Weather & Tides
All around the world the tides follow the patterns of the moon, getting steadily higher and lower as the moon waxes and wanes. Water volumes are highest and lowest around the new and full moons – these are known as the ‘spring tides’, when in Lamu reefs become accessible for snorkeling; larger beaches are exposed and sand islands appear in the channels. On some beaches at high tide the waves are good enough for surfing or boogy-boarding. The ‘neap tides’ fall in-between the full and new moons; these are usually better for fishing and in certain areas – because there isn’t such a pull of water caused by the very high and low spring tides – water visibility can be better.
The Ocean Temperature sits between 20 – 30’c. The Southern Equatorial current feeds the ocean coming in below Kenya at a right angle and then splits off the coast of Mozambique and Madagascar running north, from there calling itself the East African current. Occasionally the Somali current comes down from the north.
The weather patterns in Lamu are ruled by the ‘monsoon’ winds: the kaskasi blows from the northeast between December and March and the kusi from the southeast between July and October. The monsoons are separated by calm periods known as the matalai in October/November and March/April when the wind dies and then changes round bringing the long and short rains respectively. During the rainy season the islands, which are normally quite dry and bushy, become lush with greenery and new life.
Many activities may be enjoyed year-round, such as walking on the glorious beaches, swimming, creek fishing and sailing in the creeks and channels. The sea is generally calmer from October to March, during the kaskasi, when the conditions for fishing, snorkeling and diving are at their best; during these months the wind often picks up in the afternoons allowing kite- and wind-surfing. During the kusi months, from May to September, conditions are generally rougher and windier offering great opportunities for wave surfing, kite- and wind-surfing and fast sailing.
From September humpback and other whales may be seen off the Lamu coast as they migrate south to cooler waters. During the calmer months dolphins are easily sighted and special dolphin-sighting trips can be arranged.
The calendar below is based on an average year to allow you to see which activities are best done during which periods. You can also refer to local websites to foresee the upcoming weather and tides around which to plan your holiday and activities.
Moon Calender: http://www.moon-phases.net
|SUN / RAIN||TEMPERATURE||WIND||WATER||ACTIVITIES|
|JAN||sunny and dry||30′||kaskazi||calm mornings, windy afternoons||calm with afternoon chop||D, F, K, S, Sn|
|FEB||sunny and dry||31′ – 34′||kaskazi||calm mornings, windy afternoons||calm with afternoon chop||D, F, K, S, Sn|
|MAR||rain unlikely but building||32′||matalai||calmer||calm||D, F, Sn|
|APR||rain can start mid-month||33′||matalai||calm||calm||D, F, S|
|MAY||long rains – sunny days with afternoon showers||28′||kusi||winds bringing rain||getting rougher out to sea||T|
|JUN||sunny days with daily showers||27′||kusi||winds building||rougher out to sea with bigger waves on the beaches||T|
|JUL||can be overcast with passing storms and showers||26′||kusi||strong windy days||rougher out to sea with bigger waves on the beaches||K, S, T|
|AUG||sunny with occasional showers||26′||kusi||intermittently breezy days, windy nights||rougher out to sea with bigger waves on the beaches||K, S, T|
|SEP||sunny with very occasional showers||27′||kusi||winds dying down||getting calmer||F, S, T, W|
|OCT||sunny with short rains building from mid-month||28′||matalai||gentle winds||calm||F, S, Sn, W|
|NOV||short rains||29′||kaskazi||calm||calm||D, F, Sn, W|
|DEC||sunny with possible showers||30′||kaskazi||mainly calm with winds building from mid-month||calm with afternoon chop||D, F, K, Sn|
Wind Key: kazkasi – from the south east; kusi – from the north east; matalai – gentle easterly breeze
Activity Key: D – Diving; F – Fishing; K – Kite surfing; S – Sailing; Sn – Snorkelling; T – Turtle hatchings W – Whale sighting