Gladlee of Guernsey
An article for Yachting World magazine in 250 words.
SUDAN................................................................by Nigel Morley and Julie Smart
Sudan takes you about as far off the beaten track as you will get on your Red Sea passage: there are relatively few settlements of any kind between Foul Bay (where the Egypt-Sudan border has yet to be settled) and Eritrea, 300-odd miles to the south. Happily this absence of human depredation has preserved some of the most spectacular and accessible reefs in the Red Sea, and the area also offers wonderful opportunities for bird-watching. You don’t have to be unduly adventurous or an expert diver to sample the reefs: some of the best coral formations, for instance, can be seen only a metre or two under water just off the beach at Marsa Umbeila. As for bird-watching, flamingos, herons (including the giant Goliath), ospreys, and numerous varieties of waders are abundant.
Port Sudan offers the only chance of serious repairs on the Sudanese coast, and the town has an excellent food market. However official charges and agents’ fees can make a short stay in Port Sudan almost prohibitively expensive, and many yachts prefer to avoid the place altogether and settle for the more limited facilities of Suakin, 30 miles to the south. Suakin’s quiet and sheltered anchorage is set against the picturesque coral ruins of the world’s last slave trading port: formalities for a yacht in transit are minimal, and charges are relatively modest. Food shopping is basic but adequate, fuel is available by jerry-can and the water (unlike Port Sudan’s) is potable. The contrast between the grandiose remnants of Old Suakin and the distinctly “Wild West” atmosphere of the ‘new’ town is one of the more memorable highlights of any Red Sea passage.