Cruising: Nautical Safari to Tanzania, 2022

Mida Creek

Mida Creek why I love sailing

Sept 12, 2023

By William Kosar

In October 2015, I purchased a Richard Woods Elf 26 catamaran in South Africa. But it wasn’t until 2017, after a major refit in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa that she was delivered to Watamu, on Kenya’s Indian Ocean North Coast. That voyage took some three or four months of sailing over a period of almost nine months.

By late November 2017, CassandravillE (named in honour of my wife Cassandra—as if I had a choice!) had arrived in Watamu, our home for over a decade.

Mida Creek

“Did you hear that?”

“What?  I don’t hear a thing”

“Exactly”

Sailing in Tanzania

This is one of the things that I love about sailing while drifting along under sail alone.  My favourite place to do that is in Mida Creek, in Watamu. It is a very special place indeed, and there is nothing that I enjoy more than a sunset sail.

Nothing excites me more than the moment I turn off the outboard engine on my catamaran, and let the wind catch the sails and start propelling us forward.  Pure Magic!  The silence, except for only the sound of the yacht gliding through the water and the sounds of nature. It is very calming and peaceful all-the-while exhilarating. There are times when we are just two meters from the mangroves when we are doing our sunset sails in Mida Creek. 

Last night, as we drifted off into yet another magnificent Mida Creek sunset we could hear the call of the hadada and that of the many sacred ibises and to our surprise, a lowing cow in the distance! What diversity.

Docked in Tanzania

I was very thankful that I bought CassandravillE.  I was warned that this catamaran was really suitable for lake sailing yet, she was sailed on her own bottom all the way from Western Cape, South Africa; a voyage of some six months!

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

Drawing less than two feet of water CassandravillE can get into spots and anchorages that my friends in bigger yachts can only dream of. Last night, with tides approaching 4m we were able to really push the envelope and do a circumnavigation of the Creek, sailing really close to the mangroves.

Crab Samosa delivery

And then the joy of anchoring in the Creek!  Especially just metres away from Crab Shack Dabaso. A quick call and they row out hot and fresh crab samosas right up to the yacht (sort of like “Uber Eats at sea!)  Words cannot do it justice. Who doesn’t love crab samosas? On the water? On a yacht? During a sunset?

Yes, 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 from ancient Lamu in northern Kenya to its contemporary, Stone Town in Zanzibar. This past year I have sailed to Tanga (Tanzania) and the Lamu Archipelago once again as well as to Pemba.  Repeat voyages to Lamu and Zanzibar are planned before the end of 2023.

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.

Canadian sailor William Kosar started sailing as a Junior Sailor at Royal Hamilton back in 1970.  I later practiced law in Hamilton for almost 20 years before getting into teaching law and then into international development which eventually brought him to South Sudan and Kenya in 2008.  He and Cassandra have lived here ever since and have been sailing their 28 ft. catamaran up and down the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania.

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