Sunday, March 05, 2017

To Sudan

In the coming days, strong gap winds were forecasted for the narrow entrance to the Red Sea which was just about 50 nautical miles away. We decided to try to beat the worst and leave pronto on the 28th of February at 17:45.

As we sailed towards the Red Sea entrance, the winds as predicted, were building. By the time we went through the gap, the doorway to the Red Sea, we were in a full gale. The wind was on our tail and Sea Turtle flying only a small staysail was clipping along at record speeds, even seeing a 10-knot reading.

She handled the winds and steep waves well. After about a day and a half, the winds eased through 20 knots, and within a day, down to nothing. We were doing a 5-day run to Sudan, which would take us about a third of the way up the Red Sea.

Our original thoughts were to island hop along the African coast of Eritrea (which is before Sudan), but once again, plans changed. Eritrea is extremely poor where lawlessness is a means of existence for some, a situation not unlike Venezuela or Haiti.

We were told of a sailor who stopped at an outer island and was approached by non-uniformed armed men claiming to be Coast Guard demanding that they be escorted into the city. The sailor pulled anchor and made an escape but not before shots were fired. He didn't look back to see if the shots were at him or overhead.

Currently, entering Eritrean ports goes with a definite danger of being robbed and/or facing bogus charges laid in order to bleed money from sailors. Needless to say, we sailed past.

Once the winds died and we motored, one day we noticed that we were going exceptionally slow, even taking into account the effects of the current against us. Finally Jordan stopped the engine and with mask on, dove down to see what the problem was. He discovered a tangled clump of seaweed wrapped around the propeller. A quick chop chop and we were off and back to normal speeds.

Not long after coming into Sudan waters, we reached our first anchorage, Fawn Cove. It was tucked up at the north end of a large bay that required winding our way through coral studded channels and shores to get in.

Conning for coral

We dropped the anchor on March 5th, 09:00 local time, (N18°15.886' E038°15.820') in the tranquil inlet. SV Jubilee and SV Wai-O-Tira joined us a short time later.

No comments: