North from Suakin, Sudan S/V PEACE AND ALOHA, Update, Easter, March 27, 2005
Salaam al haykum (Hello!) Family and Friends
We pray that you are having a joyous Easter today, as we celebrate Jesus's rebirth and await the arrival of the Easter Bunny or search for colorfully decorated or candy filled Easter eggs. Now that we have returned to the Northern Hemisphere, we are already awaiting summer and the return of warmer temperatures. We have blankets and fleeces out and the sea temperature is down to 79 Degrees F. from a maximum temperature of 89 Degrees F. in the harbor in Massawa, Eritrea.
We motor/sailed 21 miles from the Taila Islands (20 38.00N 37 13.42E)to Jazirat
(20 52.23N 37 34.49E) today and caught two large dog tooth tuna which will fill out freezer until we arrive in Abu Tig Marina in Egypt. What a delicious Easter dinner of sashimi followed by a Cadbury chocolate bar, which we pretended was in the shape of an egg or any bunny! We were impressed by world class snorkeling here with 75 feet visibility as we saw many new fish, rays, sharks, and eels swimming amongst beautifully colored pristine soft and hard corals and clams. We rate this snorkeling in our top three with Kamatal Lagoon in the Lousiades of Papua New Guinea and South Pass of Fakarava Atoll in the Tuamotus of the South Pacific. All the coral reefs of the world should be this pristine and awesome! We would love to share this beauty with you, unfortunately, we do not have an underwater camera!
We find this sailing/motoring into strong winds and currents on the nose to be very stressful and tiring on both S/V PEACE AND ALOHA and her crew. We left Suakin, Sudan early March 23 and motored 47 miles to anchor at Marsa Daror ("marsa" is anchorage or harbour) at 19 50.829N 37 16.039E for the night with four other yachts. We felt that the anchorage was unsafe with that many boats, with inadequate holding and anchor scope out for the wind and sea conditions since the anchorage is smaller than described in the Red Sea Pilot because of recent silting. After an uncomfortable rolly and sleepless night of worry, we left early the following morning (following our saved inward tract on CMAP) to motor the 13 miles to Marsa Fijab (20 01.826N 37 11.45E) for our "eyeball good-light only" entry about noon, since we did not want to "kiss or smack" the reef as our friends on *High Drama* did last year. We are very appreciative of their emailed information of their trip up the Red Sea as we follow behind them a year later. We stayed a day in this calm, protected and beautiful anchorage to enjoy the snorkeling, the bird life (flamingos, spoonbills, skimmers and ospreys) and camels on shore, and to prepare passage meals for several upcoming overnighters. On March 26, we set off before sunrise, to avoid the rising sun glaring in our eyes, in 15+ knot Northwest winds for the Taila Islands (20 38.00N 37 13 42E) about 40 miles north. We enjoyed a beautiful anchorage with snorkeling in crystal clear water and shelling on the beach while being attacked by the large eagles who nest there.
We are staying at Jazirat ("island") Bayer to snorkel another day and because the winds were blowing 18-22 knots at 6am! We will send out updates for Oman, Yemen, Eritrea and Sudan as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience in our delay in writing these updates and answering your emails personally. We are grateful for your prayers and ask that you please continue to send them our way, since we are sailing in extremely difficult wind and sea conditions amongst reefs and uncharted waters in the Red Sea, visiting countries, which are not the safest and most peaceful of the world. All the countries which we have visited have been most welcoming, in fact, these people have been some of the friendliest of all of our travels. We are usually greeted with "Hello, mister! Welcome to our country! Where are you from?" Thankfully, we have experienced absolutely no anti-American or anti-Western sentiment.
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Happy Easter! Be safe! God Bless. Ma salaama. "Good-bye" until our next update!
With Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
March 27, 2005
Jazirat Bayer, Sudan, The Red Sea