Pili explained to us that the Mida Creek is at low tide around 11:00 am, so first thing in the morning, after breakfast at least, we headed out to the beach. In the evening during high tide, the water comes all the way up the beach, creating a little private area with crystal clear waters and white sands. At 11:00 am with the tide receded, you can walk out pretty far where the water was, all the way around the rocks, through the sea grass and plants, looking for wildlife.
Mida Creek is a tidal inlet that expands across an area of 32 km
2. It comprises different types of habitats that are influenced by the tide, for example mud and sand flats, open shallow waters and mangrove forests.
In fact 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 waterfowls, 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 over-winter.
And the wildlife does come out to play. Mostly — crabs. Lots of crabs. Crabs everywhere.
The day before, during high tide, Najwa had no issues running into the water and playing. With the crabs scurrying about, she was terrified. Terrified to the point that she was ready to leave before even getting close to the waters.
Later Pili came out to join us. I find it funny that it’s her job to hang out on beaches. Even funnier, when she grabbed Najwa’s hand, Najwa didn’t fight her the way she fought me when I was literally dragging her through the minefield of crabs.
In the waters there were starfish, lots of sea urchins, moray eels, too many different little fish, crabs of course and who knows what else. Najwa, finally over her fear of monsters in the ocean, even held the starish, nearly twice the size of her hands.
It’s amazing how far the water recedes. When we first came out to the beach, it was just the shorelines surrounded on all three sides by rock formations and the dunes. Once on the beach, the only way off is back through the path that led to it.
During low tide, though, you can walk around the rocks to the other side and keep going for what seems like miles. There are more rocks further down the beach. Climbing them was cool, but as we were warned, the rocks are sharp. I cut myself on the wrist. Nduku was a natural.
And just to reiterate how much Najwa trusted her new BFF, while Nduku and I were climbing the rocks, Pili even got Najwa to go into the water where all the “monsters” were.
Eventually we found a moray eel. They have the tendency to hide under the rocks under the water. When you come splashing towards them, they disappear, but Pili found with its head sticking out trying to figure out whether we’re prey or predator.
It was acting shy so we kept wandering about until we saw these shelled mollusks. Or whatever they’re called.
One of the guys out on the beach explained to us that sea urchins were pretty harmless so we could pick them up. But he warned us not to step on them because they can be poisonous. No worries, we were all being careful. Until I saw Najwa just sitting in the water, splashing about. Obviously she got over her fear quickly, to the point that if she sat on an urchin, all was good.
Then the eel decided to go for a swim. Nduku, not as familiar with these animals, found it cool. Except it was getting closer to where we were standing and I knew that these things have a nasty bite if you’re not careful. Getting Najwa out of the water then was harder than getting her in the water when we first got there.
We took photos. Najwa and I — like father, like daughter — blinked simultaneously. Then she got all cute for her BFF. I have to say having Pili there was great. Not only did she know how to find the wildlife, but she eased Najwa’s mind, looked after her so Nduku and I could relax, and just helped a lot.