I was born and grew up on Kenya’s coast and have always been fascinated by how the ocean works. Where I come from, people rely on the ocean for many things, yet at the same time they fear it. There were many myths about the ocean and its creatures, and they were intended to underscore the mystery of this vast expanse of water. At an early age I was sent to school far away from the coast and found that even there they had more myths about the ocean. Some of these were really false and with all my energy I took on the responsibility of refuting these misunderstandings. But between teenage life and school my fascination for the sea almost disappeared and only occasionally would I go to the coast for a holiday.
When I took an undergraduate course in biological sciences and majored in aquatic sciences, my relationship with the sea was resuscitated. Now more curious about the ocean, I began to realise that most of the things we had been told when we were kids were false and that we need the ocean more than it needs us. I took several internship programmes with local institutions involved with marine research and conservation and became completely hooked on the ocean, especially coral reefs. My colleagues tell me I have never come out of the water since.