Rangi Ya Bahari – Nine


Bright midday light returned to the sky and the crow wings collapsed back into note script, and the gulls too flew back to their homes of old stone. The whale was last heard breaching the surface, and at last sighting casting a shadow against the blank background of hand-stitched lateen.  On the whales back a wry mermaid playing a flute.  

All that remained now was bobbing at sea under the lift of a breeze. Ativa arms around Punda, Shakwe perched on her shoulder. Passengers gathered filling a bit of open square space to the stern of her dhow. Huddled together, caught in stunned silence, whispers began to release, many questions arising,

“…did that really happen? …did you see what I saw? …it’s truly a miracle …there are no other words …surely not, it can’t be?”

What was soon agreed was that it was some form of incredible luck or something else for those that believed in miracles. That while Ativa was busy pulling passengers and crew from the water that the donkey had managed to get the anchor chain wrapped around the dhow’s rudder forcing the craft off-center. Driving the broad blade of the curved stem through the side of the pirate’s aluminum craft, cutting it nearly in half.

That in a flurry of madness the seagull stopped screeching and attacked the pirates face on. The pirates who were in the process of loading a rocket for the final blow ended up losing control of the launcher, sending the missile through the thin hull of their aluminum skiff. The resulting explosion igniting a box of grenades. In the end, there was simply nothing left.

With the sail full of wind from the deep breath of relief, Ativa was a hero, and with her crew to her side set a course back to the old wooden jetty.


Spectators and tourists, women and men, from all corners of the globe, now flocked to the coastal province and to visit the ancient stone town and to catch a glimpse of the young mariner, to be close to the story, or perhaps catch a bit of magic. This was Ativa’s dream. At twelve years of age, Ativa was the most famous sailboat captain in all of Lamu.

T h e  E n d


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