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George Curtis
Posts: 232

George Curtis
Posts: 232
This report has been posted on the OCC Forum to preserve this historic data when the Cruising Information Community site is closed. It is not intended to encourage skippers to sail in waters which have now become more dangerous from piracy and conflict. Skippers considering sailing in these waters are strongly advised to obtain up to date information on the up to date local security situation.

This information has been contributed by and is intended for use by competent amateur yachtsmen as general guidance solely to supplement research of their cruising plans.It has not been checked or verified by the OCC. The Information may be inaccurate or out of date and is NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION.

Flying Fish Articles

Sawakin (Suakin) – 19°08.43'N, 37°22.35'E
Khor Nawarat – 18°17.00'N, 38°18.61'E

Sawakin (Suakin) – 19°08.43'N, 37°22.35'E
Posted by Dick Moore, November 2008.

Suakin, approx. 30NM south of Port Sudan, is now the suggested Port of Entry/Exit for yachts arriving in/departing from Sudan, as Port Sudan is becoming increasingly busy as both an oil and a container port. In fact, yachts were not welcomed in Port Sudan in 2007.

Approaching you will probably first see the hulls and superstructures of some of the large ferries which run from here to ports in Saudi Arabia. The approach to the anchorage is pretty obvious but as you turn to port to enter the basin where you will anchor, with the old town ruins to starboard, beware first of a mud bank extending from the port side and then of the masonry which has fallen from the ruined hotel to starboard, forming a kind of reef. For all that, there is plenty of room in the channel.

Anchor just about anywhere in the basin. There is said to be a shoal patch roughly in the middle but we neither saw nor felt it!

Mohammed, immaculate in white robe and hat, will come out with the officials in a boat. He speaks excellent English, will handle all necessary translation and in no time you will have been cleared into Sudan. Mohammed can also change dollars into Sudanese Pounds, arrange for diesel in cans, arrange for your washing to be done, tell you how to get to Port Sudan by bus or taxi and will answer any other questions you may have.

Ashore there is a small market for fruit and vegetables, with sheep goats and the occasional donkey running between the stalls to give added local colour. All of our party tried bargaining with the Sudanese stallholders to no avail, although there was much laughing and good-humoured banter.. Bottled water and some basic hardware (pots and pans) were available from another market across the street.

For recreation, try a walk through the ruins of the old town, which resembles Dresden in 1945 without the smoke blackening. Apparently it was built from mud bricks and , once abandoned, soon crumbled. We were told that the slave trade lingered on here until 1960.

This was the only place we visited in our circumnavigation not to have an internet facility but there was one in Port Sudan.

There were a couple of local restaurants on the shoreline but we were not tempted. Cruisers we knew did eat there and survived

Khor Nawarat – 18°17.00'N, 38°18.61'E

Report written by Dick Moore, ALIESHA in 2008

Khor Nawarat is a lovely anchorage about 22 Nm north of the Sudan/Eritrea border. We made it after a 4.5 day, lively passage from Aden and were happy to rest in its sheltered waters before pushing on up the Red Sea.

Here we ran out of the southerly winds which had blasted us up from Bab el Mandeb and encountered the cloudy ITCZ. It never rained; it just looked as though it should.

The Red Sea Pilot talks about the Black Rocks to the south side of the main entrance as being easily visible. They are actually quite hard to see from seaward, being much lower than I had expected. C-Map was quite accurate.

Once inside use your eyes to avoid the coral. We anchored with three other yachts in position 18°12.48’N, 038°18.61’E to the SW of Bahdur Island, good holding and completely sheltered from the NE.

Goats and the occasional camel may be seen walking along the shoreline astern of you. It was excitingly strange and different.

Massawa, Eritrea to Fineke, Turkey
Submitted by: Pat and Olivia Murphy, ALDEBARAN, January 2008

Comments etcetera to <patandolivia1999@yahoo.com> (Please check all waypoints before use)
26th March 2007;  On checking out of Masawa, again no charge, you may, depending on conditions at the wharf, be requested to come alongside for inspection. We had a very pleasant young man inspect us and it was only afterwards we heard from other yachts about his financial situation and regretted not giving him something to supplement his meagre wages.
After 3.5 hours and 27 miles we anchored at Sheik El Abu (16-02.35/39-27.078 in 5.1 metres) where we celebrated my 64th birthday with the crews of Li and Pacific Bliss Next morning, together with Li, we departed for Difnein 38 miles north but after an hour we returned to the anchorage due to strong northerlies and became wind bound there for the next three days. While here we had some walks ashore and during one of these we came across the remains of a large turtle and 8 sharks with their tail and fins removed.  I have not and will not support any restaurant serving shark fin products and rather than just leave without saying anything I tell them why. It would be nice if you supported me in this small protest next time you enter such an establishment.
30th March;  Left Sheik El Abu at 0645 hours together with Li and Pacific Bliss and at 1510 hrs, after logging 38 miles, we anchored at Difnein in position 16-36.43/39-19.33 in 17 metres. The socialising consisted of a GREAT wine tasting evening aboard Pacific Bliss together with the crews of Li and Bolero. And friends at home think we have an easy life.
Next morning at 0615 hrs, together with Pacific Bliss and Li, we weighed anchor and set a course for Long Island in Sudan.
At 2145 hours (it was a very dark night) in position 17 degrees 46 minutes North and 38 degrees 49 minutes East, about 20 miles south of the border with Sudan, we were approached by 5 men in a fast open boat about 8 metres long who were demanding we stop. It was very frightening.  I kept indicating that we were not stopping and kept shouting IRELAND, IRLANDA and increased speed just to emphasise our intentions.
There was no way we could outrun them as I reckon they could easily do about 15 or 20 knots and maybe even much more. Their shouting became more aggressive and they were now almost touching ALDEBARAN. We were afraid they were going to board us. Olivia called Li and Pacific Bliss on the VHF who immediately turned back towards us and as they closed with us the boat moved off. The whole incident lasted about 15 minutes but at no time did they produce firearms. If they had we would have stopped immediately.  We will never know what might have happened had we stopped and they boarded us.
About 4 hours later with Li tailing us they reported seeing three boats on radar shadowing us, this would have been just north of the border between Eritrea and Sudan. We turned and headed back to meet Li, who was about a mile behind us, and again as we closed up the three mystery boats changed course and disappeared off our radar screens.
The lesson to learn from the incident is that travelling in company is by far the safest.
Finally at 1500 hrs the following day we all three anchored at Long Island, (18-46.465/37-19.472 in 13 metres), having logged 170 miles since leaving Difnein. Had good snorkelling here.
Next morning at 0845 hrs we began our passage through the intricate Shubuk Channel heading for Suakin in Sudan. Using the many waypoints from the Red Sea Pilot we negotiated the passage without any problems although there were places where you had to do a bit of “thinking”.  The beacon at 18-46.2N / 37-29.1E referred to as having no top mark now seems to have a red top mark On exiting the channel the wind was blowing strong from the north and rather than plug our way the extra18 miles to Suakin we anchored at 1300 hrs in Marsa Sheikh Ibrahim at 18-52.644 / 37-24.936 in 8 metres.   We found this to be a very nice anchorage although Pacific Bliss had problems setting their anchor.
At 0700 next morning due to the sun in our eyes we very carefully backtracked using our inward track on the GPS and successfully exited the Marsa. Just under 5 hours and 20 miles later we were safely anchored in the very sheltered inner harbour at the old Slave Centre of SUAKIN in Sudan. There is an easy shallow approach to the inner basin, just keep an eye on where you are going and do not be distracted by the wonderful sight of the old crumbling Slave City to starboard.  
Like every other Port of Entry that you have entered there is Mr Helpful in the name of Mohammod ( I think that was his name, at least it is a good guess). He organised everything including money changing at 200 Dinars / US$, diesel at US$0.70 / litre, and the checking in and out with the Authorities for US$100.  His fee was US$30 which we thought was reasonable. He also organised free transport to a local celebration where we listened to many speeches and took part in some local dancing, with swords!!.
 We took the local bus into Port Sudan for a day, it was interesting. A walk round the old city is memorable and I believe a must, it is overflowing with history and most of it sad due to the trade it prospered in (Slavery, Ed).
At 0630 hrs on Friday 6th April, still with Li and Pacific Bliss we left Suakin and set a course for Port Ghalib in Egypt a distance of about 445 miles. Wind at the start was 12 knots northerly; it gradually lightened and veered into the east. By 0600 hrs on Sunday it had veered to the SW at knots and by 1200 it had veered further into the NNW and increased to 12 knots and “on the nose”. By 1500 hours the wind had increased to almost 30 knots and we decided to divert to Port Bernice 20 miles due west. Having bore of we covered the 20 miles in 2.5 hours of very rough sailing. We were a relieved fleet when at 1830 we anchored in the sheltered and very beautiful anchorage at Port Bernice in position 23-56.947 / 35-34.024 in 10 metres after logging 334 miles since leaving Suakin. Four day of rest and relaxation was forced on us, it was great.
By Thursday 12th April the wind had died and with Aliesha, a 36ft HR, with Richard & Pam aboard in tow, their engine was out of commission, we departed Port Bernice for hopefully Port Ghalib and Egypt. After 3 hours and clear of the channel we cast off Aliesha.  The wind was still out of the NNW at 12 knots, it later veered into the NNE at 8 knots. By midnight it was blowing from the west at 10 knots and throughout the rest of the night we had lovely close-hauled sailing on a flat sea.
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