Landing on Kiu Island (Peter Moore)
Glögg and pepparkakor in Stockholm (Peter Moore)

How I spent New Year’s Eve in 1991

My first ‘Christmas Card’ Christmas in Stockholm

That time I spent three days in southern Somalia

How the worst New Year’s Eve of my life turned into a story I’ve dined out on for years.

Thirty years ago today I was on a tiny island called Kui, just off the north coast of Kenya.

I was in the middle of my big trip around the equator that I hope one day will become a book called Going Around In Circles.

I’d hitched a ride towards Somalia on a fishing boat called the Mabruki and this was where I ended up on New Year’s Eve.

As we approached the island, one of the crew members blew on a conch shell to announce our arrival.

Announcing our arrival on Kui (Peter Moore)

I never figured out why. Kui was dry and deserted. But it was where the crew would base themselves as they fished the waters off the Kenya/Somalia border. Perhaps it was to let the rats living on the island that a month’s worth of supplies were about to be unloaded.

There was a single makeshift hut on the island. It provided a modicum of shelter and somewhere to store provisions. 

I welcomed in 1992 trying to sleep on a raised rattan bench, swatting off rats trying to access the bags of flour stored just behind my head.

Me ‘celebrating’ the New Year on Kui (Peter Moore)

At the time I was convinced it would be the most miserable New Year’s Eve I’d have in my entire life.

But now I look back on it with fond memories.

And I don’t think that’s just because of COVID.


These photos were taken on a dysfunctional Pentax I’d bought off a fellow backpacker for $20. The road to Somalia was lousy with shifta (bandits) so I’d left my proper SLR back in Lamu.

It wasn’t until I got back to Australia and had the film developed that I realised that the Pentax was over-exposing things.

Having said that, I kind of like how it makes the photos look like they are from a different era.

Considering they were taken 30 years ago, I guess they are.

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