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Tales from around: Why I Love Sailing

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Tales from around: Why I Love Sailing

“Did you hear that?”

“What? I don’t hear a thing”


This is one of the things that I love about sailing. The quiet while drifting along while under sail alone. Mida Creek, in Watamu,
along Kenya’s Indian Ocean Coast, is a very special place. There is nothing that I enjoy more than a sunset sail after a frustrating day.

Tales from Around: Why I Love Sailing - Join William as he sails through the stunning waters of Watamu and shares his love for the ocean.

In fact, nothing excites me more than the moment I turn off the outboard engine on my yacht and let the wind catch the sails, and
start propelling the yacht forward. Pure Magic! Only the sound of the yacht gliding through the water and the sounds of nature,
especially if I am close enough to the mangroves (sometimes just 2 m away!) when we are doing our normal sunset sails in Mida

The other night, as we drifted off into yet another magnificent Mida Creek sunset, hearing the call of the hadada and that of the many sacred ibis (and the surprising lowing in the distance of a cow), I was very thankful that I bought my yacht CassandravillE, a modified Woods Elf 26 catamaran sailing yacht. I was warned that this catamaran was really suitable only for lake sailing. Yet, she was sailed on her own bottom all the way from Western Cape, South Africa (we bought her in Veldriff and had some improvements done before she was sailed south to Gordon’s Bay where she underwent a major refit before starting the long, long journey to Watamu in May 2017 before finally reaching our shores in November of that year).

Despite having several offshore sailing adventures racing around Zanzibar (we came 2nd in the Cruising Class in the annual Dar Tanga Yacht Race in 2019 –the oldest and largest yacht race in East Africa) I have just come to realise how much I love sailing in Mida Creek.

Yes, sailing in Mida has its challenges—we can only sail in spring tides, and the challenges of trying to tie up along the trotline in the ebb current, but the sheer joy of exploring the mangroves during spring tides at sunset (something normally only accessible to indigenous fisherfolk and yoga school Stand Up Paddlers) makes me glad that I bought the yacht that I did. At 28 feet in length and drawing less than 2 foot of water, CassandravillE can get into spots and anchorages that my friends in bigger boats can only dream of.

With tides approaching 4 m the other night we were able to really push the envelope and do a circumnavigation of the Creek sailing really close to the mangroves which those in yachts can only dream of.

And then the joy of anchoring in the Creek! Especially just metres away from Crab Shack Dabaso and ringing them up to row hot and fresh crab samosas right up to the yacht.

Why I Love Sailing

Yet, my yacht is my dream machine, large enough to be able to transport me to distant places up and down the East Coast of Africa including ancient Stone Town on a number of occasions with plans this year to visit Ras Ngomeni, Kipini, and the Lamu Archipelago once again. Not to mention of course Mafia Island (cruising in company with fellow sailors from the Dar Yacht Club and hopefully down southern Tanzania and then across to Comoros (bucket list item!) then to Mayotte and who knows, if time and weather permit, up the Africa Banks to the Seychelles.

Planning voyages, poring over charts and cruising guides, and preparing for the voyage including provisioning is often the best part. Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination.

Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free.

— Christopher Cross, Sailing —

Wind in the Willows

It is certainly one of the biggest
cliches in the literature of boating.
What the Water Rat said to the
Mole: “Believe me, my young friend,
there is nothing–absolutely nothing–
half so much worth doing as simply
messing about in boats.”
One of the morals of The Wind in
the Willows is the joy that comes
from journeys.

Mida Creek

Tales from Around: Why I Love Sailing - Join William as he sails through the stunning waters of Watamu and shares his love for the ocean.
mida creek

Mida Creek is a tidal inlet that
expands across an area of 32 km2. It
comprises different types of habitats
that are influenced by the tide, for
example mud and sand flats, open
shallow waters and mangrove

sailing  alone mida creek

Mida Creek is one of the most
productive mangrove ecosystems in
the world. For good reason, Mida
Creek is a recognized International
Bird Area and together with
Arabuko-Sokoke Forest forms a
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is not
only a paradise for national
waterfowl, but also migrating birds
from Europe and Eurasia find a place
to rest during their journey or they
choose to stay at Mida Creek to

It consists of marine
and coastal ecosystems including
coral reefs and associated
ecosystems such as seagrass beds
and mangrove forests that are
crucial for the livelihoods of coastal
people as well as for the national
economy. Coral reefs provide food
and income to coastal communities,
as well as other goods and services
of strategic importance to the
national economy including,
tourism, fisheries, and coastal

Why I Love Sailing

Article by William @SailingCassandraville

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