like looking through an aquarium window but far more magical. Schools of fish were silhouetted against the light swimming in and out of view. Again the photograph’s did not portray the light well enough to include on this page. You’ll just have to use your imagination or pay a visit.
The second dive of the day was a shallow dive on the outer reef. Usual coral reef formations and one hugely spectacular rocky outcrop/cave packed with glassfish and a few generations of scorpionfish, pictured above. We spent ages photographing this little scene, trying to capture the Scorpion’s grisly face with Charlie’s just behind it, both surrounded by glass fish against the blue surface. Unfortunately, Charlie’s face turned out more grisly than the fish’s and she ripped up the print…hmm!