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        RED SEA

                               SUDAN - THE RED SEA                                     

We  stopped at a protected reef called Sheikk El Abu, about 4 hours from Massawa to clean off all the growth on the bottom of Ascension because we were loosing 1 1/2 knots and using too much fuel. There was so much grass growing on the hull, you needed an underwater week whacker and the rudder, keel and bottom were covered with barnacles!. It took 3 of us over 2 hours to scrape and scrub the better portion of it off. When we got out of the water we were covered with sea lice that were living in the growth on the boat. Also Gord was severely stung by a jelly fish and his whole face broke out in a rash and swelled up. We are now about 1/3 of the way up the Red Sea but no in a place where there is any medical facilities.

Drugs and Muffins

The seas were flat calm and Stardust offered to send us over some Cortisone cream and antihistamines for Gord's jellyfish sting. And Becky had been baking. On the end of the boat hook in the mid-sea transfer she included some yummy muffins too!


On our passage to Khor Narawat, we challenged the reputation of "good fishing in the Red Sea." However, we have become very particular in our choice of fish. It took a catch and release of a Big Eye Tuna, a Barracuda and a Skipjack Tuna before we caught our all-time favorite fish - Wahoo (cousin to Spanish Mackerel).

Khor Narawat

March 13 
An overnight sail and we anchored among some coral reefs, ideal to wait out the strong northerly winds that had set in. Several fishing boats approached us and we gave them cigarettes to appease them.

The land around was no more than a skinny sandy spit with little vegetation. However from nowhere, a camel waded out into the water and just stood there, probably to cool off.  I was smoking hot and we were hoping that as we got further north the temps would cool.

We got together with Billabong and Stardust on Ascension for a fresh fish dinner of BBQ Wahoo.  Everyone brought an accompaniment and we had a great evening.

We walked around the island, mostly wading in the water as there wasn't any beach, just scrub right down to the water. We waded from one small island to another, each sand spit looked the same. Chris used makeshift crutches to keep the gash on his leg dry, the result of the barracuda attack as he tried to unhook it!

Ascension, peaceful
at anchor

KT and Ginny

Chris hobbling across

We walked the long lonely beach, speckled by sparse patches of low evergreen type brush. The small island is only about 3 feet high at the highest point, except for massive piles of conch shells, thousands of them. We guessed that someone must have had an exclusive diet of these mollusks judging by the number of piles!

Suddenly, over the rise came a lone Bedouin riding his camel. We asked if we could take his picture and he offered to let us ride his camel. KT took him up on it and was very excited when the camel knelt down for her and she climbed aboard.

Afterwards, we tried to have a conversation with the Nomad but he did not speak a word of English. His camel was far more vocal than he was!

The man, wrinkled and dirty, dressed in rags had everything he owned strapped onto the camels back. We managed to convey that we could bring him some supplies and he gave us his water jug, empty except for grit and sand covering the inside.

We headed back to our boats, cleaned and filled his jug, gathered sugar, flour, rice, cord, matches, T-shirts, fruit, soap, tea and an assortment of other things and returned to shore. After he immediately drank and drank like he had been without water for days, he was overwhelmed with our offerings.

He loaded his new found goodies onto his camel and bade us farewell as he rode off across the desert.

 

Strange, hardy flowers bloomed amidst the harsh brown sandscape of wiry scrub.

March 15

We awoke to a calm anchorage, which proved that we had made a good choice for protection from the Nor'westerlies that had arrived the night before. A scan of the desert shoreline presented a postcard picture. A lone camel, standing on a sand dune, silhouetted by a fiery red ball from the rising sun in the haze.

A group of boats from the Rally, including Augusta, entered the anchorage. So we had a get together on the beach that evening to compare stories.

March 16

We departed from Khor Narawat at 3 am (!!!) and followed our GPS track back out through the reefs. Once in open water we had a majestic sail under the clouds of the convergence zone (where the south winds switch to northerlies). We had a gentle breeze and flat water for a change!


Long Island

We spent the night anchored off a reef at Long Island. Ashore there was a huge lagoon that cut into the low sandy island, home of a family of pink flamingos.  We could  see the birds at the end of the lagoon so proceeded to walk along the mucky edge of the water for a closer look.

Just as we were approaching the birds close enough to take photos, they flew off. We followed but every time we got close the skitterish birds would take off!

Shumma Island

When we finally set sail to Shumma Island (Port Smyth), it was blowing 25-30 knots but we found good shelter in the crater-like anchorage, protected by a circular shoreline. We only saw the Acadia tree lined shore from a distance because it was too windy to launch the dingy.

The following morn we set out, motoring on flat seas. Some unusual dolphins came to visit. They had humps on their backs so we named them "camel" dolphins. It seemed fitting in this part of the world and there was no mention of this species in my books.

We made our way through the reef strewn Shubak Channel. One of us kept a diligent watch for reefs from the bow but it was all very straight forward so we arrived in Suakin, Sudan by 1 pm. Suakin is about 30 miles north of Port Sudan.

 

NEXT SUAKIN, SUDAN >>>>>

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