Red Sea Pilot
Stephen Davies & Elaine Morgan
1st edition 1995
ISBN 0 85288 253 X
Supplement No 10 cumulative to December 2001
IMPORTANT PIRACY WARNING Please
click here for details
NOTE This document is free of charge. For those of you who are using it with a pirate photocopy of the book please remember this. When officials or businessmen in Red Sea countries demand baksheesh or exorbitant fees they are only trying to rip you off in exactly the same way as you have ripped us off. So don't complain.
An asterisk indicates new information. We hope to continue to receive reports from yachts who visit the Red Sea in future. IN GPS POSITIONS PLEASE SPECIFY CLEARLY WHETHER YOUR COORDINATES ARE DEGREES AND MINUTES TO ONE OR TWO DECIMAL PLACES (e.g. 21°29'·39N) OR DEGREES, MINUTES AND SECONDS (e.g. 21°29'39"N). The new edition of the Red Sea Pilot will be out later in 2002. Please e-mail us c/o Imray, firstname.lastname@example.org, or direct to Morgdav@aol.com cc email@example.com
PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ/PRINTED SUPPLEMENT NO. 9 AND DO NOT REQUIRE THE PREVIOUS INFORMATION PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW (PRINT) ONLY THE LATEST UPDATES.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these amendments. They contain selected information and thus are not definitive and do not contain all the information on the subject in hand. This is particularly relevant to the plans. No plan should be used for navigation. The publisher believes its selection is a useful aid to prudent navigation but the safety of a vessel depends ultimately on the judgement of the navigator who should assess all information available to him/her, published or unpublished.
CAUTION 2 Eritrea
Note some sensitive areas on the Eritrean coast particularly south of Massawa and near the border with Sudan. The peace with Ethiopia has yet to be finalised. You should keep well informed and proceed with caution. British visitors may call their consulate in Asmara Tel +291 12 01 45 Fax +291 12 01 04. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has a web site with the latest travel advisories http://www.fco.gov.uk. However, note that foreign affairs ministries habitually adopt an alarmist tone so treat their advisories with a dose of scepticism.
CAUTION 3 Hanish Islands, the Zubayr Group and Jazirat at Tair
Yemeni sovereignty has been agreed and military surveillance has been relaxed a little. If you stop make sure you are flying the Yemeni courtesy flag and expect to be visited and asked to show your papers.
CAUTION 4 Sudanese borders
Tensions between Sudan and its littoral neighbours, Eritrea and Egypt continue. You are strongly commended to stay 510 miles offshore on either side of the Sudan-Eritrea border. Sudan-Egypt tensions are not of the same order, but there is restricted access to anchorages from Marsa Umbeila NW'wards into the S of Foul Bay, especially to Marsa Halaib. Between Marsa Umbeila and Marsi Wasi is officially a military security zone. You may be visited by the local authorities in the anchorages they are not dressed as, nor do they look like soldiers and their boats don't usually look like a military craft. They are usually happy with short visits.
CAUTION 5 Gulf of Aden
Safe waters: the coast between Mukallah (Yemen) and Mina Salalah (Oman); from Aden through into the Red Sea along the Yemeni coast and Yemeni waters in the southern Red Sea (apart from a slight risk of petty harassment by importunate Yemeni military and fishermen); Djibouti to/from Bab el Mandeb, Eritrean waters.
Troubled waters: We would advise transiting between 49°E and 46°50'E at night and staying >20M offshore (though the whole width of the Gulf in these longitudes merits caution); if unescorted, up to 90100 miles offshore from the coast of Somalia and especially from 47°30'E to Djibouti waters. For more detail, see our separate PIRACY WARNING link at top of page.
Page 3 Oman, Visas
If you are applying for a visa, a No Objection Certificate is no longer required. Visas are obtainable from Omani embassies for about £30. You may be required to produce evidence of funds. Crew being signed off will need to obtain a transit or 21-day tourist visa. The authorities will suggest you use an agent, which is quicker but costs US75100. A cheaper alternative, if you do the leg-work yourself, is to find a sponsor who will sign your visa application. Sponsors include local business companies or hotels. With a typewritten visa application form, available from the Immigration Dept, plus 2 photos, you can reduce fees to US$4050.
* Page 4 Yemen
Communications There is a GSM mobile phone network in Aden. It is subject to random closure by the government for security reasons.
Money The best currency to carry here and through most of the Red Sea countries is US$ in new, unworn notes if possible. The most useful are $20 bills, then $10, then $5.
Page 7 Djibouti
Embassies Egyptian visas were available from the embassy here in 1999 @ US$20 each. Eritrean visas seem also to be available for US$30 (see below page 8284).
Communications E-mail is possible if rudimentary.
Page 8 Eritrea
Embassies Egyptian visas were easily and swiftly available from the embassy in Asmara in 1999.
Visas For stays over 48 hours, 1 month visas are obtainable on arrival at Assab and Massawa @ US$30.
Money The unit of currency is the nakfa, (nagfa), abbreviated nfa. You will need foreign exchange. In Asmara you can arrange for a transfer of funds with Western Union or any of the three branches of the local outfit, Himbol. The latter accepts cheques drawn on personal accounts. Clearance takes at least a week.
Communications International mail to anywhere takes about a week and is extremely good value. International phone calls can be made from the post office, a deposit of Nfa300 is required before the call is put through. Calls within Eritrea can be made using a phone card you can buy from the PO. Fax services are available. There is an internet facility now in Massawa but it is usually out of service. Otherwise Internet connection is only available in Asmara. A GSM mobile phone network was being created in late 2001.
Transport The railway from Massawa to Asmara is completely defunct. Buses to the capital take 4 hours. Asmara airport is 9km out of the town.
Health Malaria can be a problem if you visit during the rainy season (approx October to February.)
Opening hours 07001200, 16001800, MonSat.
Page 11 Sudan
Visas Restrictions on entry to Sudan without a visa appear to have been relaxed but the so-called Tourism and Hospitality Department exists in effect for internal security purposes only. If you arrange inland tours with your agent will apply for permisssion and a security officer will probably form part of your group.
Health Malaria can be a problem if you visit during the rainy season (approx October to December).
Communications There is a good GSM mobile phone network in the Port Sudan area but coverage doesn't reach Sawakin. There are telecoms "centres" in Sawakin but international lines are usually busy. Cost of overseas calls from here in December 2000 were about US$2.50 per minute. Phone card public phones have been installed in Port Sudan.
Page 13 Egypt
Ports of Entry Only Safaga, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, Port Tewfik, Port Said, El Arish and Alexandria are ports of entry. See p195 for new fees.
Communications There is a good GSM mobile phone network along the Red Sea coast of northern Egypt, The Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Suez. It gets patchy south of Safaga and non-existent south of Marsa Alam. E-mail was widely available in Egypt from Safaga north in 2000.
Embassies France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Turkey, the UK and the USA all have consulates in Alexandria.
Opening hours & LMT Official Egyptian working hours are daily 08001400, with a half day on Thursday and a day off on Fridays and public holidays. It follows that you will avoid any suggestion of overtime charges, either directly or via your agent's fees, if you time your arrival for check-in early in the morning of a working day. Capt. Heebe of the Prince of the Red Sea Agency, however, assures us that in Port Suez no overtime fees are charged to arrange a normal passage with two days notice (i.e. arranged before you arrive) whatever time or day you arrive. Egypt operates a +1 hr daylight saving adjustment in the summer months.
* Page 20 Approach and exit routes: ANS From Sri Lanka
This is the easiest port of call in the N Maldives.
Clear passes into Thiladhunmathee Atoll are:
From N, the deep pass is at 7°07'·2N 72°54'·6E. From SW via 6°53'·0N 72°57'·4E, 6°55'·55N 72°59'·25E, 6°57'·0N 72°58'·3E. From SE, the pass close S of Mulhadhoo, 6°59'·44N 72°59'·35E. From E the pass S of Uligan, 7°04'·192N 72°56'·398E.
For the NE Monsoon (NNE thru ESE winds) anchor in the channel between an off-lying patch and the lagoon border at 07°04'·75N 72°55'·27E, 1014m, sand. It's possible to tuck a bit further N for shallower water, but less swinging room. For the SW Monsoon, (generally W to NW winds), S of island at approx 07°04'·5N 72°55'·9E is deep (<25m) unless you tuck right in and find a clear patch closer to the beach. The area is easy to spot because there is a wide avenue from the beach to the village.
There is a US$5 anchorage fee payable at the Island Office. First, the coastguard (who double as security and customs) will come out in their runabout to conduct a security check. You will be asked to complete clearance forms in duplicate, a vessel details form and a customs declaration. You'll need 3 crew lists. You will receive copies of the forms and a crew list stamped "entry cleared". They'll also tell you the rules. An anchor light is compulsory. No member of the local population is allowed aboard. No one to be ashore from 22000600. No (major) repair work to be done. Any gifts for people ashore must be shown to and approved by the customs officials. No alcohol to be taken ashore. Dress ashore to be modest (shorts OK for ladies if not super short and skin tight).The day before leaving inform the Coastguard. Produce your receipt for the US$5 anchorage fee and DON'T LEAVE until a security check has been completed. This all sounds complicated. It isn't. The officials are delightful and anxious to make things easy.
Hassan of the Sailor's Choice store will probably meet you when you first go ashore and may call you on VHF beforehand. The store (owned by Ahmed Naseer, the local magistrate) has a small range of basics and souvenirs and can arrange limited quantities of diesel @ US$50c/litre by jerry jug. If you want it delivered customs clearance is necessary. There's a phone near the jetty and phonecards (US$3 and US$10) are on sale. Collect calls are expensive. Mail can be sent from Sailor's Choice, US$1 for a letter or card to Europe. They also offer showers and laundry. A supply boat brings replenishment of stores every 710 days. Fresh water in limited quantities is available by jerry-jug for a small fee. Hassan's wife will lay on a wonderful and very beautiful Maldivian vegetarian dinner for US$58 a head (the lower price for 10 people, the higher for 3). AMSCO, the main agent in Mali, also has an office here and you can arrange to buy diesel through them. There is one other small store, Hafolhu, which has much the same range of provisions. It is possible to take a boat to Hanimaadhoo (6°45'N 73°10'E) where there is an airfield with flights to Mali.
Page 21 Southbound Approach Routes
For those who prefer to sail in company, the East Mediterranean Yacht Rally, contactable via at Kemer Marina, Antalya, PO Box 627, Antalya, 07000, Turkey, offers administrative support for cruising in N Egypt and Israel.
Page 23 Routes in the Red Sea: N3SI Bab el Mandeb to Khor Nowarat
The seas in the North Massawa Channel, in even a moderate N'ly, are extremely lumpy and confused. This is a product of three variables. The swell from the constant N winds in the N and central Red Sea. The shoal and very uneven bottom which makes the swell stand up, as well as reflecting it hither, thither and whence. Third, the tendency for the wind at night to blow NW through until 1100 or so, with the sea breeze making in more N to NE from 1200. Together these produce a cross sea over the swell. Life is more comfortable N bound if you wait for quiet weather.
Page 25 Routes: N3N Hurghada to Suez
Anchorages on the E shore of the Gulf of Suez have been found consistently to offer better shelter in strong winds than those on the W shore.
Page 27 The isobar closest to the equator in the central sketch should read 1008 instead of 1016 at its E end.
* Page 34 Forecasts
The official forecasts on Navtex, weatherfax and Inmarsat SafetyNet continue to prove either unreliable or not much help, Red Sea weather being primarily a product of local topography and day and night heating and cooling.
In the Gulf of Suez try contacting rig service helicopters on VHF Ch72.
The most reliable weather information is from Internet weather sites accessible by Inmarsat A, B and mini-M. Alternatively, ask someone who is wired back home to get the 4 or 5-day forecast for your part of the Red Sea from a good website (e.g. www.wetteronline.de) and e-mail it to you via the ham system, Inmarsat or a cyber-cafι.
Page 36 Amateur (Ham) Radio The East Mediterranean Net now goes out on 7096kHz LSB on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 0515UTC. There is often good copy on boats in the N Red Sea. There is another yacht sched on SSB at 0500 GMT on 8101kHz USB, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Depending on propagation, both nets are usable from N Sudan northwards.
The Kenya Indian Ocean Net (5Z4FZ, Tony and Daphne Britchford) is at 0500 GMT daily on 14316kHz, USB. Tony also runs an SSB sched on 8101kHz 08000900LMT (05000600Z), this is usable in the approaches to the Horn of Africa. The Perth, Australia Indian Ocean Net is operated by VK7BO 11151130 GMT on 14332kHz, USB.
Page 40 Currents, Gulf of Aden In winter (January through March) the inshore current between Aden and Ras Kalb can run over 2 knots. In late January 2001, we battled a 2 to 2·3kt current for three days in a flat calm, motoring some 400 miles through the water on a 287 mile rhumbline course!
* Page 44 Navigation WARNING
Although the most recent editions of charts (see Charts page 50 below) from all the major hydrographic offices are reconciled to WGS84, this CANNOT compensate for shortcomings in the original 19th century surveys. Note also that only parts of the Omani coast have been surveyed to ANY WGS datum. Three points of navigational importance follow. First, always navigate, even with GPS, with circles of probable error (CEPs) of at least 2 miles, and at night at least 5 miles. Second, navigating by GPS alone in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden is stupid. Do not do it. Make daylight landfalls and use hand-bearing compass and radar, if you have it, to establish WGS84-to-chart error factors. Third, treat ALL waypoints with appropriate caution, including ALL those given below, and NEVER assume that the waters between, close to or at waypoints are free of hazard.
* Page 48 Anchorages According to Law 102 of 1983, it is illegal on the Egyptian Red Sea coast to anchor on reefs (i.e. put anchor or chain on or over any living reef), spearfish whether snorkelling or scuba diving, collect corals or shells (whether the inhabitants are alive or dead), fish with net, line or rod and line, dump rubbish, feed the fish and walk on, disturb, break or damage reefs.
A positive result has been the laying of moorings to reduce damage to reefs from the out of control dive tourism industry. The project was carried out by the Hurghada Environmental Protection & Conservation Association (HEPCA) funded by the US Government Aid Agency (USAID) and backed by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). There are137 from Gez Zabargad to Safaga, 72 in the Safaga area, a massive concentration of 277 around Hurghada and 50 in the waters N of Hurghada. There are equivalents in the Ras Mohammed National Park. The same is planned in the Elat/Aqaba area.
The moorings are either marked by an orange buoy about 0·5m in diameter or by floating pick-up ropes. Each is designed to take several large boats. They are not regularly serviced, so have a good look before trusting one. They have been laid tight up in the lee of reefs on the supposition that prevailing winds will hold boats clear.
The simple rule is, minimize all damage to coral.
* Page 50 Charts The new BA small scale passage charts BA157, BA158, BA159 are fully reconciled to WGS84 and, thanks to satellite imagery, give a much superior picture of the reefs than the old fathoms charts. However, that there has been no new survey so some gremlins and inaccuracies may still exist. Note also that to clear its yardarm, in depicting hazards the UKHO has erred on the side of caution and continuous reef is sometimes shown where there are outcrops in otherwise clear water.
* Page 50 Satellite Navigation Systems
There are marked discrepencies between WGS84, the default datum for most GPS receivers, and older charts. Known areas of error are parts of the Eritrean coast and between the N of the Shubuk Channel and the Port Sudan Area where errors of up to 0·7M have been noted. There are also errors of a cable or more for some large scale plans in the Gulf of Aden, including Mukalla. Use GPS for navigating from A to B but not for pilotage when near A or B. Be cautious about using any GPS position as a destination. Allow a margin of error and always use other navigational aids, the Mk 1 eyeball, radar, echo sounder and hand-bearing compass as a check.
* Page 51/52 RDF
This is now obsolete and most beacons are no longer listed although they may continue to transmit.
* Page 54 Ground tackle
Coral reefs are badly damaged by anchors and chains. Always anchor in clear sand and be sure your chain does not drag over coral. The technique of using a reef anchor and dropping back advised in earlier supplements is a reef killer. Do not use it unless desperate (see also page 48 above).
* Page 57 GMDSS
DO NOT RELY ON INMARSAT, EPIRB, VHF DSC, MF/HF DSC, STANDARD VHF OR SSB DISTRESS ALERTING particularly if you are victim of armed robbery at sea. Ships will ignore you even if they are only half a mile away. Whatever the sea's code of honour, the code of practice of the bean counters in head office rules. Ships don't stop.
Satellite alerting is not much better. Whether on an EPIRB or via Inmarsat, it alerts Europe or wherever. They contact relatives and may alert the consul in the nearest consulate. Don't hope for much else.
The Red Sea is a GMDSS black hole. Even on paper services are thin in all sea areas (A1, A2 and A3). In practice they are non-existent. The same is true for SAR services. In principle Jeddah is a GMDSS MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) and Port Sudan an MRSC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Sub-centre). Bar those in Israel, and possibly Jordan and Saudi Arabia, port authorities tasked with SAR duties for the Red Sea, have pathetic communications facilities and no SAR resources (boats, helicopters, etc.) to deploy. So, although an MRCC may know of your squawk for help, only in the N Red Sea is official SAR help possible, though not probable. In the S Red Sea and Gulf of Aden forget it. In principle the gap is filled by shipping but see above. In practice the false alarm rate with GMDSS is still so great that alerts are frequently disregarded and in some ships the audible alarm silenced.
GMDSS is a developed world, desk-bound bureaucrats' conceit that left out of consideration the 99% of mariners who go to sea in non-SOLAS small craft. Don't rely on it when in developing world waters.
Page 58 Radio
Port Authority frequencies N Approaches to Red Sea, add:
Egypt. Alexandria. Call Alexandria Port Control. Ch 16.
Port Authority Frequencies: Eritrea
Response to radio calls from yachts to port authorities was generally good in 2000.
Page 59 Marinas, Israel, add:
Ashkelon Marina VHF Ch 11, 16.
Page 61 Marine mammals
Killer whales are known occasionally to attack boats. The Red Sea is no exception in this regard and there has been a recent report of such an incident 150M S of Port Sudan. A 180mm (7") hole was punched in the hull. An underwater epoxy repair kit was an essential item of safety equipment.
Page 65 Malaria Malaria can be a problem if you visit any of the Red Sea countries during the rainy season which is roughly between October and February in the S Red Sea and October to December in Sudan.
Treatment with Halofantrine (Halfan) is now usually only recommended under medical supervision. Instead, for chloroquine-resistant malaria, give the following dosage. For three days, 600mg of Quinine, three times a day; then, after the last dose of Quinine, three Fansidar tablets in a single dose. For non-chloroquine-resistant malaria, give three Fansidar tablets as a single dose. Doxycycline is sometimes recommended as a prophylactic but is unsuitable on yachts because of side-effects associated with exposure to the sun.
* Page 68 Mina Salalah
Approach The port has undergone extensive changes recently. Charts may be out of date and our sketch should be amended. The old N breakwater and western end have been replaced by a new conspicuous container terminal with 12 large container gantries. Two pairs of port and starboard-hand buoys lead to the port entrance as well as a set of directional lights (stay in the white sector). Where yachts used to anchor has now been dredged, along with most of the inner port and approaches, to 16m. There is a new fishermen's basin with sea walls to the N of Mina Salalah, but yachts use the main port. Head for the last but one basin on the S side of the port.
Other amendments to the sketch will show the port entrance W of the road T junction AND crossroads not E of both where it is shown.The police post is now W of the crossroads, with Customs in the next building W. The Port Administration is further W still, slightly N of where the road running W from the new position of the entrance meets the NW/SE road looping from the hill S of the port to Salalah. Port Health are inside the port on the S side of the road where Police is marked on the sketch. The road running N from just inside the port entrance towards the airport leads to a closed, Omani military base area. N of the airport the Y junction is a roundabout. There is an Omani Special Forces enclosure beside the area where the tap is marked. The 'kiosk' (a small shop) is between the two port buildings SW of four smaller, yellow cranes on the smaller craft wharf ENE of where you anchor.
Anchorage Yachts now anchor in the last but one basin on the S side of the port in 47m, reasonable holding. The port authority may ask you to shift around. Note, the Royal Navy of Oman has its base at the SW end of the basin where you'll anchor. Their locally based patrol boat exits regularly stern first. It needs room to manoeuvre. A clear lane at least 3040m wide needs to be left on the E side of the basin.
Formalities On arrival (fly Q) the customs will come alongside and complete all necessary procedures. They will take your passports and issue a shore pass. If you intend to stay more than a week you should apply for a visa on arrival. See page 3. There are no clearance facilities on festival days or public holidays, e.g. Eid al Fitr which is a 4 day festival at the end of Ramadan.
Facilities The wash block's showers and toilets are not very tempting but there is a good laundry area. Laundries are plentiful in the town. Small quantities of water are easily obtained at the tap. For larger amounts, go to the port administration office (outside the main gates on the left) and pay 1 Omani rial (approx US$2.5). You will be given a receipt and can then arrange with port control on VHF Ch16 where to go alongside at a mutually convenient time to water ship. Fuel is available in jerry cans from service stations in the town or by arrangement with Salalah Port Services for delivery by tanker if you want a large quantity. LPG is also available from the industrial area. Services are continuing to improve, haulout is now possible. The new International Project Services have chandlery and provisions and do repairs. There is a nearby bar and restaurant called the Oasis, though it is expensive. Cash is available from ATMs and this is a good place to get US$ for the trip up the Red Sea. There are several excellent supermarkets, good cybercafes and fresh produce is readily available in the market. Good provisioning at Cold Storage (aka Spinneys). If you buy enough, both you and your stores can be delivered. The PO is not very easy to find but is in an elaboarte low rise building next door to the Telecoms centre. The latter is conspic with a radio mast and telephone painted on a tower, N of the shopping area.
Page 70 Nishtun The GPS latitude and longitude shown on the large scale BA plan are out. A position a few metres from the light on the E mole (Fl.R.3s) is 14°49'·14N, 50°11'·80E. Local officials make yachts welcome. Fuel is available for reasonable prices, if you're prepared to bargain. Drinking water is delivered by truck. Some provisions are available in the village. An agent (Mr Abrahim) can arrange a trip to Al Ghaydah, some 50km N, the provincial capital.
Page 71 Ras Qusayir The anchorage area is pretty much taken up by local boats and you'll have to fit in where you may. A stern anchor is essential. Access to the anchorage N of the islets is usually blocked by local dhows. Qusayir is now a small town and by the small bay W of the point there is a village, Al Qurayn.
Page 71 Ras Sharma A stunning spot with excellent holding and little swell tucked in the bay immediately W of the headland. Jazirat Sharma is in two bits, a stack and a pyramid. On the neck of land between Ras Sharma and Mashar Shabir there is a police post. The police will come out and check your papers. They and the local fishermen are very friendly. The position needs amending as do BA coordinates. The anchorage is in 14°49'·5N, 50°01'·4E.
Page 71 Al Mukalla
Approach The anchorage is in the old dhow harbour, clear of the charted wreck. It is possible to enter at night when the area is very conspicuous and well lit from Bandar Burum to Ras Marbat. A GPS position for the anchorage is 14°1'·4N, 49°08'E. Note that the BA large scale plan lat and long are each out by about a cable. Anchor fore and aft to counter ground swell between the wrecks and the seawall, where the anchor symbol is shown on the sketch. The larger, S'most wreck, of the Maldive Image, now comprises only the central accommodation structure. The N'most wreck is only an engine block. Two other wrecks are of the coaster Amour on the sea wall immediately N of the anchorage and a large wreck, in the process of being cut up, right on the tip of Old Mukalla promontory.
The green light on the mosque is no longer conspic on the approach. There has been reclamation all along the coast and around the point, so the coastline is not as shown. Land dinghies at the obvious ramp on the quay E of the anchorage area. The new Khalf Harbour is busy with commercial shipping and it is difficult to find a secure berth. It remains the only secure anchorage in the SW Monsoon. A waypoint for the approach is 14°29'N, 49°10'E. From here you can easily find the entrance.
Formalities Yachts are warmly received by the authorities. Security clearance from Aden is no longer required. Formalities can be completed at any time but normal office hours are Saturday Wednesday 08001300 and 16002000. Check-in is completed aboard if you radio ahead on VHF Ch16 giving your ETA. You will be asked for crew lists. Shore passes, usually valid for about 3 days, are issued at the Immigration Office near the ramp E of the anchorage where you can leave dinghies. Visas can be obtained for inland travel for US$8090. Fees are much cheaper in Aden and at embassies abroad. Crew leaving yachts here can travel to the airport without visas if they are checked in as ship's crew.
Facilities Make arrangements with the Port Captain for a night-watchman if you want to leave your boat unattended. Modest fees. A weather forecast is available from the Port Captain. Local unofficial agents include Eskander Fadhel. His prices for fuel, water, gas and laundry are moderate. For small quantities you can buy fuel at one of the town's service stations and take it direct aboard, though be prepared for a customs check. Be prepared also for fuel stations being out of diesel. If you use take the jerry can route and prefer not to use an agent (see below) write a letter of request to the harbourmaster's office. They will issue a chit allowing you to load the amount you've indented for. That way you'll avoid problems with customs. Fuel is more expensive but conveniently available alongside the fishing dock in Khalf Harbour by prior arrangement with the port manager. Tap water for washing is available for a few rials from restaurants by jerry. Drinking water approx US25c for 20 litres, by jerry can. If you need a lot of water it is possible to arrange for delivery by tanker to the jetty. There is between 2·6m and 2·9m alongside at HHW springs. The town is good for provisioning, though not as cheap as Aden. There is a convenient Internet cafe about 50m from the dinghy landing point. The PO is about 500m away on the waterfront. DHL and Fedex are also in Mukalla. There is good photo processing by a new Kodak outlet on the waterfront road. Use a moneychanger on the main street for exchanging US$.
Page 73 Ras Maqdaha
The position given in the text is in clear water 12M SW of the anchorages. Ras Maqdaha itself is in 14°01'N, 48°28'E. The passage between Barraqah I and the mainland is clear, deep (27m) and about 0·5M wide.
Page 74 Bandar Husn Al Ghurab and Bir Ali
The sketch is very approximate. Recent reports indicate no passage N of Halaniya I. A sand bar with <2·5m over it connects it to the mainland. There is further confirmation that the bay is probably best avoided except for a brief stop if you fancy exploring. The inner part of the bay N of Jabal Husn al Ghurab is very shoal with no easily accessible inner anchorage. The outer anchorage is exposed to the swell. Bir Ali does not get a good press, even from the local policeman! Final entry to the bay requires extra care. A recent visitor reported access to be very difficult and the anchorage not really recommended. In E'lies, try anchoring in the lee of Halaniya I.
Ras ar Ratl In NE Monsoon fair protection only and shelter is better at Balihaf.
Balihaf Calm in NE monsoon with very good protection but anchor well out to avoid rocks off the coast, or eyeball your way in through the reefs to tuck in out of the swell. Village reported abandoned 1996. The Aden authorities in 2000 reported new prosperity thanks to the oil/LNG terminal a few miles W. There is a local military presence. If you plan stopping, let the authorities in Aden or Mukalla know so they can advise the military. Central government control of the coasts of Abyan and Shabwa Governorates is not absolute!
Maqatin Ground swell during NE monsoon.
* Page 76 Aden
Note Captain Ali, the Aden harbourmaster, is a good source of information about cruising along the coast of Yemen. Ask him about piracy, Bab el Mandeb and which of the Straits to use.
Approach There is an isolated danger spar buoy in the Inner Harbour, N of the usual yacht anchorage at 12°47'·508N, 44°58'·300E. It is close N of a wreck over which there should be enough water for most yachts.
Formalities The Immigration Office is at the E end of the pier. Multiple copies of crew lists, copies of the back pages of passports and one photo per crew member are required. Crews without visas will be issued shore passes when you check in with Immigration. Visas are also available here for approx $60 if you want to travel inland. Note the error in the direction of the Harbourmaster's office from the pier. It should read "westwards" as shown in the sketches, not "eastwards". Check in here after clearing Customs and Immigration. On departure, go first to Immigration, then to the Harbourmaster for outward clearance, then back to Immigration. Duty stamps are no longer required. Government offices and embassies are closed Thursday pm and Friday. Egyptian visas can usually be obtained in one day on application at the Egyptian embassy for about US$20. Payment must be be in Rials.
Facilities The easiest way to obtain diesel is from the Aden Bunkering Company (ABC). No customs clearance is required. Go alongside ABC any morning except Thursday or Friday. It's filthy but has a minimum 3m. Walk to the administration block on the waterfront at the N of the compound. Tell them how much you want and they'll issue a bill to take to the cashier in the building near the entrance gate on the W side towards the S of the compound. Pay in US$ only (approx US25c per litre). Get a chit. Go back to the admin block, which issues an order for your fuel. When finished go back to the admin block for a receipt. If you've loaded less than you paid for, you'll get a chit to take to the cashier for a refund.
If you only need a relatively small amount of fuel, write an official request addressed to Police and Customs. Ask a taxi driver to take you to the relevant offices. They will stamp your request and with that authorization you can get diesel and petrol by jerrycan very cheaply at a nearby service station. Payment is usually in US$ only. Customs may stop you on your return and ask to see your authorization. For paraffin and LPG ask a taxi driver. Both Omar and Hussein have retired. Hiring taxis by the hour is reasonable but ask other boats about prices and be prepared to negotiate. Some of the touts can be a nuisance.
No charge is made for water taken by jerry from the quay but a nominal charge of US$3 is made if you lie alongside to water ship. Block ice is available at the fish-market. Arrange delivery with a taxi driver.
Duty-free deliveries have not been available recently. Credit cards were not taken by any banks in early 2001 but you can arrange for fund transfers by fax or phone via the Arab Bank in Maala or via Western Union in Crater. International phone and fax services are ubiquitous. There is a good Internet cafe on the main Street in Maala opposite the new Maala Plaza, a modern conspicuous building decorated with flags. There is excellent provisioning (avoid the overpriced Khormaksar supermarkets and shop in good small supermarkets in Maala instead). Alcohol is expensive. There is a new post office in Tawahi between the pier and the harbourmaster's office but mail can be very slow in arriving. Fedex and DHL have offices in Aden, but importing equipment is a bureaucratic nightmare which even the locals advise against.
Page 78 Ras Imran The anchorage in the crescent of the old crater is at 12°44'·41N, 44°42'·60E, a lovely spot. The reefs shown in the sketch are mostly not reefs but sandy shallows. The local fishermen, of whom there are lots and lots, are curious, friendly and in regular attendance. They will happily sell you fish and some will ask for baksheesh. Note that in the approaches to Ras Imran at night, unlit huris at anchor are quite common, so keep a good look out.
Under Conspicuous, for ½ M further W, read ½ M further E.
Page 78 Ras al Arah
For a quieter anchorage, try S of the village, abeam a group of rusty tanks (the military sort with guns). The wreck marked on the sketch has been removed. Sea breezes can be strong on this section of the coast, with less wind offshore. Friendly people in the village where basic supplies are available. Local military are likely to visit to see papers.
* Page 79 Suqutra
The Aden harbourmaster advises yachts wishing to visit the E part of Suqutra where a welcome is assured to leave from Mukalla and to inform the harbourmaster there first. They will contact Suqutra to let them know you are coming.
* Page 79 Somalia
The situation in Somalia remains unsettled. Should any yacht be in need of help while off the Somalian coast, the French navy at Djibouti will respond to distress calls received on SSB 2182kHz. Armed escorts for boats passing through the area can be arranged, but these are very high cost operations. A group of 5 yachts paid US$250,000 for a ten day escort from Aden to Jeddah in spring 2001! We don't think the risks warrant the outlay but include the details nonetheless. The company concerned is the Hart Group Ltd, Boosaaso.
Contact Hart Nimrod (Bermuda), tel +252 5 726121/826005, phonefax +252 523 6104, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
* Page 8284 Djibouti
Approach All navaids and lights were in place recently.
Formalities Call the Harbourmaster on approach, VHF Ch16. Make sure you've got your courtesy flag hoisted. They care. The recommended check in procedure is now to take you dinghy to the harbour and leave it at the steps in the NNW corner of the basin and walk to to the Port Captain, Immigration and Harbourmaster's offices about 150m away. It is not advisable to land at the Club Nautique until you have checked in. Visas cost approx US$20 in 2000 and were valid for 10 days. Passports may be held for an hour or two for processing. Payment in US$ or Djibouti francs. French citizens need no visa unless they stay over 3 months. Port dues vary according to tonnage, time in harbour, etc. For an average 12m boat they work out at about US$5 per day and are payable when you clear out with the port captain. Offices are generally open 08001400, closed Thursday pm and Friday.
Facilities Fuel from the filling station next to the Club Nautique is expensive, like everything else in Djibouti. The alternative is to arrange for fuel to be delivered. This involves paperwork. Calculate how much you need, tell the port captain and ask him which berth you should use. He will give you instructions on how to proceed. Payment must be made in advance, either in US$ or Djibouti F. With paperwork complete you can arrange with the Total depot, outside the port gates, a time for bunkering in the port. If several yachts needing fuel join forces for this exercise you wll probably save time. Whatever you might think of the fuel depot's environmental sensitivity, be careful not to spill fuel as you may be charged for the clean up. Check water carefully. It can be brackish. Taxis into town are expensive @ approx US$3. Exchange is available at money changers as well as banks and duty free shops. Cash advances can be usually be obtained on credit cards. The tourist office is in the Place du 27 juin. A dive company offers services to yachts in transit. Contact Bruno Pardigon of Dolphin Excursions, PO Box 4476. Dankali Expeditions, a branch of the same company has a website, www.dankali.com e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +253 35 03 13, Fax +253 35 03 80. Egyptian visas are available at the embassy here for about US$20 with an overnight delay. Eritrean visas may also be available for about US$30 when diplomatic relations are restored.
Page 86 Tadjoura
Replace Duc d'Alb by Dolphin. Our Johnsonian mistake. The Duc d'Alb is not a permanently moored ship as ignorance led us to imply. Duc d'Alb or Duc d'Albe is the French term for a pile dolphin or mooring cluster. The English 'dolphin' comes from what was once a floating permanent mooring, a baulk of timber with a ring at each end, supposed to look like a dolphin. The German Duckdalben, like the French comes, obscurely, from the Duke of Alba. He was the Spanish Viceroy in the Netherlands in the 16th century. His ruthless, but unsuccessful attempt to enforce Spanish hegemony seems to have led the Dutch to use his name for such a mooring as of about 1567. Perhaps he was a stick-in-the-mud.
Page 86 Obock
Obock has been reported a sheltered harbour of refuge. A waypoint for the beginning of the 'fairway' into the harbour has been reported as 11°56'·772N 43°18'·563E.
Page 87 Ras Bab el Mandeb
There are occasional military patrols in both Small and Large Straits and there is an extensive prohibited area around Mayyun (Perim I). You will be asked to show your papers if the military comes to check you. Boats stopped recently on their way through have had no problems that a friendly welcome, promptly proffered papers and a soft drink and some cigarettes didn't solve. As we say, Mayyun (Perim I) is restricted but if you are at anchor elsewhere and plead stress of weather or engine trouble you will probably get permission to stay overnight at least. Co-operation with the authorities here, as in the rest of the Red Sea usually works fine.
In fresh SE'lies currents can set NNW <6 knots in both straits. The anchorage NW of Shaikh Malu can be rolly. In strong SE'lies it's worth trying further north where the half anchor is shown.
Page 8990 Dumeira I
Boats that stopped here recently reported good holding and protection from S'lies but with strong gusts coming off the hillside.
* Note: Southern Eritrean waters
You may be checked by military patrols if you anchor in S Eritrean coastal waters which are still a sensitive area. Boats anchoring at Ras Terma and in the Rubetino Channel have been moved on but officials are helpful and will usually suggest alternative anchorages in adverse weather.
* Page 90 Assab (Aseb was the old Ethiopian spelling)
Note Proceed with caution when sailing in Eritrean waters S of Massawa and to be sure of an easy passage if you want to stop, get a visa either before you reach Eritrean waters or as soon as possible thereafter. Assab is open to cruising and the authorities issue permit for sailing N. Characteristics of lights are the reverse of those shown. Light on North Jetty, Q.G; light on S end of breakwater, F.G. Call Port Control on VHF Ch 16 or Ch 12 on approach to enquire about berthing. You can get up into the corner W of South Jetty for better protection from the N but in a SE'ly the anchorage is uncomfortable and it may be worth enquiring about berthing inside South Jetty. Listen out for Immigration on Ch 16 or call them. Immigration fees and port dues have ranged from US$17US$35 per boat in recent years depending on nationality. Visas can be obtained in advance in Djibouti or in Massawa. Without a visa you will be restricted to the port area where the only facility is a duty-free shop. No Customs check-in. Facilities are poor but you can usually find the basics.
To find the nearest bank, PO and telecommunications office, turn right at the end of the approach road to the port. The bank here is more convenient than in Massawa. Diesel is available by jerrycan from a Shell station. Keep left at the end of the approach road then take the road that forks right to the top of the hill. The garage is on the right, about ½ M from the port entrance. Good water is available from the fishing boat jetty near the root of South Jetty, again by jerry. There are small groceries and a market within 10 minutes walk of the port. The Eritrean weekend is Saturday/Sunday.
The recent war, whatever the public statements, was as much about Ethiopia's desire for a blue water port as anything else. The town was knocked about badly during the conflict and the port is dilapidated. Harena boatyard on Lahaleb Deset is run by Kibrom. VHF Ch 69. Urgent repairs can be done but this is a naval base so you may need to explain.
Page 93 Ras Terma
Buildings and a breakwater come pier approx 1M NE of the anchorage have been reported. These are part of a new military base and you will be asked to move on. It is best either to anchor in the S part of the bay where shown, or for a short stop to anchor in the lee of the tombolo (sand isthmus) at the very tip of Ras Terma. However, there is a guardpost here (no guards visible in 2001) so approach cautiously and don't go ashore.
Page 9394 Beraisole Bahir Selate
Yachts that wanted to stop here to take shelter in early 2001 were asked by the military to anchor N of Dannabah I. The reef show here on the sketch and on the BA chart is not reef but sand with excellent holding and shelter in SE'lies. The inner bay is a restricted area so the good anchorage S of Candana I (unnamed on sketch), SE of Selafi I (see also below) is now off limits. Insert name 'Candana It' for the small, unnamed islet approx 0·8M SSE of the highest point of Selafi I. Delete the 2m sounding between the 5·4 and 2·8 soundings E and ESE of Candana It and insert 1m.
Page 94 Mersa Dudo
This is a spectacular anchorage with excellent shelter and holding in the prevailing SE'lies. Monte Dudo is low lying compared to Monte Endel, at 212m itself no mountain. In the bay W of Monte Dudo the anchor symbol should be moved S and W. Anchor about 100m off the beach in 57m. The wreck in the cove S of the anchorage on the W side of Monte Dudo is conspic. Secca Scilla is the name of a submerged spit with 6·7m (22 feet) over its outer end 2M NW of Monte Dudo, BA143 shows it clearly. Anchorage S of Sadla (Little Abail, 13°52'·2N, 41°56'·33E) has been recommended although a slight swell makes in. You can anchor either side of the sand tombolo which joins the two parts of Little Abail. North of Little Abail a good anchorage for SE'ly is at 13°53'·17N 41°56'·42E. The wind whistles through the gap, but the protection from sea and swell is good. The anchorage marked on the sketch at Abeilat (Gt Abail I) was recently tried. Good holding in sand, 910m, at 13°53'·26N, 41°59'·53E. Reef extends SW and SE off the island.
Page 95 Bay of Ed
Longitude should read 41°E, not 11°E.
Page 95 Kordumiat Deset
Anchor in 810m, sand at 14°06'·24N, 41°40'·13E. This is a bit iffy except in quiet weather because the wind howls down the steep bluffs and round the island.
Page 96 Ras Anrata/Anfile Bay
An anchorage with good protection from N through to SE is off the beach on the N side of Hant Deset. Passage through between Handa Deset and Hant Deset has a least depth of 3·2m at LAT, though depending on track 4m to 5m s more usual. Don't turn S too soon into the anchorage. The shoal N of the E end of Hant Deset hooks round a long way.
Anchorage under Ras Anfile is reported to have poor protection in an ESE'ly and doubtful for a SE'ly. Better anchorage is reported round the W end of Derebsasa Deset where the reef joins the W end of the island. Here, N of the reef, off the W tip of Derebsasa, anchor in 4·5m with good shelter and good holding in moderate-strong winds. Anchorage positions have also been reported as 14°46'80N 40°48'·0E and 14°47'·757N 40°47'·330E, the latter, in 5m, average holding, is said to be 'no paradise'· An anchorage with little shelter but quite good holding has been used at 14°44'·810N, 40°54'·287E in 10m, sand on a spit near Derebsasa Deset (Daramsas Islet) where there was a current of approximately 1 knot.
The Sha'b Shaks light is extinguished but the settlement at Tio (Thio) has buildings which are lit in the evening. The beacon on Derebsasa Deset is missing. An overnight anchorage can be had in SE'lies in the lee of Estam Aghe, N of the SE tending reef tongue. This is much used by fishermen.
Page 9899 Mersa Fatma & Howakil Bay
The concrete base of the old, dismantled lighthouse on Umm es Sahrig is still conspicuous on approach to Howakil Bay. The island has anchorages good for both N'ly and S'ly winds. There is an anchorage under the SW tip of Umm es Sahrig in 5m sand at 15°04'·61N, 40°28'·61E. You can also anchor on the NW side of the island in SE'lies. The anchorage between Adjuz and Howakil Is is at 15°12'·13N, 40°14'·39E, in 89m, sand. There is shoal ground further in, though deeper on the Adjuz side. Off the SW side of Adjuz, the anchorage is tucked well into the small bay. We have been given anchorage positions at Adjuz as follows. The W anchorage for E or SE winds, in 10m, 15°14'·19N 40°13'·67E; the S anchorage 15°12'·73N 40°14'·81E and 15°12'·79N 40°14'·312E. In the latter, fishermen have approached and ask for medicines. Other anchorages abound and Howakil Bay is quite fun to explore.
Page 103 Port Smyth & Shumma I
The light on the S end of island was not working recently. A GPS position for the anchorage is 15°32'·27N, 39°59'·42E. Walking, wildlife and snorkelling all worth a stop.
Page 103 Massawa
Note: The old, Ethiopian spelling for the town was Mitsiwa, thus the name you find on some charts. These days it's Massawa again.
Approach The port is easy to see, day or night. The GPS position between the breakwaters in the top sketch of Massawa and adjacent waters should be 15°36'·96N, 39°29'E. Lights in the area continue to be unreliable, including Assarca Lt but lights on Madote I and Ras Fatuma (Fl(3)26s10M) were working recently. There are no working lights when approaching from the N until close to Massawa. The wreck charted between the breakwaters appears to have been salvaged. The wreck at the inner end of the leading line is surrounded by an oil containment boom. Arriving at night is not recommended. The authorities may ask you to anchor outside the breakwaters in deep water if you arrive after 17001800. There is no shelter from the SE and Khor Dakliyat is a naval base and a restricted area. However a recent night arrival was allowed to anchor WSW of the salt works pier on the N of the harbour until they checked in the next the morning. They were told to anchor opposite the W end of the wharves in approx 15°36'·8N, 39°28'·45E. Try to contact Port Control on VHF Ch 16 on approach.
Formalities You will normally be told to go alongside where immigration and quarantine officials will come to you. This may involve going alongside a tug if the port is busy. If you get no response on VHF, enter the harbour and either tie up wherever there is a space or anchor off, in the position given above, well clear of the ship manoeuvring area, and take the dinghy ashore. You must only go ashore via the steps at the main wharf, either just to seaward of the security gate (15°36'·75N, 39°28'·3E) or at the steps at the extreme W end of the secure port area (15°35'·8, 39°28'·33E) beyond the tug berths. The immigration and quarantine offices are in the white, verandahed, 2-storied stone and timber building set back towards the E end of the port area opposite the ornate, if tattered Port Offices. You will complete the usual bumf with, in addition, a requirement to write out a "nil declaration" stating that you carry no passengers, pets, stowaways or drugs.
There is no charge at this stage. Temporary shore passes are issued. If you want to stay more than a couple of days or go up to Asmara you must apply for a visa at another Immigration Office just outside the security gate on the left before the ruined town hall. To do this you will need a chitty from the port Immigration Office to hand over, with your shore pass, in exchange for the visa. Visas valid for 1 month cost US$30 plus, quaintly, a fee of 2.50 nakfa (approx US20c) to pay for the brown card cover for your personal file. You will need one photo per person. Passports and visas or shore passes should be carried at all times when ashore.
To clear out, it is better if you give advance notice. You must go back alongside the wharf where a quick check aboard is carried out for stowaways. Offices are closed 12001600, after 1800, on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.
Note: The Eritrean authorities are in the process of regulating tourist activity on the coast and offshore islands. Most of the Dahlak Bank has now been designated a national park (the Dahlak Marine National Park). Officially, foreign visitors to the offshore islands in the park require a permit from the Ministry of Tourism which has offices in Asmara and Massawa. Charges are US$20 per crew for an unlimited period. Yachts passing through have not normally been charged. If you insist on being proper, apply via the Tourism Office on Taulud Island on the left side of the main road to the mainland beyond the conspic new hotel come office block.
Anchorage There are only 2 mooring buoys at the E entrance to the narrows which lead to the anchorage in Taulud Bay. They usually have trawlers or coasters on them. There is a small red plastic buoy off the pier by the Old Governor's Palace with the ruined dome, which lies on roughly the 2m line of extensive shoal ground. In the anchorage itself there are 3 new mooring buoys in approx 15°36'·675N 39°27'·85E, 2 of which have unlit large LASH lighters attached. These limit the space available unless you go further SW into Taulud Bay. The position of the anchorage closest to the dinghy landing point is 15°36'·76N 39°27'·845E. Good holding. Most wrecks have now been cleared and lie in a wild jumble on the NE shore of the anchorage area. Dinghies are tied up at the W end of the port (position as above) beyond where the tugs berth and, as in many ports, a filthy spot. Note that there is an outboard biting bommie between the anchorage and the landing steps OUTSIDE the charted 2m line and ESE of the end of the pier from the old palace.
Facilities Ice, water and fuel are available for a reasonable charge from the fishing cooperative WNW of the old Governor's palace. You can buy mineral water in 20-litre jerries from a bottling plant in Edaga for approx US$3 each. Water in large quantities can be delivered by truck to the port by arrangement with the Fire Department. Gas must be brought from Asmara. US$ can be changed at banks, some shops and restaurants. An excellent laundry service is run by Mike, who tries to meet all yachts after they've checked in. He is a mine of information and a general helper. If you need repairs, try the Government shipyard on the N side of Taulud Bay (ask for Mr Afwerki) or enquire at the Eritrean Shipping Agency outside the port entrance. Unless you carry slings so you can use a mobile crane, haul-out isn't really feasible with the local drag-and-chock method on the slipways. There is a machine shop equipped and maintained to very high standards in the road behind the PO on the SW (right) side not far from the Red Sea Cinema. Otherwise services are primitive and hardware very difficult to find, but they will try to oblige. There are good groceries on Port (Massawa) I, e.g. the Massawa and Bella Vista supermarkets. There is a small market nearby but a better market is across the causeway, near the bus station for Asmara in Edaga, which is 'market' in the local language. We can recommend the Massawa Restaurant for local cuisine and good value. Locally-produced beers and spirits are cheap and good. Wine is also produced with grape juice imported from Italy. It is not so good.
Communications The PO handles international calls and faxes. Faxes can also sometimes be sent via the shipping agents along the waterfront. There was ostensibly an e-mail service in late 2000 not far from the port but there were technical problems when we were there and we had to go to Asmara where rates were cheap @ approx US$1 per hour. There is an inefficient DHL Office on Taulud Island almost opposite the Dahlak Hotel (on the left at the end of the causeway from Port Island) and just beyond the new town hall. Deliveries from the US take at least 6 days and there are customs fees for the escort to bring the goods under customs seal from Asmara.
General In Asmara, which is well worth a visit, you can find most things. Hotel rates have gone up and despite the country's poverty the standard of living here in the capital is generally higher than on much of the Red Sea coast. Bus trips to Asmara are easy to arrange, with spectacular scenery. To find the right bus take a yellow minibus to the long distance bus station in Edaga from the old train halt opposite the PO. It's about a 15-minute ride. The journey to Asmara takes about 4 hours and costs about US$1 single fare. With enough people a minibus can be chartered for the trip for approx US$40. The journey is then just 2 hours. Cars can be hired in Asmara at reasonable rates. The local language is called Tigrinya. Despite Eritrea being the country with the second lowest GDP in the world, Massawa is an amazingly happy, friendly place where the first words you'll often hear are, "Welcome to our country, welcome." And the speaker clearly means it whether government official or local shopkeeper. That said, the UN Food aid ships unloading grain, the UNMEE (UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea) ships unloading helicopters, housing, tanks, trucks and all the paraphernalia of international peacekeeping and the looming grey bulk of the Dutch LPD at anchor off the port are a reminder of the other side of the coin. The war last year was the largest conventional passage of arms in Africa since the Second World War, tens of thousands were killed and wounded as the many mutilated victims in Massawa attest. The hotels have many young ladies swanning around reputed to be interested in business be wary, AIDS is a problem here.
Page 105 Sheikh el Abu
The sketch is very misleading. This is potentially a far better and larger anchorage than shown and in N'lies shelter is better than at Difnein (see below). In effect the lagoon NW of Harat Island can be entered easily between Harat and Sheikh el Abu. It offers holding in 5m to 14m sand depending on where you stop, protected from the N by the fringing reef joining the W of Sheikh el Abu I to the W side of Harat I. We say potentially a better anchorage because the chart shows Sheikh el Abu and Harat Is sharing a large rock platform. It follows that the layer of sand on the bottom in the lagoon may not be very thick, as is often the case on the Dahlak Bank. Security would require plenty of scope.
There are a few bommies in the lagoon but they show up in daylight. The colour of the water on the approach is misleading with dark greenish water over coral and rock at depths between 6m and 16m changing abruptly to pale turquoise water over sand at the same depth. An approach due N from approx 16°01'·75N, 39°27'·25E is in depths of >14m. In many places the depths over this line are consistent at 15m or more. You can push on N deep into the lagoon with depths steadily decreasing to some 7m between Sheikh el Abu and Harat and <4m thereon. The lagoon looks very shoal in the hook formed by the S end of Harat I. To find shelter in the prevailing E to SE'ly sea breeze, you would need to stand well in to get a lee from Harat. Alternatively an iffy anchorage not shown on the sketch can be had in the lee of the reef joining Shekh el Abu to Harat.
The light was not working in late 2000.
Page 105 Difnein
Do not go ashore here. There is a warning about mines on the beach. There are anchorages over sand on the N and S sides with that in the N having better shelter if the wind is SE. The S anchorage is at 16°36'·4N, 39°19'·7E in 1215m. With the wind in the NW it is rolly, but bearable once the wind swings N'ly with the advent of the sea breeze. You need to anchor close in because it is very steep-to, dropping to 20m within 75m of the beach and then swiftly to 60m. Glowing reports have been received of the anchorage a bit further W at 16°36'·5N, 39°19'·2E, in 1012m of clear water where you can swim with dolphins if you are lucky. The light, which overlooks the N anchorage, about which we have little information, was not working in late 2000.
Page 106 Hanish Is
These now seem to be open to cruisers again but you may be harassed by Yemeni military and there have been instances of their trying to extort fees of US$30 for anchoring. If you're nervous or reluctant to hassle with the military, avoid the place. If you must go, get a letter of authorization in Arabic from the authorities in Aden first.
Page 109 Hanish as Sughra (Little Hanish I)
The anchorage at the N end has 1415m, not 810m.
Page 117 Eritrea
A reef reported NE of Fawn Reef in position 17°14'·7N, 39°42'·0E. This may affect passage planning for yachts making for Khor Nowarat from Harmil I.
Page 123 Al Hudaydah
We have heard very negative reports of the port and the anchorage. There are now no lights marking the approach or entry channel, though some beacons still exist. The light on Ras Al Katib is just a black beacon. Both beacons on the first leading line (approx 149°) still exist, but are unlit. On the second lead (190°) there are no beacons at all. Entry at night is, in any case NOT recommended. Hudaydah is malarial.
Page 12425 Jazirat Kamaran & Farasan Is
There is a strong military presence here because of the nearby boundary between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Yachts are not made very welcome. If you were desperate you might just consider As Salif. Call on Ch 16 first. The RoRo terminal is nothing of the sort but instead a bulk salt loading terminal. If you do visit, be sure to contact the port director, Captain Mohammed Ezzi, who is very helpful.
Page 133 Mina al Jeddah
Yachts should only visit Saudi Arabian ports in an emergency, for refuelling or if they have made prior arrangements. A yacht which made in without an engine and needing extensive repairs in 2000 told us that the coastguard was most helpful but that work was very expensive and you must use an agent who does nothing whatsoever and is paid US$800 a month! If you need repairs here you will not be allowed out of the port area without consular assistance. The basin yachts use is NNE of the large control tower (Fl(3)20s25M) on the N side of the entrance to the main wharf area. It is where the coastguard and pilot boats dock. The port of Jeddah is under continuous development and new lights regularly get added in the approaches. An up to date chart is essential. Two new long distance lights (Fl.WRG.14M) have been added in the area of Al Hariq.
Page 134 Sharm Yanbu
Coastguard station. A yacht that chose to anchor here in 1997 was made unwelcome. As with the rest of the Saudi Arabian coast, stay clear unless you have an emergency.
Page 141 Khor Nowarat
The area from Khor Nowarat to Trinkitat is potentially sensitive and we have had mixed reports. In late 2000 we were checked by a patrol boat but there was no objection to our staying for a few days. The soldiers, from Aqiq, were friendly and welcoming. Be sure to fly the Sudanese courtesy flag on approach and at anchor the bigger the better. The reef off Ras Istahi may extend further E over the 5m sounding than shown on the sketch. Give it a wide berth by holding towards Shatira It. NE of Khor Nowarat, reef may extend<2M further S and W of the Karb Its than charted. This area is off the sketch on page 140. There is first class snorkelling here. The coral is in good condition with myriad fish life. The most recommended spot is on the S shore of E passage, off Gaz Kalafiyya (Farrajin I) where there is a beautiful coral garden.
Page 142 Ras Asis
This was the favoured alternative to Khor Nowarat for N'lies. It is exposed in E through SW winds.
Page 143 Trinkitat Harbour
Yachts are sometimes turned away from here. It can be a sensitive area. There are now some buildings on the S shore of the harbour which are conspicuous from seaward.
Page 145 Talla Talla Saqir
A recent anchorage in 9m has been reported at 18°45'·8N 38°00'·9E.
* Page 145 Shubuk Channel
Unlike in many places on the Sudanese coast, the reefs at the E end of the Shubuk Channel, perhaps because of the naturally high average ambient seawater temperatures, are not suffering from global warming and are in excellent condition with abundant fish life. Snorkelling comes highly recommended
Approach Least depth is 9·4m in the SE channel. This is an isolated and very visible shoal patch bang in the middle of the entrance. 14m is the least depth in the N channel. The SE channel entrance at 18°45'·39N, 37°39'·44E is marked by a black cylinder shape with a pole on top to port and to starboard there's a roughly cone-shaped, faded red and white painted pile of cemented-together rocks. All topmarks had been renewed in December 2000, save at the E end of the channel on Sumar I and off Melita Pt. The water in this area is occasionally cloudy and muddy.
The sketch is not to scale nor can accurate bearings be plotted on it. It is for orientation only. Passage through the Shubuk Channel requires a sharp lookout, though we recently traversed it S'bound under sail, surveying as we went. Note, however, the most recent, metricated versions of BA675 can be seriously misleading, for example around Dabulat I. The algorithm used to metricate older survey data is obviously too crude for the job.
Route The passage cannot safely be done on autopilot or from GPS waypoint to GPS waypoint. Conventional handbearing compass navigation for position checks is strongly recommended. For planning purposes the following co-ordinates indicate the general line of the deep-water track. The trickier bits are both well beaconed and, in good light, obvious to the naked eye. The distance from the starting point off Melita Pt to the Inner Channel NNE of Marsa Esh Sheikh is approximately 17M. It helps to number and tick off the beacons as you go. Here is the S to N running order. The numbering follows the odd to stbd, even to port convention. For approximate coordinates see route notes below.
Leading line: front: black triangle point up; back: white triangle point down
I: stone cairn
NNe of Melita Pt: pole with no topmark |
Dabulat I: stone cairn
Simbel: red square |
Maras W: blk cone
||6. Reef S
of Shab Maras: wht ball |
Maras E: blk cone
off Marsa Ghadassa: no topmark |
NE of Ras Lakham: red square |
Lakham: red square |
Daala: red square |
reefs SE of El Makglas: blk cone
reefs SE of El Makglas: red square |
reefs SE of El Makglas: blk cone
reefs SE of El Makglas: red square |
Makglas: blk cone
Makglas: red square |
From 18°45'·3N, 37°41'E with Melita Pt bearing 204°, 1·16M steer approx 285°T, 3·5M to
18°46'·3N, 37°37'·55E whence steer for about 0·5M in a 'U' S of Dabulat I (the channel is obvious) to
18°46'·6N, 37°37'E whence steer approx 279°, 1·3M with the Shab Simbel Bn (port) roughly due S to
18°46'·8N, 37°35'·7E whence steer approx 243°, 1M to
18°46'·37N, 37°34'·8E whence steer approx 266°, 4·2M, past Shab Kurne Bn (stbd, black cone, approx 18 46'·6N 37°31'·3E) approx 0·5M to stbd to
18°46'·2N, 37°30'·4E. Near this point you may cross a shoal with 6m over it. Ahead will be to port a bn (white ball, 18°46'·1N, 37°30'·3E) and to stbd on Shab Maras two stbd bns (black cones, 18°46'·3N, 37°30'·3E and 18°46'·3N, 37°29'·8E). DO NOT TURN NORTH IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE SECOND STBD BN ON SHAB MARAS. Steer roughly due W, 0·8M towards a bn on the shore with no topmark (18°46'·2N, 37°29'·1E) to approx
18°46'·3N, 37°29'·4E, 0·3M short of the bn with no topmark, whence turn slightly E of N for 1·1M towards a port bn (red square, 18°47'·5N, 37°29'·4E) on the reef NNE of Ras Lakham at approx
18°47'·7N, 37°29'·5E there alter to approx 325°, 1·5M past port bns on Shab Lakham (red square, 18°48'·0N 37°29'·1E) and Shab Daala (red square, 18°47'·5N 37°28'·7E) to pass between port (red square, 18°48'·7N 37°28'·2E) and stbd (black cone, 18°48'·7N 37°28'·6E) bns at approx
18°48'·6N 37°28'·6E whence alter to approx 285° for 0·32M to pass between port (red square, 18°48'·6N 37°28'·2E) and stbd (black cone, 18°48'·7N 37°28'·3E) bns at approx
18°48'·7N 37°28'·3E whence alter to approx 318° for 1·1M, passing between port (red square, 18°48'·8N 37°27'·9E) and stbd (black cone, 18°48'·9N 37°28'·0E) bns and across a shoal with least depth approx 5·8m (approx 18°49'·5N 37°27'·4E) to approx:
18°49'·6N 37°27'·25E, 15m, where you'll find the leading line (front: black triangle point up, 18°49'·56N 37°27'·24E; back: white triangle point down, 18°49'·34N 37°27'·22E) on a back bearing 186° on your port quarter. Steer 006° for approx 1·6M to pass the entrance to Marsa Esh Sheikh (Marsa Sheikh Sad) to approx:
18°51'·1N, 37°27'·2E whence alter to approx 344° across a very uneven bottom (depths >6m depending on track) to follow the inner channel N'wards.
If you are coming S reverse the above.
Page 145 (new entry) Eagle I
Among the many possible anchorages in the Shubuk Channel, a good alternative to Trinkitat, from which you may be moved on, is E of Melita Pt, in 18°44'·03N, 37°40'·96E, excellent holding in 5m, fine sand, just S of Eagle I on which ospreys and possibly Eleonora's falcons breed, hence the name. In calm weather a light swell can make in from seaward through Marsa Maqdam. It is more of a bounce than a roll and not really noticeable. The major danger coming from or leaving for the Shubuk Channel is the reef which extends E of Eagle I. The visible reef looks like it ends but shoal ground extends a further 200-300m E and has a least depth of 2·3m, very much less than charted. We nearly found that out the hard way! Keep E of longitude 37°41'·7E on approach or departure.
Page 145 (new entry) NE Sumar Anchorage
There is a deep indent in the reef on the E of the N channel, roughly due N of the beacon west of Sumar I. The anchorage offers good shelter in N'lies. Anchor in 18°46'·91N, 37°41'·18E in 9·4m, sand and coral.
Page 145 Long Island
Yachts anchor both S and E of the island depending on wind direction and swell. Good holding in both areas in 9-10m but the S anchorage is confined and rolly in a NW'ly. There is another anchorage NW of the island in the circular lagoon with an isolated reef just inside the entrance, obvious in good light. For NW'lies anchor in approx 18°48'·1N, 37°38'·5E, NNE of the almost awash stone jetty on the E tip of Jezirat Durwala in 1011m, sand. In SE'lies, try the SE end of the lagoon, though it may be deep at <15m. Note: THE NEW, METRICATED BA675 DOES NOT SHOW THIS ANCHORAGE AT ALL.
Page 145 (new entry) Mintaka Anchorage
This is an excellent, well sheltered anchorage with good holding in the lee of Shab Teeta, the reef SW of Dabulat Island. Access from the Shubuk Channel is clear and free of danger by taking the channel leading SW from S of Dabulat I which has constant depths of around 12m. Anchor SE of the second islet on the S side of Shab Teeta and NW of an islet on a detached reef at the S entrance to the channel leading towards Dabulat down which you'll have just sailed. The anchorage position, good holding in sand, 12m, is 18°45'·91N, 37°36'·95E. Excellent snorkelling.
Page 1478 Marsa esh Sheikh Ibrahim
The GPS position on the sketch is out in longitude. A correct positionat the entrance is 18°52'·99N 37°26'·12E. GPS positions plotted on older BA/USDMA/NOAA plans are too far N by about 100m. This confirms recent reports that GPS WGS84 positions and charted positions in the vicinity and onwards N as far as Sanganeb Reef can be unreliable. There are still 3 stakes but not now where shown in the sketch. One is close to the N beacon at the entrance, the second is where shown in the W'most position on the S side, and the third is on the reef on the N side at the inner end of the channel. Nets have been found set both in the entrance channel and across the anchorage. These are normally marked by buoys. The N arm of the anchorage extends further N than shown in the sketch. The chart is right in this respect but shoal ground begins much sooner than the BA/USDMA plans show. In general charted depths throughout are >1m greater than we found. The charted line of the coast N of Marsa esh Sheikh Ibrahim is also badly wrong, there being a promontary between the waters N of Marsa esh Sheikh Ibrahim and Marsa Heidub (Aydob).
Fishermen may be a nuisance and have been known to approach yachts at anchor and demand cigarettes, etc. They may have scant regard for your topsides and are not always very courteous. Experiences with these visitors vary but throughout the Red Sea it is best to cultivate a firm, tactful but friendly reaction when you are asked for gifts of any kind. Often, but certainly not always, fishermen will offer you whatever they have by way of catch in return for your generosity.
Page 149 (sketch page 151) Between Marsa Esh Sheikh Ibrahim andSawakin the match between GPS positions, WGS84 and chart BA81 is not always a trustworthy. The coastal fringing reef does not have a steep drop-off and within 100m of it you will find varying depths between 10m and 40m.
Page 149 Port Sawakin (Suakin)
Approach The tower marked on Graham Pt is a pale blue mosque with a radar antenna and lookout on top and very conspicuous. There is an old beacon on the fringing reef N of the entrance, N of the newer beacon marked on the sketch. Enter the port in daylight only. There are two minarets in Old Sawakin. Keep the SE'most on 215° as you approach the inner harbour then turn onto a bearing of 178185° on the conspicuous chimney of the old cotton factory S of the anchorage to transit the narrows.
Caution Using the leading bearing, keep well to the W side of the narrow channel into the anchorage to avoid a reef and then a sandspit on the E side. If you look at the photo of Old Sawakin on the cover of Red Sea Pilot you can see the extent of the sandspit just under the blades of Morning Tide's wind generator, stretching across the channel to the starboard side of the mainsail cover plus a bit. Note that there is a fringing reef fronting the shore of Old Sawakin just in front of the conspicuous and almost intact old hotel. Don't take a previous correction's invocation to go 'close enough to touch the buildings' unduly literally!
Anchorage There is less space than the chart implies and one boat, anchored toward the E side of the anchorage, found what they thought was an underwater obstruction when swinging during a thunderstorm.
Formalities This is not a port of entry, but there are immigration officials in the port and shore passes can be obtained. Call on Ch 14 on approach. You may not receive a reply but may proceed nonetheless to the anchorage. The local agent, Abu Mohammed, who has a good relationship with the local authorities and who is a representative of Sawakin Tourism Village Co Ltd, may come out to meet you with the health official who will give you quarantine clearance. Have fenders ready. If he does not arrive, try calling him (callsign Mohammed) on VHF Ch 06. He has a handheld radio and usually keeps a listening watch from 07301000 and 14001800 during peak season. For immigration clearance he will ask you for 4 crew lists, passports and one photo per crew. In November 2000 shore passes cost US$22 per person for the first week. Port dues are also charged @ US$7.50 per boat plus US20c per ton and US$5 per head. The agent asked for US$25 for his services in November 2000, regardless of length of stay, and was considered good value. These fees are about half those charged in Port Sudan except for shore passes which cost the same in both places for the first week. Fees are cut by 50% if you stay in Sawakin for a second week. You can settle all bills when you leave except for the shore passes. Clearing out will also be done by the agent on your behalf. Give him a good 24 hours warning when you want to leave. He will take shore passes and collect your passports and a 'yacht certificate' from the harbourmaster. This is your cruising permit and is valid along the coast. (If you want to call at Port Sudan and go ashore you will need to repeat all these formalities and will also need an agent. Formalities may be waived if you stay on board and simply anchor overnight.) Carry your shore pass when going ashore. You may be asked to show it especially after dark.
Facilities The dinghy landing is at the E end of the causeway joining Old Sawakin to El Kaff. Watch out for the sharp metal stakes if you have an inflatable. Don't leave anything tempting in your tender. There is a small bank at the town end of the causeway which will change US$. Traveller's cheques are generally acceptable as long as they are NOT issued by a US bank. There were no banks that take credit cards either here or in Port Sudan in late 2000. If you first go ashore when the bank is shut ask your agent for help in the short term.
Fuel can be arranged through the agent for delivery in your own jerry cans or direct from drums to the boat. In 2000 diesel cost 40c per litre and petrol 65 cents per litre. Well water is delivered by donkey cart and can be taken aboard by jerry from a tank beside the fisheries protection base (a shack with two GRP runabouts) on Old Sawakin I, SE of the root of the causeway (on the sketch it is S of the front bracket enclosing 'ruins'). The tank is marked with Mohammed's name. If you need a large quantity, say over 200 litres, you can arrange to go alongside at the port where water is delivered by hose at approx US$10 per tonne. Agents can make the arrangements but fendering is difficult for boats with low topsides because of the height of the jetty.
The market sells fresh produce and there are also shops with a surprising range of provisions given their unlikely frontages. There are now "telecommunications centres" in Sawakin but it is often difficult to get an overseas call through. Laundry services are available @US$0.30c per piece. Diesel mechanic, gas refills, etc. can be arranged by your agent. You can leave garbage with staff at the "Tourist Office" near the gates of Old Sawakin by the landing point, but be aware that it will be picked over.
The people here are extremely poor but friendly. Much of the town is in ruins. Be careful about taking photos near police stations or military installations. They are considered sensitive areas. Adults may also object to being photographed. Always ask first. The ruins of Old Sawakin are now considered a tourist attraction and you'll be asked to pay to see them. Don't be tempted to dive on the wreck in the channel. The military may object. Ask the agent (Mohammed) first if you want to do anything unusual.
Mohammed can easily arrange trips to Port Sudan, a nearby museum of Sawakin's history and inland. Let him know as soon as possible after arrival if you are interested. Costs depend on the type of transport used and the number of people in the group. The trip to Sinkat and Er Qoweit in the Red Sea Hills is rather fun. The cheapest fare to Port Sudan is about US$1 single and for a day trip to the mountains expect to pay US$1115, the lower figure for a covered pick-up seating about 6.
Page 152 Shab Damath & Marsa Kuwai
BA81 shows Shab Damath as a continuous reef fronting Marsa Kuwai. It is not. There is a clear break, 34 cables wide N of the beacon with depths of >3·5m and through which a swell makes in the usual N'ly. W of Shab Damath the bottom is uneven with two shoal patches with >3m. Marsa Kuwai, which offers the only sheltered anchorage, is a continuation N'wards of the water W of Shab Damath. It is funnel shaped and not large, but with good holding in mud, 5m towards the N end.
Note: there are two new leading lights, in line 270°, on the shore in the N of Marsa Kuwai. They mark the passage from seaward south of S Towartit Reef into the inner channel. The characteristics of the lights are not known.
Page 153 Marsa Ata
The reef at the entrance seems to block the obvious approach from the NE, though there is a clear passage (15m) between it and the stbd hand entrance bn and the reef has 3·5m over it. The beacons lie in a SW/NE orientation and the inner part of the marsa is not 'T' shaped as shown in the sketch. The channel leads WNW between the beacons once inside the reef patch. It immediately turns N and then, after 2·6 cables, WNW for 2·2 cables where it turns NNW. The best anchorage is in 10m to 11m at the turn NNW. If you continue generally N'wards the marsa stretches about IM further N with depths slowly shoaling from 10m to 3·5m. You will pass a lagoon to stbd with a very narrow entrance. Further on the main channel branches twice. Each branch leads into a huge area of shallow mangrove lagoons and channels (<1·5m) full of bird and fish life. The new duty-free storage area inland or the marsa is brightly lit at night.
Page 153 Marsa Amid
This is locally called Marsa Basheyr. It is now a closed area and terminal of a 2000km pipeline built by Chinese convict slave labour. There is an offshore SPLM at approx 19° 24'·096N 37°20'·05E and, near the tank farm which marks the end of the pipeline, there's a jetty with a tug boat. Keep at least ½ M offshore in this area. A patrol boat may come out to escort you. There is a conspicuous white single funnel ferry on the fringing reef in about 19°22'N.
Page 154 North Towartit Reef
We continue to receive negative reports about the anchorage here which is rolly at best. Not recommended.
Page 154 Port Sudan
Correction: The GPS position for the approach given in Supplement 6 was wrong. A good position in channel just S of the N breakwater light is 19°36'·15N 37°14'·33E. For approach from the S you will find the leading marks in line conspicuous on a bearing of 305° from a position at 19°35'·5N 37°15'·33E.
Conpicuous There are many more buildings and a larger port area than indicated on the sketch. Quite a few more wrecks than charted lie on the reef to N of the entrance where a new channel has been broken through the fringing reef to create an extension to the port. The lagoon inside is being dredged to create two new bulk loading wharves to handle grain for the large mill N of the existing port, the corrugated steel silos of which are conspicuous.
Anchorage The future of the yacht anchorage is under discussion because of the expansion of the port. A new wharf is being completed occupying the S shore of the W arm. To allow berthing room for ships, the already limited space will all but disappear. There are no proposals as yet for an alternative.
Formalities Port Control may not respond to a call on VHF but you can head on into the anchorage and agents will come out to you. Frankly life will be a lot easier if you use one rather than trying to do clearance yourself. Agents include Capt Halim, El Barbery, El Samkhary and his two sons, Chico and Murtado (Dolphin Travel) the last of whom is learning the ropes. All charge the same fee US$50. Discounts for groups or rallies are negotiable. Agents will collect 3 crew lists, passports and one photo per person for shore passes which cost $22 per person in 2000.The agent will arrange for a Health Official to come out to you to issue quarantine clearance and will later return with shore passes. Always take these ashore with you. There is a check-point at the exit from the dinghy jetty (see below). Customs clearance involves completing a declaration and then taking your agent by dinghy across the port to the Customs offices. No documents are issued at this stage and no fees paid. The Port authority charged a fee of US$32.50 for 5 days in late 2000. Your agent will ask you to pay $38 to cover bank transaction charges. Fees are payable for each 5-day period, ie if you stay 6 days you pay same as if you stay 10 days. Inform your agent at least 24 hours before you want to leave. He will bring a Master's declaration to be completed and will ask for one more crew list. Clearance is obtained by taking him back across the harbour to Customs after paying all your dues.
Health There is risk of malaria during the wet season. A good pharmacy near PO offers advice.
Facilities The dinghy landing is at a collapsoid jetty, W of a moored ex-Dutch vehicle ferry on the N shore of the W arm, just in front of the Red Sea Province Police HQ (sign in English and Arabic conspic). Security is OK. The garbage tip is adjacent but be aware that your rubbish will be picked over.
Banks offer foreign currency exchange. The black market rate is not very competitive. Note that there are problems in Sudan cashing travellers' cheques issued by US banks. No cash advances on credit cards were available in late 2000. In an emergency you may be able to arrange for an advance via your agent.
Diesel @ US2540c per litre is available depending on quantity. Visiting yachts almost invariably pay at the higher rate. Water costs $10 per tonne but the amount is not metered and is to some extent notional. Water quality can vary and it is delivered via a large diameter inflexible hose. Be prepared with reducers. Have lots of fenders ready for berthing. The wharf is not friendly to topsides.
Internet access cost $2$4 per hour depending on cheap rate times. There are several cybercafes. The biggest is in the block behind the PO. There is a good GSM phone network and Suditel phone card phones have been installed in the town. Postage rates are costly, especially compared to Eritrea, being similar or higher than those in Europe. DHL is reputedly good. Allow 8 days. No duty is payable for a package marked clearly for yacht in transit - but there may be a customs delivery fee. Provisioning in town is good but expensive for any thing imported. In the west of the town there are workshops which can probably fix almost anything if you can find out who to go to another reason for using an agent. However, facilities for lifting out or docking yachts are close to non-existent, though something may be negotiable with the port authority if you are desperate and prepared to be crudely craned out in slings.
General Port Sudan is a scruffy, run-down place but full of life and offering a warm welcome - beggars and high dues notwithstanding. There is appalling poverty, occasioned by refugees from Sudan's never-ending civil war and border disputes, the regime's international pariah status and rapid population growth. The place may look one horse OK, camel and down at heel, but it is Sudan's second largest city with a truly staggering population of between 2 and 2·5 million. Given all this, and although we liked the place very much, we had mixed feelings after our recent visit. The consensus is that it is preferable to stop in Sawakin instead because it is half the cost and Port Sudan can be visited from there with no trouble. If you are divers there is a special reason for calling here to pay your respects to the Red Sea dive guru, Renato Marchesan, skipper of the Ernesto Leoni.
Page 157 Marsa Gwiyai and Gwiyai Reef
Both restricted areas at present. Prohibited area for the latter is marked on Admiralty Chart 3492.
Page 160-61 Sanganeb Reef
If you only want to dive, charter operators recommend dropping back on a long line to the bollard on the end of the jetty from the lighthouse to the S of the main reef . Anchoring here is reported near impossible. GPS positions in the area are reported to be 100200m out on the chart. There are stakes marking both sides of the N entrance. The framework tower on the N end of the reef is reported missing but there was a beacon in place approximately 2·5M N of the lighthouse and 0·5M W of the reef. There were also piles of rocks marking both sides of the entrance into the S lagoon. There are several bommies with 4m over them in the entrance marked on the sketch as 6m.The NE anchorage has room for several boats and is very secure. There are several bommies nearby (not marked on the sketch) with only 6m over them, so be careful to anchor clear. The stranded charter boat marked on the sketch has gone. Entering the inner lagoon requires care.
Page 162 Marsa Daror
Entrance at 19°50'·83N, 37°16'·293E, approach S of the offlying reef at 19°50'·74N, 37°16'·54E. Coming from the S in good light the offshore reef is easy enough to see. The anchorage does not extend far inside the entrance, though water colour is deceptive, especially after rain. There is shelter from the sea but none from the prevailing wind. The anchorage inside the offlying reef is also well sheltered from the sea but the holding none too good on rock and coral.
Page 1623 Shab Rumi
The GPS position given in the sketch has been checked and the latitude is nearly one mile too far south. A reliable waypoint for the S entrance, between the + on the sketch and the entrance itself is 19°56'·42N, 37°24'·18E. The entrance, blasted through in ecologically more naive days for Cousteau's project, is only 1215m wide but clear. The natural N entrance is wider but more encumbered with bommies requiring a sinuous course to enter.
Very uneven depths in the deep lagoon make this an iffy anchorage in all but settled weather. The N part of the lagoon can be crowded with dive-charter boats but there are moorings which you may be able to use at weekends when the charterers go into port. If you do not use a mooring, buoy your anchor and be prepared to dive to get it back.
Page 165 Marsa Fijab
In the approaches a shoal area with patches of less 3m extends <100m S of the starboard-hand beacon at the entrance. A position for the entrance, on the leading line (range) is 20°01'·30N 37°12'·76 E. The leading line is marked by a white stake in line with a diamond topmarked beacon and leads into the first leg of the channel on 313°.
Sharif may paddle out to you on his battered windsurfer hull. He likes to talk, learn more phrases in English, French, German and Italian (and eat anything on offer). He will probably offer to sell you eggs and chickens and arrange camel rides.
Page 166 Marsa Arakiyai
The lookout tower has fallen down and there is no longer a stake marking the spit on the N side of the channel. This time round, by holding rather further from the tip of the spit, we found a least depth of 12m in the channel. From the N the old, collapsed radar truck-cum-chicken coop is conspic. A good anchorage is outside the marsa proper where there is good holding though deep. There is a thriving fishing village here and the officials are friendly.
Page 167 Marsa Salak Complex
The anchorages are tricky and need careful eyeballing - not for the faint hearted. In general in this complex proceed with great care and use your GPS warily. Marsa Salak itself can be entered on approx 350M from near 20°26'·5N, 37°12'·7E. There are depths of 10m in the narrow channel, but only 2m at the tight, narrow turn round the S of the sandy islet closing the inner marsa. Only for small, bold boats.
For the anchorage W of the wreck, pass either W or E of Shab Salak. To pass W there are leading marks (front: black triangle point down, back: white triangle point up) on 350M which take you clear W of the small, beaconed reef (red T topmark) in 20°26'·3N, 37°13'·5E. Whence follow the fringing reef E of Marsa Salak until it turns E. The anchorage requires very careful eyeballing and is much encumbered with bommies.
Alternatively you can anchor in boathook shaped Shab Salak, though this needs very good visibility. The only safe entry is from the W, about 4·5 cables SE of the T-topmarked beacon, through a clear gap N of two large off-liers at the end of the tip of the west facing boathook's hook. The opening N of this, near some boulders, is dangerous and for small boats only. The same is true for an entrance on the E side more or less opposite. Fishing boats out of Marsa Salak use both openings but don't be misled. Don't try to approach directly from the S. The 'opening' of the boathook is effectively closed by two large off-liers and some bommies. The E leg or handle of the boathook extends S and slightly W for over 1M to around 20°25'N, though not all of it breaks. The fending prong of the hook extends N from the NE end of Shab Salak for a cable or so.
The reef itself is dying 30%50% is already dead.
A passage between 20°24'·75N, 37°14'·17E and 20°26'·53N, 37°14'·51E passes safely E of Shab Salak and W of the ill-charted reefs of the barrier reef, some of which exist and some of which don't. From the last waypoint steer to pass the wreck (boiler only) in longitude 37°15'E.
Page 169 Juzur Telat
The beacon shown on the sketch S of the islands in fact lies nearly two miles S at a point where the fringing reef pushes E'wards a bit. One possible anchorage is at 20°38'·06N, 37°13'·52E, in sand and mud but it pays to hunt around for a good spot since the quality of bottom varies a lot with lots of coral. Good for wildlife. You may see sharks when snorkelling.
Page 170 Abington Reef
Abington Reef light was working in early 2000.
Page 171 Jazirat Magarsam (Mukawwar I)
An isolated, uncharted danger with 2m or less water over it reported in approx 20°42'N, 37°14'·3E, W of the scatter of bommies W of Falcon Reefs in the SE approaches to Jazirat Magarsam. Positional information was not precise and this may have been an unexpected encounter with Powell Rock.
Page 172 Marsa Inkeifal
A stake now marks the tip of the reef on the S side of the entrance, NW of the beacon marked on the sketch. The anchorage is at 20°46'·90N, 37°10'·31E, near the anchor symbol in the sketch. Boats are sometimes asked to produce their papers but no problems with the authorities have been reported.
Page 175, 179 Dungunab Bay
Entry is prohibited because a pearl farm has been established here.
Page 177 Inner Channel
All beacons have been recently repaired and fitted with new topmarks. It has been pointed out that S'bound vessels, heading for the Inner Channel, may find closing the N entrance tricky because there is no start position given from which to run the directions of the passage in reverse. The directions give a position 6M, 355° from near No. 6 Bn as in clear water outside the Inner Channel. The coordinates of this position are 21°05'·7N, 37°19'·7E and a course of 175° from this position is clear of danger until, after about 2·5M, you are within eyeballing distance of No. 8 on Shab al Hara. We tried this and it works. If approaching the Inner Channel from the N, be especially careful of the two reefs, 2·25M ENE of Ras Abu Shagrab on which the sea normally breaks.
Page 18081 Ras Abu Shagrab
The sketch is misleading, the broad line of approach being about 320°T towards 21°01'·36N, 37°19'·06E E of Bn No. 7, thence to 21°01'·51N, 37°18'·94E between Bn No. 7 and a bommie S of it. To get into the anchorage, which is hairy in a blow, steer approximately 270°M from the last position through 21°01'·58N 37°18'·84E, then kink NW through 21°01'·63N, 37°18'·57E and the narrow pass in a least depth of 20m, to the anchorage. The bottom is sand and coral, 1015m.
The narrow pass to the N of the anchorage between the fringing reef and the patch with 5m to the N of it, is quite feasible with a least depth of 8m in the middle of the narrow channel. The 5m bommie N of the pass is well clear of the entrance and can be avoided with a good lookout.
Depths and holding The bottom is very irregular with bommies <3m that are not shown on the sketch near the anchor symbol. Be careful where you drop the hook. Can be rolly at night, especially if the wind dies. A good alternative for small boats is in the small bay W of the marked spot where the word 'beacon' appears. The anchorage is calm with good holding and is used by fishing boats, but has little depth.
Page 181182 Shab Qumeira
The fringing reef of the mainland in about mid passage projects further into the channel than shown. A GPS waypoint of 21°13'·27N 37°12'·12E is clear to seaward by half a cable or so.
The anchorage near the wreck where shown on the sketch is not so good. The bottom is very encumbered with coral and access and egress require good light and quick reactions. A better spot is in the lagoon in the NW which is much larger than shown. Safe entry may be made by finding the NW tip of the reef crescent about 0·5M NW of 21°15'·64N, 37°10'·12E and then following its S edge to an opening between the fringing reef and the inner lagoon barrier at 21°16'·68N, 37°10'·75E. There are two bommies in the entrance, one lying off the N side on the 'outside' and the other off the S side on the 'inside'· There is 20m in the entrance which shoals, as one steers roughly E towards the wreck, to 12m. Holding is fair in sand and coral and shelter excellent.
Page 18183 Khor Shinab
The fringing reef a couple of miles S of the entrance bulges out to seaward. A position for the entrance is 21°21'·75N, 37°03'·8E. The marsa is big, impressive and relatively easy to negotiate but the anchorages are deep unless you go right in. The best anchorage in terms of holding is in the last 'bay', at the entrance to the area marked "shallow" in the W part of the inlet, about 6·5 cables ESE of Quoin Hill, in 9m mud. A quoin, by the by, was a wedge roughly the shape of Quoin Hill used in the 18th and 19th century navies to elevate the barrels of cannon on their carriages.
Page 183 Marsa Halaka
A position off the entrance is 21°25'·4N 37°01'·25. The marsa is nothing like the sketch or the BA plan! Clearly Cdr Elwon was in a hurry. Marsa Halaka is about 2·5M long with excellent shelter. The entrance trends W for 2 cables, then SW 5·5 cables to a 1·5 cable kink NW round a sandspit on the N side and promontory with fringing reef on the S, then leads generally 11 cables SW to 3 large bays. The S bay is full of coral. Entry to the N bay is intricate and wouldn't reward the effort because there are many scattered bommies. The best anchorage is 1·65M from the entrance, through a 50m wide, slightly kinked channel, in the W'most bay near a remarkable rock looking like a bird's head and N of two islands with mangroves, 79m sand and mud. A good find. Thanks to Richard Rahm of Muggerl. The inner bay is full of wonderful bird and fish life. Fishermen can usually be seen working the shallows and camel trains on the coastal road well, track which runs across the head of the marsa.
Page 184 Marsa Abu Imama
Correction of view the right side of Jebel Abu Imama overlaps the wedge-shaped hill to its right. Add a third cone-shaped hill close left of the two already shown. Move the entrance arrow to the obvious gap right of all the hills in sketch. The 27m sounding at the entrance in the sketch is close to 21°30'·19N, 36°58'·66E. Watch out for an extensive area of shoal ground near the W'most anchor symbol in the sketch. Closer to the nearby sandspit there is 1112m over a sand bottom, but there's still a lot of coral around and finding really good holding isn't easy. This is a big marsa with plenty of room and variety. The BA plan and our sketch are not quite accurate - we hope to do better in the forthcoming second edition!
We think we have solved the Great Marsa Mystery, full details in the next edition. Meanwhile...
As far as we can see this marsa does not exist in any form such as that shown in the sketch. If Khor Delwein there is, it must be the fairly open roadstead, roughly in the area of our coordinates, behind where the fringing reef becomes discontinuous and there are several awkward offliers some way out. Our advice is to stay well clear.
The marsa is poorly represented in the sketch and the entrance is at 21°36'·5N, 36°56'·0E, 1M N of the position given. The entrance trends SW - beware of offliers on the S shore before, about 4·5 cables in, branching into two. The N arm runs WNW for 3 cables where a shoal (<3m) crosses, beyond which is a pool at the entrance to a lagoon closed off by a sand bar. The bold may find an anchorage in the pool, the rest of us would anchor E of the shoal in 912m, sand, good protection, though there's not much room.
The S arm leads W off the pool where the marsa divides, through a narrow dogleg S around a conspic boulder, with depths >15m, into an inner pool with depths <12m. Good holding in mud and good shelter from the sea.
Page 18688 Marsa Wasi
A position at the entrance is 21°39' 36 54.96 and the channel leads in on 245250M.The coast N'wards from here to the border is patrolled by the military and is, technically, a military zone.
Page 187, 190 Marsa Hamsiat
Approach from approx 21°41'·20N, 36°54'·50E. The channel leads inland 8 cables WNW, S of 2 sandspits, between which you can anchor in 5m. Then on into the inner marsa, past a spit on the N side and a tongue of reef on the S, where there is room for several boats in 1112m. On the S side at the entrance there is a dangerous tongue of offliers projecting about 2 cables NE'ward from the fringing reef. If you stay in longitude 36°54'·50E until the entrance is open WSW in the latitude given, you should be clear.
Page 189 Khor Abu Asal
This is known as Marsa Oseif by the local people, though the names Khor or Marsa Abu Asal are recognised. A position at the entrance is 21°45'·91N 36°53'·55. The officials here will want to see your papers but they are usually friendly and courteous. The three bays of the marsa are far less extensive than shown. The village N and W of the marsa is full of refugees from once Sudanese Marsa Halaib and has a population of over 2000.
Page 189 Marsa Ribda (Gwilaib)
The name "Gwilaib" is not recognised locally. A waypoint for the entrance is 21°47'·495N 36°53'·380E. Neither the sketch nor the BA plan is accurate. The entrance is wide, clear and trends W to a spit which projects from the N shore. The scant remains of a wreck are conspicuous on the reef N of the entrance channel and there is an incongruous set of steps leading nowhere on the point of the S shore. After the spit the channel kinks NW for 1·3 cables whence it turns SW for 4 cables past 2 more sandspits before a large bay, full of coral, opens S and you turn NW a cable or so into the inner marsa and an anchorage with good holding in mud, 13m. The far W end of the marsa is closed by a sand bar. There is no jetty or village but local officials will probably come from Marsa Oseif (Khor Abu Asal) to see your papers.
Page 188, 191 Khor el Marob
Coordinates for the entrance are 21°50'·13N, 36°53'·44E. A boat which anchored near the GPS waypoint printed on the sketch reported good diving . . . and relayed a report from another yacht that an enormous shark had been spotted immediately beneath their boat just after the first yacht had left!
Page 191 (new entry) Elba Reef
There is an excellent reef anchorage under the lee of the E end of the poorly charted, W part of the Elba Reef complex. Entry is from 21°59'·35N, 36°59'·38E, through a pass with 7m, whence wiggle past a couple of bommies NNW to a pool, SW of a closed lagoon and SE of 3 large boulders, in 21°59'·68N, 36°59'·42E to anchor in 10m sand and coral. Snorkelling and diving are good, though the reef here, as in much of the mid- and N Red Sea, is beginning to suffer badly from global warming. From the N safe entry into the passage between the two parts the Elba Reef complex and to the entrance to the anchorage may be had at 22°00'·80N, 37°00'·30E. But be warned that coming from the N in heavy weather you see no sign of either part of Elba Reef until your heartbeat is reaching fibrillation point.
Note: an unmarked reef has been reported south of the Elba Reef complex, in the approaches from the SE, in 21°56'·20N, 36°59'·50E
Page 19091 Marsa Umbeila
A position at the entrance is 21°58'·55N 36°52'·18. As we say elsewhere, positions, even GPS ones, are GUIDES. Use your eyes. The tomb is still there on a low bluff N of the entrance, just above a cavelike overhang, conspic from the S. There's not much room here but it's a lovely spot. The area is at present de facto Egyptian so have your next courtesy flag ready.
Page 192 Marsa Halaib
This remains a refuge only from stress of weather or if you have other problems. The Egyptian navy will ask you to go alongside and hand over passports and ship's papers. Going ashore is forbidden. However, the navy have been most helpful to yachts with engine trouble. Call them on VHF Ch 16 on approach. Best not to arrive in poor light. A GPS waypoint for the entry is 22°14'·22N, 36°39'·68E
Page 192 Tutana Reef and Qubatt Isa Reef
The sketch is in fact more like Qubatt Isa than Tutana Reef. The latter, orientated roughly WNW/ESE and shaped like a crescent with horns, lies about 1M SE of Qubatt Isa. The crescent of Qubatt Isa is orientated NNW/SSE, not N/S. There are two large bommies within the lagoon in the N part. An entry waypoint, W of the N gap between the reef crescent and the bommies in the sketch, is 22°06'·23N, 36°53'·54E. This is a day anchorage only. There is a dangerous isolated reef outcrop about 1M N of the conspic rock marked on the N of the reef crecsent in the sketch.
Page 192-193 Marsa Girid
A GPS waypoint for the entrance is 22°24'·25N, 36°25'·40E. The long, low building in the sketch is orientated NE/SW and there is a conspic desalination plant with 2 water storage tanks at its NE end. Off the jetty are two sunken pontoons. Diesel and water are available.
* Page 195 Egyptian coast
There are many new hotels and dive resorts. A joint Egyptian/US project has laid some 500 moorings to reduce damage to reefs (see p.48 above). They can take high loads and some are marked by an orange buoy. Others are merely floating ropes. If you see one, please use it, though we would advise a reconnaissance dive to check the condition of ropes, swivels, etc.
The 10-day period of free sailing in Egyptian waters has disappeared with recent changes. The ridiculously high US$300 Customs Fee everyone tried to avoid has been reduced and a new scale introduced. This starts with a one month, US$25 (£E100) minimum or US$62.50 (£E250) for a 4-month stay. A further 4 months is another US$125 (£E500), and you pay another US$250 (£E1000) for the final four months. A one-year stay (in total US$437.50 (£E750)) is the maximum without paying import duties. Note, if you pay 1 month and stay longer, the first 4-month extension is BACKDATED to your date of first arrival, i.e. you'll pay US$87.50 (£E350) for your first 4 months, instead of US$62.50. Pay in your first port only (in theory this does not apply in the duty-free ports of Port Said and Port Suez, so it may be that avoiding any port, marina or hotel on your way to Suez would evade liability, but see also p.265 below). Ask for a receipt.
Page 196 Siyal Islands
These remain tiger country for the adventurous only, local charter boats advise staying clear unless you really know what you're doing. The best approach is not fiddling one's way from off the Ruwabil Islands, but through a clear pass from waters S of Shab Abu Fendera in 22°46'·11N, 36°17'·05E, whence there is a clear passage NW to the anchorage under the islands. Anchor at GPS 22°42'·25N 36°19'·65E, 5m sand and coral near isol. bommies. There is no safe exit N.
Page 197 Shab Abu Fendera
Approach Shab Abu Fendera in good visibility only. There is an anchorage at the E end of the main reef S of the boulder (0·8m, not 2m) marked in the sketch. There is also a larger rock (2m) on the sometimes non-existent sand cay N of where the anchorage is marked on the sketch. Access to both anchorages may be had via a safe entrance E of the boulder on the E end of the main reef, whence follow the S side of the main reef. The entrance to the pass between the main reef and off-liers is at 22°53'·45N, 36°18'·95E, whence follow the S edge of the main reef to the anchorages. An alternative approach to an anchorage (in approx 22°53'·30N, 36°18'·55E) is on a bearing of 340M on the 2m rock on the middle sand cay. This keeps you inside the area of scattered reef which extends further SE than shown to the border of the sketch; approximately 1·5M SE of the main reef. More importantly, this approach keeps you E of a large area of dangerous underwater coral pinnacles immediately S of where the W'most sand cay is marked, W of where the anchor symbol appears on the sketch. Most of these pinnacles are >2m below the surface. A tip is to stay EAST of longitude 36°18'·40E on approach. Here holding is good even in strong winds, despite depths of >18m.
The W end of Shab Abu Fendera is submerged. For a safe exit N, hold to longitude 35°18'·8E or slightly further W.
Page 198 Mirear Island
The two beacons marked lie ON THE REEF which extends in a dumbell from the reef leading ESE from Mirear I to enclose the marked offlier and the beacons. A waypoint for approaching the anchorage - which needs good light and MUST be eyeballed - is between the two bommies on the right side of the sketch, just inside the 10m line. It is 23°08'·38N, 35°48'·74E. It isn't obvious from the sketch, but evidently low, sandy Mirear I, 4M from the anchorage on 300°M is not visible from where you drop your hook. Don't try to close it until you can see it. The waters between the anchorage and the island are fraught with nasties.
This is no area for novices. In late summer 2000 a German boat, fortunately built of steel, was caught out by a wind change at night, banged about on the coral destroying its rudder and prop shaft. It then had to limp under sail to Jeddah for repairs which cost an arm and a leg. Be warned.
Page 198 Geziret Zabargad
This is only recommended for diving and in settled weather. The anchorages are poor. In the NE one swinging room is limited, depths are greater than shown on the sketch and the bottom is foul. Beacons marked appear to be missing. The taller of the two peaks marked is in the S part of the island. This island and the nearby Rocky It are sometimes closed to divers by the authorities.
Page 200 (new entry) Dangerous Reef
This isolated reef is clearly marked on the chart and offers a good refuge in the middle of aptly named Foul Bay. The reef is some 1500m end to end in a shallow arc. There are two boulders on the reef, either side of the anchorage, the E'most being the larger. The E of the lagoon in the lee of the reef is encumbered with a large bommie. S of the lagoon there are three large bommies roughly evenly spaced E/W and about a cable S of the E/W line joining the horns of the main reef. The anchorage, in 10m sand with some coral is at 23°23'·23N, 35°45'·44E.
Page 200 White Rock
An alternative anchorage in this complex to the one described is in a lagoon within an oval shaped reef. However, access requires good visibility, steady nerves and a sound eyeball. The entrance to the lagoon is on the E side of the reef. A GPS waypoint just E of entrance is 23°42'·17N 35°48'·53E. You then steer between two bommies, one with a boulder on it. The pass is then W and has adequate depths <10m. Anchor within in 1015m, sand and coral.
Page 200 Ras Baniyas
The military presence here is usually quite friendly but they will want to check your papers. If you go ashore ask them whether the beach is still mined beyond the compound. There is excellent diving here but the bottom is all coral and you may spend some time getting your anchor back. The wind always honks hereabouts and isn't always indicative of how hard it is blowing at sea or further N.
Page 202 Fury Shoal
There are several usable anchorages in this complex. The two best are in Dolphin Reef, the extreme SE'most reef. Another is in Abu Galawa in the NW of the complex
(new entry) Dolphin Reef
This is a T-shaped reef, the head of the T orientated NW/SE. The leg of the T, oriented NE/SW, separates two lagoons in each of which safe anchorage may be had.
Approaches Approach from the S is clear but good light is necessary to pick out isolated reefs across the entrance to the lagoon. The area WNW through NNW of Dolphin Reef is foul. The lagoon in the lee of Dolphin Reef is divided into two parts. Protection in the NW corner of the E part is best. In the last 1M of approach enter the E part of the lagoon in 1020m between scattered bommies. For final approach to the E lagoon, a GPS position about 2 cables S of the outer bommies is 24°09'·35N, 35°42'·44E. Thence head NNW curving N to anchor as below. To the W lagoon the approach position is 24°09'·91N, 35°40'·53E, whence head in a curve NNE, N, then NNW to the NW corner.
Dangers The reef complex extends W'wards through NNW'wards, with isolated patches, for up to 8M from the charted position of Fury Shoal.
Conspicuous There are the remains of a wreck, a boiler or engine block only, towards the E end of the N side of Dolphin Reef.
Depths and holding In the E lagoon at 24°09'·7N, 35°41'·6E, 9m, sand, good holding with plenty of swinging room. Good protection except from the S. In the W lagoon in the NW corner NW of some isolated bommies.
Diving Drop-off on E edge of the reef. Outstanding snorkelling. There are some amphorae at the 'toe' of the leg of the T.
(new entry) Abu Galawa
This is a horseshoe-shaped reef with a good anchorage in the lagoon within. Approach from the S is clear. Anchorage may be had under the lee of the reef at 24°13'·76N, 35°34'·61E.
Page 200 Port Berenice
This is restricted area, off limits to yachts but you may approach if you have an emergency. Call on VHF first.
Page 204 Marsa Wadi Lahami
There are now two dive resorts based in this Marsa, one on the SW shore, the other towards the NW corner. Their dive boats have permanent laid moorings. Nothing is known of their welcome or otherwise to cruising yachts, but anchorage room will have been reduced by the moorings.
Page 205206 Mahabis Is and Ras Qulan
Care is needed to avoid shoal ground off Ras Qulan and there are isolated coral heads in the approach to the islands from the S and extensive offshore reef to the E through NE. The radio mast and buildings are conspicuous. From the S the following waypoints pass through safe water. 24°16'·4N, 35°24'·84E approx 2M ESE of Ras Qulan, whence steer for 23°17'·91N 35°23'·75E some 1·3M SSE of Greater Mahabis and on to 24°18'·8N, 35°23'·1E where anchorage can be taken in the lee of the island. The anchorage is not large with room for only two or three boats unless you raft up.
Despite the tricky approach Mahabis I has much to recommend it with flat water even in strong winds and much better shelter from the N than at Gez Wadi Gimal. Large fishing boats use the passage E of Greater Mahabis into the lagoon to access a break on the reef further N, whence one can pass W of Gez Showarit and Gez Siyul. This is only for the bold, with careful eyeballing and in quiet weather. From the anchorage at Greater Mahabis safe access from and egress to the NE passes through the following waypoints.This passage, with a least depth of 12m, should not be attempted without a careful lookout being maintained.
From the last waypoint course may safely be shaped to seaward or N following the reef past Gez Showarit and Gez Siyul.
Page 206 Gezirat Siyul
There is no safe anchorage in the immediate vicinity of the island. The recommended anchorage is at the N end of the large reef complex N of Gez Siyul accessed ONLY from the passage S of the island. Take the clear, deep (40m) pass between Gez Showarit and Gez Siyul. Steer NW along the W edge of the reef surrounding Gez Siyul and its lagoon to 24°23'·21N, 35°22'·02E. Thence steer on NW past a large area of foul ground to stbd to pick your way very gingerly N by E'wards through lots of bommies to anchor in 1012m in 24°25'·12N, 35°22'·27E
Page 208 Gezirat Wadi Gimal
There is an error in the latitude given. It should read 24°39'N. A safe water position for the approach from the S is 24°37'·97N, 35°10'·828E. Run in from there on 315° to 24°39'·16N, 35°09'·5E. From the S there is an uncharted outcrop in 24°36'·65N, 35°06'·95E and there are bommies, not marked on the sketch, within 0·5M of the SE part of the reef fringing Gez Wadi Gimal. There are many possible anchorages, all in sand, good holding amongst coral outcrops, WSW of the island. In strong N winds they aren't quiet and can be quite bouncy overnight. An alternative, approached from slightly further W via 24°37'·9N, 35°10'·9E and 24°38'·6N, 35°10'·26E is at 24°39'·69N, 35°08'·52 in the lee of the reef running out W from the N end of Gez Wadi Gimal.
The passage W of Gez Wadi Gimal past Ras Baghdadi is feasible in good light and clear enough. A mid point in clear water between the reefs W of the N of Gez Wadi Gimal and Ras Baghdadi is 24°40'·06N, 35°07'·07E. The large resort complex at El Sharm will be on your port bow.
There are two of the HEPCA/USAID project dive moorings here, both marked by bright orange buoys. One in approx 24°38'·6N, 35°10'·45E, the other in approx 24°40'·5N, 35°08'·7E.
Page 210 (new entry) Shab Ghadeira, Christina Anchorage
The S end of Shab Ghadeira has a large, conspic sand cay. N of it there is a lagoon which can be accessed from the W to find a safe anchorage within. Note that there is a N/S line of offliers W of the sand cay and that entrance to the lagoon is by threading through them. Pass N of Gez Wadi Gimal and S of Shab Ghadeira via 24°41'·25N, 35°09'·00E, thence W by N towards the entrance (W->E) through the offliers in 24°41'·97N, 35°07'·98E, eyeballing as you go. Once inside the line of offliers turn N between the offliers and a hook of reef extending NW from the sand cay to enter the lagoon. There are many bommies inside so feel your way to the NE corner to anchor in 1012m, sand and coral.
Page 209 Abu El Kizan (Daedalus Reef)
The longitude should read 35°51'·5E to match the coordinates on the sketch. The lighthouse keepers still welcome yachts, but they must report your presence and your agreement to some gentle subterfuge can help you all enjoy your stay.
Page 209 (new entry) Renato Reef
Between El Sharm just N of Ras Baghdadi and Marsa Tundaba, to the W of the passage inside the offshore reefs, there is a reef anchorage. It lies at the S of an area marked as encumbered with reefs on the chart. It offers fair shelter in N winds at its W end, though caution should be exercised in strong weather. Renato Reef is a flat E/W bar with a slight S-tending hook at its E end. There is an off-lying bommie S of the W tip which may be marked by a stake. Some slight swell may work round, but it is no more than a nuisance. The anchorage position is near 24°50'·22N, 35°02'·00E and approach from the S is clear.
Page 209 Marsa Tundaba
The scale of the sketch is misleading. Coordinates for the approach from the SE are 24°57'·2N, 34°57'·0E. The anchorage is approx 0·8M NW of here in 8m sand opposite a fishing camp on the beach. There is little else to be seen bar a couple of white buildings in the S and a conspic army lookout and radio mast on the high ground to the N. There are isolated bommies off the fringing reef so approach in good light. 2·5M SE of Marsa Tundaba in approx 24°55'·6N, 34°57'·7E, there is a dive resort. Their boats are moored on permanent moorings behind a small ras. It may be possible to find shelter here in quietish weather.
Page 211 (new entry) Samadai Reef
This horseshoe-shaped reef anchorage has isolated bommies in the middle of a lagoon formed by a chain of coralheads S of the main reef. Keep a good lookout from aloft. Always wear polarised sunglasses. A GPS position just S of the narrow pass bet bommies at the S end of the lagoon is 24°58'N, 35°00'·19E. Depths are generally 1015m inside the lagoon, sand with coral patches. Fair protection in good to moderate weather, though Renato Marchesan of Ernesto Leone, with more than a decade of Red Sea experience, says shelter is good even in strong N'lies. Diving is reported to be excellent on barrier reefs in NW & SE corners. Dolphins often frequent the lagoon.
There have been detached reefs reported up to 1M off the coast between 25°18'N and 25°21'N in longitude 34°45'E to 34°46'E.
Page 212 Marsa Alam
There are two detached bommies off the fringing reef in the natural approach from the ENE, N of the GPS position on the sketch. An approach due W from 25°04'·65N, 34°54'·5 to 25°04'·65N, 34°53'·0E will bring you S of them to a position 1 cable SE of the entrance. It is best to time your entrance for just after low tide with the sun well up and S of SW. Beware 23 knot tides with overfalls and eddies in channel at springs and watch out for leeway. The channel is very narrow and has a least depth of 2·6m. The S'most of the two stakes shown on the reef E of the entrance is short and not easily visible. A patch with less than 2m blocks the natural turn W'wards towards the anchorage at the first gap. Pass up the channel and N of all the coralheads to port, not turning W until in approx 24°04'·85N, 34°53'·74E, 4·5m, just past a stake on your starboard side.
There are far more conspicuous buildings than the sketch implies. We were told in autumn 2000 that the jetty is ostensibly closed to foreigners. The dive charter operators have moved. We were surprised by the level of bureaucracy. If you go ashore you will be probably be met by an "agent" who will take you to the Harbourmaster who will want to hold passports, may restrict movement and will probably ask why you have stopped. Excuses such as engine trouble or bad weather will suffice even if you have no Egyptian visa. There is a clinic with a doctor on duty, a fuel station in the village, basic supplies are available and there is a very rustic PO. There is also a small store near the jetty.
The jetty is very shallow-to at low tide too much so even for a small RIB - and covered with particularly sharp and vicious oysters as well as odd bits of sharp, rusty iron. There are two or three boats on permanent moorings and one apparently abandoned yacht.
Holding is good in 45m sand and weed, but, as with similar anchorages in the Med, you need to be sure your anchor is well in. The marsa is extensive and there is room for many boats.
Page 212 Marsa Tarafi
A waypoint for the entrance has been given as 25°12'·42N, 34°48'·80E. There have been reports that the military presence here has been less than helpful. In other good anchorages on the Egyptian coast S of El Quseir, most of which have army bases, the welcome yachts receive can be unpredictable.
Page 213 (new entry) Ernesto Reef
This reef, just S of Marsa Abu Dabbab, offers good shelter in N'lies. On the chart it is the SW'most of the three detached reefs marked on the inshore shelf W of Elphinstone Reef. The reef extends broadly NW/SE in the shape of the left half of an arrow head on a shaft broken off short. There is a detached bommie near where the half head meets the shaft. At the tip of the arrow head is a dense cluster of bommies. Access and egress is from the S. The anchorage is at 25°18'·83N, 34°46'·10E.
Page 213 Marsa Abu Dabbab
There is excellent diving on Elphinstone Reef.
* Page 213 Marsa Mubarak
The Marsa entry is CLOSED.
Port Ghalib (Marsa Mubarak) 25°32'N 34°38'·5E
A large marina is being built here along the lines of France's Port Grimaud. The old shallow lagoon has been dredged to form the marina's outer basin. Further work on the 2500 hectare site with its 20km of beachfront will create a 1000 berth marina village with hotels, golf course, etc. It will be a new port of entry. The international airport 4km to the S, which serves Marsa Alam, offers ready access. As of December 2001 the outer basin is ready and, because moorings are not yet in, berthing is alongside. There's room for 100 boats up to 50m LOA in the outer basin where dredged depth is 5m. There is fuel, water and electricity, but for supplies you'll have to go to Marsa Alam. The development is directly E of Luxor and, if you can afford it, will make a useful place to leave your boat to visit the major sites there. Contact email@example.com.
A HEPCA/USAID mooring is just S of the new development at 25°31'·95N 34°38'·56E.
Page 214 Ras Toronbi
The original reported position is wrong. The correct position, as given in Supplement No. 3, is 25°39'·33N, 34°34'·86E which, like all civil GPS positions, is good to within plus or minus 100m. Dive charter boats tend not to anchor in the anchorage but to hang off in the lee of the reef off the Ras, just outside the N entrance, where they lie in quiet water, out of the swell.
Page 214 Sharm el Bahari
There is a wide entrance through the opening in the fringing reef which breaks in any swell. The sugarloaf hill is not conspicuous and the reported bridge over the wadi does not exist. There is a new, conspicuous hotel complex and dive resort with a jetty. Anchoring is difficult because the resort has laid moorings in the sharm. If a mooring is free there seem to be no objections to yachts using it, but you'll need to lay a stern anchor to reduce swing.
* Page 214 El Quseir
The jetty is very crowded with dive boats and you may not find anywhere to get alongside or even stern-to. This is not a port of entry and even with visas you may not be able to check in here. Fuel is usually available nonetheless. The area can be affected by a large swell in certain conditions. There is a conspicuous radome 1M S of Quseir bay and a new hotel complex to the N. There are now only two mooring buoys in the bay. No recent reports of good agents.
Page 216 Hamrawein
There is an anchorage in the lee of the large phosphate loading terminal. However, if there is a ship loading, don't even think of it. Thick, choking clouds of red phosphate dust swirl downwind coating everything in their way. Only for the desperate who, in any case, may be moved on by security paranoia.
Page 216 Quei Reefs
There are three reefs with deep water separating them. The anchorage behind the middle one provides shelter from the sea but is only in 8m and is very tight, a very short scope being needed. Suitable in calm weather only. Of interest primarily to divers as a temporary stop.
* Page 217 Mina Safaga
Approach New beacons include a large red beacon on Safaga Ulbur, a cape approx 5M S of the S tip of Gez Safaga; a lit W cardinal mark on the W end of the main reef in the Hyndman group; a new light tower on the E side of Gez Safaga; a large lit green beacon, on the end of the sand spit which extends from the S tip of the island and a large, lit red beacon marking the end of Spit Reef. Details have also been received of two new lights with Racons reported in Safaga. They are a black and white beacon, Fl(4)16M, Racon (C) in 26°51'·22N, 34°00'·08E and a white beacon Fl.WRG.1012M, Racon (Z) in 26°42'·9N, 33°59'·82E. There is a beacon on South Fairway reef as well.
Conspicuous A white building on the SW side of Geziret Safaga makes a good landmark for the approach into the harbour from the S. There are now several new aerials ashore and many more buildings than the sketch on page 217 implies. The hotels are further N than indicated and should appear on the sketch on page 218, along the SE facing strip of shore NW of the 29m sounding, between the mainland and the reef NW of Safaga I. A minaret stands inland of the S end of the hotel strip. Note that hotel and resort development is extending all the way round to the NE side of Ras Abu Soma and, in patches, all the way N to Hurghada. If you go inside Gez Safaga keep 2030m off the sand spit near the naval base and follow the coastal fringing reef N. One report recommends steering approx 315°M along the inshore reef until near a large dive boat jetty E of a radio aerial. Least depth approx 3m at LW.
The only approved anchorage near the town is at 26°47'·5N 33°56'·5E off the hotel strip, good holding in 78m, sand patches in coral, can be rolly. Beware of floating lines attached to mooring buoys near the dive boat jetties. An overnight anchorage off Gez Safaga at 26°43'·58N 33°58'·40E, NW of Morewood Beacon, has been used, in 8m, coral and sand.
The 'beach police' or coastguard will come out and ask you to go to their base at the Orca Village Dive Resort in the NW corner of the bay. Then catch a minibus or taxi to the Port Offices and Immigration near the big crossroads after Bank of Egypt. The Immigration Office is inside the second, and less elaborate gates into the port in the small yellow, two storied building about 100m on the right. Charges approx US$40 to check in. To this you may need now to add US$25 for the one month Customs Fee (or more if you intend to stay longer, see page 195 above), though we do not know if the Safaga authorities are up to speed on recent changes. If you do pay, get a receipt because the fee is valid for all Egyptian waters for one month. If headed S the authorities prefer you to get an exit stamp in your passport even if you intend to stop at anchorages before the border with Sudan. The coastguard will want a photocopy of the exit stamps in your passports before you leave. Checking out of Egypt was free in 2000.
Agents are useful but not obligatory. Nageeb Mostafa and Abu Nageeb have been recommended. Work out what you want to do and agree on a price in advance. In 2000 we paid E£30 (US$9) for a taxi service which included being taken to Immigration to check out, the bank, the fuel station, the PO, the market, internet café, etc. Diesel and petrol are available by jerry and LPG refills are possible but slow. Agents will deal with laundry or there are laundries in the town. The unsightly garbage tip is on the dirt road near the beach. Cash advances on Visa and Mastercard at the Bank of Egypt. It is open in the morning every day though for shorter hours on Friday and Saturday. Take your passport with you. Groceries from supermarkets about half way to the port area and from the souk in the old town. There was only one expensive cybercafe in 2001. Fork right up the hill at the first major intersection, about half way to the market. There are cardphones but you can also call from shops. Negotiate the rate in advance. There is a mobile phone GSM network but rates are relatively expensive. The Post Office is unreliable.
* Page 219 Ras Abu Soma
There is a new marina and resort complex with golf course conspic! A lit water tower further N is also conspicuous and there is a long walkway to the SE edge of the reef around the ras. Dive boats on the reefs serve as good marks but there are unmarked shallows in the approach. Enter only in good visibility. The anchorage outside the marina, 26°50'N 33°58'·8E, 810m sand, good holding, is quieter than the one off the Safaga hotel strip, and although the winds are often strong, a lot more comfortable. The entrance to the marina is at 26°50'·9N 33°59'·1E, depths inside around 4m shoaling abruptly to 1·25m close to the walls. It has 70 stern-to berths for boats up to 45m. There are a few visitors' berths. Call on VHF Ch 12 on approach. Water and fuel are available and berthing possible, if at US$3 per metre per day LOA, very expensive. The fuelling pier is in place with showers and toilets ashore. Provisions are available. You can get laundry done and there is a range of shops including a bakery, but everything is more expensive than in Safaga.
There is good diving on the nearby reefs with HEPCA/USAID moorings off Gez Tubya, S of the anchorage and off the Fairway Reefs, N of Gez Safaga but currents can be very strong.
Page 219 Sharm el Arab
There is no anchorage here. It is a small marsa open to the NE which is not usable by boats. The sketch on page 219 is of what the locals call Maqhadiq Beach, the next anchorage N'wards. It is surrounded with new hotels and has a long new jetty projecting into the bay from the N shore. The detached reef in the entrance actually joins to the S shore. There are many dive boats, windsurfers, Hobies, etc. leaving scant room for the passing cruiser. It is best avoided. Sailing N from here to Marsa Abu Makhadiq beware the fingers of reef that extend across the channel from the patchy reef on the extending SSW from Sal Hashish It. Isolated bommies stretch a good way across the E side of this channel. There is deeper water on the inshore side, though beware of the isolated bommie on the west side of the north entrance to the channel. Note there is a good anchorage S of Sal Hashish Islet. Access can be had, with a good lookout, through the bommies of the patchy ground extending SSW of the islet or through clear water from the S.
Page 221 Marsa Abu Makhadiq
For the approach from the S see above. There are two mooring buoys in the middle of the bay. One is lit just SE of where we mark mud in the sketch. The other buoy is awash E of the 11m sounding This whole area is under development for hotel complexes (the coastal bane from Safaga north to the Gulf of Suez) and there is now no military presence. There is a lattice work beacon on E side of reef on the NE entrance to the bay. From the N there are also leading marks the SW side of marsa in line bearing approx 240°. There is an old jetty at the head of the bay but the concrete part is separated from the jetty end with four bare piles in a square between them. The isolated platform of the old jetty end has a set of sheerlegs on it. One position for an anchorage is 27°02'·74N, 33°53'·72E in about 10m sand. Note that the bottom is fouled by an old anchor and chain for 30m around 27°02'·711N, 33°53'·535E. Otherwise there is good holding, very well protected from strong N'lies.
Page 221,22526 Anchorages in the Gifatin (Giftun) Islands
Note: Anchoring is now prohibited in the Gifatin Islands. Gifatin el-Saghir, Gifatin Kebir, Abu Rimathi, Shab Abu Rimathi, Umm Agawish el-Kebir, Abu Minqar and all other reefs and waters in this area are a marine reserve (see sketch on page 221). Hefty fines and jail sentences for offenders. Free moorings have been laid in the area. These do tend to be heavily used by dive boats and it can be rolly.
There is a restaurant with a reportedly pleasant ambience on the S tip of Gifatin Kebir.
* Page 221-3 Hurghada
The beacons on Umm Agawish-el-Kebir and at the S end of the fairway W of the island are missing. There is a yellow buoy off the NE end of reef E of the hotel strip S of Abu Minqar I. There is now no beacon on the S tip of Umm-Agawish. There is a conspicuous new water tower NW of the town in 27°17'·7N, 33°44'·6E. The leading marks for approach from the N are very clear. There is a new ferry pier. From seaward a jetty appears to be under construction between where we mark Police and Port Authority launches and the wreck. The Sharm el Sheikh jetcat berths N of this new jetty. Extensive reclamation is also underway filling in what seems to be the entire fringing reef between Merlin Pt and the port. There is now a large number of piers along the whole shoreline N and NW of the port for hotel dive boats, the numbers of which in Hurghada are now well over the 1200 mark!
If you call here you will have to pay port fees (see below) of US$120. In addition there will be the Customs Fee which you will have to pay for the first time if this is your first port after the Canal. You will also have to pay it here if you are northbound and you have not already paid in Safaga. Some yachts try to avoid the procedures and the associated fees, but this is illegal. Clearing can be done with or without an agent. Agents cost approx US$80. If you use an agent you can usually leave passports and ships' papers with him and go to El Gouna marina directly if you don't want to anchor in Hurghada. The GSM mobile phone network works well here and there are cyber-cafιs for e-mail.
Page 22628 Strait of Gubal
The sketch showing approximate strong weather routes is merely indicative. It should NOT be used for navigation. There are numerous isolated reefs and outcrops not shown. You need BA2375 and a prepared passage plan. The refinery ship marked on the sketch in the middle of Tawila Channel has been moved. In the Tawila Channel there are no beacons on Shab Gubal or S Qeisum. The beacons marking the narrows at the W end of the channel no longer exist and the passage has been rather eccentrically buoyed. In approx. 27 36'·02N 33 43'·2E there is a green starboard hand buoy. In approx. 27°36'·15N 33°42'·4E and 27°36'·2N 33°43'·0E there are red port hand buoys. These seem to mark a deep water channel on a line 060/240°T, with, heading E, the highest point (121m) on Gubal I as a leading mark. In approx. 27°35'·25N 33°42'·6E there is a horizontally marked RW buoy. Given its location perhaps it is an E quadrant buoy on the old uniform cardinal system, leave it to starboard going N, to port coming S. There is a new red beacon, Fl(2)4s on the ege of the NW side of the previously unmarked reef named Siyul Saghira, SW of Shab Umm Usk. Shab Abu Shiban, the reef SE of Endeavour Harbour and NW of Shab el-Erg now has a N cardinal mark on its NE tip. Diving and snorkelling trips at the S end of the Gulf of Suez are now big business and you can expect to see dive boats in or near several of the anchorages mentioned in this section.
In calm weather Carless Reef, 27°18'·8N 33°56'·45E, is highly recommended for its two coral towers, soft corals and numerous moray eels. But beware the fire coral. There are excellent wreck dives on the late 19th-century Carnatic, and the 20th-century Giannis D on the N flank of Sha'b Abu Nuhas, 27°34'·9N 33°55'·65E. Ask in Hurghada or El Gouna for more precise locations.
Between Sha'b Ali and the mainland you can find the Second World War wreck of the Thistlegorm 27°49'·0N, 33°55'·28E, sunk in 1941 by long range bombers from German occupied Crete. Her deck cargo of railway wagons and holds full of trucks, jeeps, motorcycles and tyres is all there. The late Jacques Cousteau discovered it in 1956. The wreck of the Sarah H lies of the W side of Shag Rock in approx 24°46'·69N, 33°52'·54E. Sha'b Mahmud, a long submerged barrier reef at approx 27°45'N 34°05'E, offers a number of good dives especially round Beacon Rock, 27°42'·3N 34°07'·6E, in cluding the wreck of the Dunraven in approx 27°42'·19N, 34°07'·35E. Shab el Utaf (page 252) is the nearest anchorage unless you are bold and can cope with the anchorage, in sand an coral, at approx. 27°42'·77N, 34°07'·15E between the arms of the two pincers at the SE end of Shab Mahmud. Shab Mahmud is always awash. For the intrepid there is an inshore passage inside Shab Mahmud to a narrow pass in approx. 27°46'·54N, 34°03'·37E - THIS HAS TO BE CAREFULLY EYEBALLED IN QUIET WEATHER.
* Page 228 El Gouna
Suez to El Gouna
WPT 1 27°48'·85N 33°43'·10E
in open water north of the N entrance to the Tawila Channel 1·4M NW of Ashrafi I Lt
WPT 2 27°40'·70N 33°45'·70E
between Gubhal Saqhira and South Qeisum
WPT 3 27°35'·90N 33°42'·85E
N entrance to narrows between Tawila I and Bahriya Tawila
WPT 4 27°35'·20N 33°42'·40E
S entrance to narrows between Tawila I and Bahriya Tawila
WPT 5 27°30'·00N 33°41'·87E
off NE tip of reef WSW of Shab Tawila
WPT 6 27°26'·20N 33°43'·20E
ESE of SE tip of Shab Esh & 1.3M W by NW of buoy (fl.w) on reef
WPT 7 27°24'·60N 33°41'·40E
At this point you are off Abu Tig Marina. The entrance to the buoyed channel, least depth 3·6m, is marked by lit beacons on the reef each side of the entrance, starboard, Fl.G(1)5s4M (in good weather), at approx 27°24'·36N 33°40'·54E. There are 2 more pairs of buoys R/G (FR and FG) in the dredged channel and beacons (Fl.R.5s1·5M, Fl.G.5s1·5M) at the marina entrance.
To proceed to Abydos noting the eccentric buoyage:
WPT 8 27°23'·256N 33°41'·693E buoy (Fl.GR) - LEAVE TO PORT thence
about 0·75M S to approx 27°22'·8N, 33°41'·71E, marina (buoy (Fl.R)) LEAVE TO STBD
then turn W and the two piers of Abydos are 4 cables ahead.
Hurghada to El Gouna
WPT 11 27°16'·90N 33°52'·00E
in open water 3M NNW of Hurghada hbr jetty
WPT 10 27°21'·20N 33°48'·20E
0·9M W of W edge of Shab Abu Nigara
WPT 9 27°26'·00N 33°43'·85E
0·6M SW of a beacon on an isolated reef
WPT 7 27°24'·60N 33°41'·693E
as above for Abu Tig Marina and for Abydos
Abu Tig Marina
The arrivals pier is at the fuel dock on the port side inside the entrance. Call on VHF Ch 16 or 73 on approach.
Officially, visiting vessels in Egypt should check in with the regional port authority for each port or sub-port they visit. El Gouna is in Hurghada's bailiwick. Abu Tig Marina hopes to have ProTours, their company's tourist agency, recognized as a shipping agent. However, there is a turf war between them and Fantasea, the existing and sole agent in Hurghada. To visit El Gouna without going to Hurghada first:
From S. Check in at Safaga. Pay your Customs Fee and get a receipt. Get a sailing permit stamped 'Destination Suez'· Go to El Gouna direct and let them handle checking you in with the Hurghada authorities
From Suez. The Suez Canal is a duty free area and Egyptian customs fees are not applicable (though see also page 265 below). Unless you have already called at Alexandria or El Arish, Hurghada will be your port of entry to Egypt proper and you must pay your US$25 Customs Fee in addition to other fees.
These will vary depending on your stay. Using Fantasea, the only agent at present either in Hurghada or from El Gouna, agents fee US$80 (when ProTours becomes a shipping agent the fee will drop to US$50), port dues and health clearance US$120 (this is a rip off). If you haven't checked-in in Safaga, there will also be a Customs Fee (see page 195 above).
There are 126 berths for boats up to 40m and 12 visitors' berths dredged to approx 2·63·6m. Mooring is Mediterranean style with service posts for water, electricity, phone and cable TV. There are dedicated showers, toilets and a laundry for visiting boats. Fuel is available and there will be a chandlery, and mechanical, electrical and electronics workshops. The marina manager and harbour master is Philip Jones.
If you are <18m loa, and stay over 10 days but less than 30 days berthing is free, water US$4.50 per cubic metre, electricity US13.5c per kWh. Otherwise El Gouna's current rate for visiting yachts <18m loa is US$15 a day including power and water with limits of 1·5 cubic metres of water and 15kWh per week. The monthly rate thereon is US$15 per metre LOA. These rates are intended to offset the punitive costs of formalities in Egypt generally and to encourage longer term berthing. There are shuttle buses to downtown El Gouna.
tel +20 65 580 073
mobile +20 12 223 0090
fax +20 65 580 040
www.elgouna.com/www.abutig-marina.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Approach Note the eccentricity of the approach buoyage given in the access route above.
Until El Gouna's port status is established, a coastguard will probably come and ask for your papers. It is best to have photocopies of your sailing permit to give away. What happens next is in the lap of the gods or possibly your billfold. For a short stay you may be able to avoid clearing in Hurghada. For a long stay, you must go to Hurghada, for details see Abu Tig above.
There are 2 floating piers. Visiting yachts usually lie on the N side of the S'most. Anchor Mediterranean style. It is near impossible not to foul the ground tackle of boats in berths opposite and there is only space for three or four visitors. Daily rates are E£50, regardless of LOA, electricity included. Water is E£10 per cubic metre. Monthly rates are E$450 for up to 7m, E£800 for 814m and E£1000 for 1420m. Services are basic and ablutions facilities not inviting. The staff are very friendly and will do their best to help. Alternatively anchor off and come to an arrangement about using the facilities. The anchorage is sheltered, good holding in 3 to 4m, mud. Abydos was the first marina operational in El Gouna. The El Gouna shuttle from the LTI Paradiso Hotel is about 1km away. There is a floating dock for vessels up to 60 tons and fuel is available at reasonable prices. It must be jerry-jugged because depths off the fuel pier are limited.
Modern El Gouna is an amazing mega development by the Egyptian company Orascom and much patronized by Egyptian glitterati. Its 17 million sq m. boast luxury villas, an 18-hole golf course, an international hospital to US and German standards with recompression facilities, an international airport, a water-making plant, an industrial zone, a winery, a brewery, a power station, an international school and almost a cordon sanitaire from scruffy Egypt proper with which you'll have a love-hate relationship by now. You can rubber duck rubberneck the place from the canals interlacing it. Downtown at Tamr Henna and Kafr el Gouna there are shops, a PO (unreliable), film processing, restaurants and a cybercafι. There are six international standard hotels including a Sheraton-Miramar, a Mövenpick, and the LTI Paradisio. After hard commons you can gross out.
Page 228 Shab el Erg
An alternative anchorage is formed by a break inside the reef's W arm, approximately 1M SW by S from Melana Bn. It is not shown on the sketch. Good visibility or a waypointed exit track is needed for anchoring and leaving from further in.
Shab el-Erg has a new E cardinal mark on its NE side.
Page 228 Shaker I
Note: The island is still mined. Don't go ashore.There are leading marks for the approach near the shoreline between the two dry streambeds marked in the sketch. They are difficult to see. The leading line passes between two buoys which mark the pass into the anchorage to the E of the isolated bommie in the sketch. The isolated bommie is very difficult to spot and may not exist.
Page 229 Endeavour Harbour & Tawila I
There is a new, lit green beacon near the E tip of Tawila I. A more precise GPS position for the entrance, between the 14m and 18·6m soundings has been given at 27°33'·67N, 33°47'·93E. The rock on the reef S of the entrance and marked on the sketch is more conspicuous than the islet 0·6m, further S. The existence of the shallow patch marked in the entrance has not yet been confirmed. A second good anchorage, with easier access in poorer light conditions, is S of where the ruined landing craft dock is shown on the sketch.
Page 229 Shab Umm Usk
Many dive boats have anchored here overnight in recent years.
Page 23031 Gubal I
It has been reported that the bottom is very hard in the outer anchorage and some ESE swell can make in to the inner anchorage. Nonetheless, not too uncomfortable. An anchorage in 27°37'·42N, 33°47'·73E is in 10m, sand and coral. The coral is all dead and the anchorage none too easy of access, a spit hooking out W from near a beacon on the S tip of Gubal I. Where the half anchor is marked is full of coral and inaccessible. The channel through to the Tawila Channel is foul, accessible only by boats and even then with difficulty,
* Page 233 Bluff Pt
Possible to enter even at night but need to tuck in close to find shallow enough water. A GPS waypoint for the anchorage is 27°40'·63N, 33°48'·23E.
Page 233 Marsa Zeitya
The moored ship and white buoys in the sketch have been removed. There is a report that the light (Fl.10s24m15M) on Umm el-Kiman has moved to the headland S of the anchorage. Official sources rebut this and it seems very unlikely. A radio mast on the ridge SW of of the anchorage is conspic. Wind strength in the anchorage is a poor indication of conditions offshore, generally being stronger and gustier. There are two buoys with floating hoses. Pass between them with the red to starboard and the yellow to port on the way in, keeping well clear of the hoses.
Page 23537 Shab Ali
Shab Ali N anchorage continues to be in a restricted area on latest chart but still no problems reported. Two new marks have been reported. One is a green buoy with light, Fl(3)15s off the NE side of the reef at 27°53'·1N, 33°51'·9E. The other is a large unlit beacon off the W side of the reef in approx the same latitude. It has been reported that a safe entry to an anchorage at 27°53'·0N, 33°51'·4E, can be made from the green buoy noted above on a course of 260°. The anchorage is in sand amongst coral heads, all of which have more than 3m over them. The large scale sketch of the N anchorage is very approximate.
The anchorage on the S of Shab Ali, N of Shag Rock is at 27°49'·27N, 33°51'·97E in sand and coral, holding reported better than given in the text.
Page 237 Merset el-Qad Yahyah
Entrance is clear and easy but depths in the N of the marsa are consistently deep right up to within 20m of the shore. The wreck, an old tug, is conspic. The inner E tip of the reef on the N of the entrance is marked by a small stake. There is a small pier and a hut used by fishermen on Ras Kenisa with a boat pass to it through the reef. There is no wharf where we mark one. There is a small jetty with fishing boats on it or beached, a few huts and a police post just N of the 17·7m sounding at the entrance to the NW arm. The NW arm is no place to anchor. It is quite deep (1213m) at the E end and full of coral where it shoals to 5m about two thirds the way along. A good anchorage can be found in 13m, sand and weed, about 30m from the N shore, 200m E of the small jetty. The road to Sharm el Sheikh, a mile or so north, is very busy.
Page 23738 Ras Shukheir
Good for light W'lies only. Unpleasantly rolly in a NW'ly. A stern anchor to hold head to sea is vital. Anchor where shown but tuck as far in N and W as possible and don't forget to put out a stern anchor.
Page 238 Sheikh Riyah Harbour
Shab Riyah is now marked by a beacon. A good, well-protected anchorage but you are probably not allowed to land. There is a small jetty used by fishermen in the NW corner which has a police guardpost. A part completed hotel development is conspicuous on the E shore. There is a pile in the middle of the harbour on a line 056°M from the beacon on Shab Riyah. A settlement is conspicuous at the foot of a low scarp N of the N shore.
Page 2389 El Tur
At night the lights of El Tur are conspicuous and extend all around the bay, far beyond the confines of the town as shown on either the chart or our sketch.
Grafton Reef W of the entrance has two beacons, one old and one new with a black cone topmark but neither was lit in 2000. They should be given a wide berth since the reef extends another 50m beyond them. The leading beacons are not lit but are easily visible in the day. Both are lattice towers, the front with a triangle point down, the back with a triangle point up. There is an additional pole beacon, triangle point up, in front of the front leading beacon.
Deeper water of 810m has been reported off the wharf. The radio masts are 4 cables N of the position marked in the sketch. El Tur is no longer a Port of Entry. Crew with American passports, even with valid Egyptian visas, are apparently being arbitrarily detained and harassed by the military here if they land. As an overnight anchorage only it can still be recommended. We anchored overnight, surveyed around in the morning to check depths around the anchorage, and were left completely alone. Another boat's crew, with visa, decided he had a perfect right to land. Not surprisingly he got arrested.
The whole port is a secure area. There is a large military airfield which you can see behind the leading beacons. You can also see the wall separating the port from the town if you look hard. Cruisers who have tried to land at the pier NNE of the anchorage have been turned back by the military. If you need something ashore take your dinghy to the more primitive pier E of the mosque and slipway. There is a guardpost there at which you should present yourself and explain. If you're allowed ashore you will probably be assigned a guide by the authorities. Permission to go ashore anywhere on the Sinai coast is difficult to arrange even if you have a valid visa, which is a pity since the anchorages on that side tend to be quieter.
There are boatyard facilities which have been used in the past. It is a set of railway cradles on a slip behind the building on the newer fisheries pier NE of the anchorage. Negotiations take time and apparently supervision is needed for secure chocking of sailing boats.
No lights were working in autumn 2000. There is an abandoned, unlit rig service boat in 28°13'·76N, 33°36'·93E, at the entrance to the harbour proper. There are also two lattice work beacons, side by side, on Erg Riyah.
Page 242 False Ras Gharib
Good in light W'lies but very rolly and uncomfortable in N to NW'lies and untenable in strong NE'lies.
Page 242 Ras Sheratib (Shab el Hasa)
A conspicuous structure at approx 28°36'·95N, 33°11'·5E, marks the pass between Shab el Hasa and the next reef E'wards. It does not appear on the sketch on page 241.
Belayim oilfield can be crossed by yachts without restriction but with a sharp lookout for hazards. The anchorage is well protected and has been recently used without any problems.
Page 242 Ras Gihan
This is a very vestigial anchorage and extremely hard to spot. The most likely candidate is NW of a couple of rusty old storage tanks (the village, fort and tank farm on the BA chart do not exist, just a small row of battered, abandoned huts), just at the S foot of a stunning ridge of jagged, red mountains which glow in the sunset. On the W flank of the mountain there is a conspic. white patch. Just E of the patch, one behind the other are two rather battered wooden leading marks. These seem to lead into an anchorage, 34m, in the tenuous lee of a small headland just N of a charted shoal patch (1·5m). Ras Gihan itself, in the lee of a projecting tongue of reef a mile or so NW looks decidely iffy even in quiet weather. We chickened out in a flat calm! Maybe it looks more welcoming, and easier to spot, in a blow.
Page 24243 Ras Ruahmi
Good in light W'lies but very unpleasant in N to NW'lies.
Page 244 Wadi Feiran
Depths in the anchorage are less than indicated in the sketch. Unless you have a shallow draught it is difficult to tuck in under the protection of the reef to escape the roll.
Several boats who tried the anchorage in a blow in 1999 descibed it as untenable.
Page 245-46 Marsa Thelemet
Ignore all amendments in previous supplements. The sketch as it appears in the book is accurate enough for safe daylight entry. There is a small, unlit buoy (very rusty RW) at 29°02'·37N 32°38'·26E, marking the fairway entry and lying south of the leading line. There is a new L-shaped jetty, aligned approx. NW/SE, but it is only a cable or so south of remains of piles which might be the ruins of the old. It is lit on its outer ends, Fl(3)R.10s on the southern tip, F.G on the northern. The R visible at a mile or so, the G barely visible at half a mile. There are also two fairly bright floodlights illuminating its outer part. Note that the leading beacons on 302°T lead clear south of the jetty. The old leading markers (ranges) shown in the sketch have been replaced by new lattice towers, though the old markers still stand behind the new ones! There is no wreck on the tip of the reef. What has been taken for a wreck is an unlit lattice-work beacon, somewhat ahoo. Note that the beacon is NOT at the edge of shoal water but at least 0·5M further N near the tip of the sand spit. The spit mostly covers at HW, but is completely uncovered at LW. Immediately S of Marsa Thelemet on the coast in approx 29°N, there is a large new resort complex, brightly lit at night.
Entering from approx 29°02'·1N, 32°39'·1E on the leading line (unlit), and leaving the buoy to port, once in position 29°03'·525N, 32°38'·119E, turn onto 005T and the secondary leading line to the head of the marsa. The 2ndry leading marks (unlit) are two lattice towers, the front with an arrowhead point up, the rear with an arrowhead point down. These marks take you directly towards a stout, newly built ramp jetty. They also line up perfectly with a water tower some distance inland. When approaching from Ras Zafarana in the NE, the ramp jetty and 2ndry leading marks are conspicuous, much more so than the main jetty and leading marks. There is a conspicuous building with a radar aerial on its flat roof on the ridge ending in low bluffs about 0·8M south of the main jetty. There is a manned garrison in the scruffy buildings surrounding the main leading marks, fairly brightly lit at night.
Anchor to the E of the ramp jetty in 5m-6m sand, good holding, in approx. 29°03'·67N, 32°38'·23E. Some yachts have reported difficulty getting their anchors to dig in, so holding may not be good everywhere. Alternatively, there may be a soft top layer of windblown sand which you need to let your anchor sink through. There is a shifting patch of discoloured water in the middle of the marsa, though there are consistent depths of 11m.
The officer in charge of the garrison may come out and ask for passports and ship's papers. In response to courtesy and cooperation he is very friendly and willing to help. A rig service boat occasionally uses the jetty. Fishing boats shelter here in bad weather and camel trains have been seen ashore.
Page 2489 Ras Malab
The conspicuous rock has been reported to have a centreline leading mark but the beacons marking the approach to the jetty are missing. The buoys in the sketch were missing recently. From the anchorage the large conspic 'rock', which is about 30m in diameter, bears about 080°T and the cairn bears about 100°T. The jetty and leading marks are new and the old mine building has gone. A new building has replaced it surrounded with high fencing and floodlights, though these were not lit at night in 1999. Berthing alongside the jetty is not possible but once you're anchored, try visiting the hot spring on the beach at the foot of Gebel Hammam Faraun. The cairn on Gebel Hammam Faraun is hard to spot in afternoon light. The 'tree stump' rock has a conspic pale stripe on its upper surface. The anchorage has room for 68 boats in about 45m sand where the bottom shelves rapidly. Pay out scope quickly when anchoring in strong winds or by the time the anchor has set, you'll have dragged into deeper water.
Page 249 Damaran Abu Mieish
A position for the anchorage has been given at 29°25'·6N, 32°45'·3E
Page 250 Ras Sudr
It can be rolly here. Fuel was available in 1998.
Page 251 Anchorages on the S Sinai Peninsula
The marine park which includes this area has been extended and restrictions are enforced. No anchoring in this area is allowed without clearance from the authorities at the customs pier in Sharm el Sheikh.
* Page 252 Mersa Bareika
There is a military camp at the anchorage shown on the sketch. Yachts are not welcome.
* Page 252 Sharm el-Sheikh & Ras Muhammad
If this is your first port of call in Egypt, you must pay the Customs Fee (see page 195). If you have already paid in another port, BE SURE YOU HAVE EVIDENCE OF YOUR PAYMENT. Agents are compulsory. Contact port control on Ch 16 prior to mooring at the main wharf for clearance. In an emergency tie up to one of the many mooring buoys that have been laid near the dive sites. Up to three boats may use the buoys at once. A charge is made for mooring at the dock and for anchoring.
Page 254 Jazirat Zanafir
Jazirat Zanafir is Saudi Arabian territory. Recent information from Egyptian Army patrols says no stopping is tolerated, even in an emergency. Yachts are likely to be detained and their crew jailed.
Page 254-55 Tiran
There is an Egyptian Army outpost on the SE end of Tiran I. Anchoring is permitted just W of the outpost, though permission should be sought. There is an active patrolling policy using outboard powered inflatables. The anchorage is well sheltered in N'lies. You can get permission to land on the beach. Inland is out of bounds because the whole island is still sown with mines laid during the Arab/Israeli wars. The light characteristics for the light shown on Jackson Reef have been changed. The new characteristics are Fl(2)R.8M. A wreck is reported just S of Nabq in position 28°03'·5N, 34°26'·7E.
* Page 25859 Mersa el Muqabila
Taba Heights is a new large development here at 29°21'·8N 34°47'·5E
with a marina built by Orascom, the same company that built El Gouna. At present the basin, dredged to 34m, has stern-to berths for only 20 boats from 830m. Pontoons with 50 berths and a fuelling berth will be installed. The resort complex has a Hyatt already on stream and some shops for basics. Several other international hotels are under construction. Existing marina services include water and power. Fuel can be jerry-jugged from a service station on the main road about 1km from the marina. For further information e-mail email@example.com.
Page 258 Marsa Hamira
There is an uncharted coral outcrop with >1m over it, bang in the middle of the bay, more or less where the figure '5' appears on the 5m contour. A Club Med resort complex effectively occupies the marsa, there has been no recent news of their attitude to visiting yachts.
* Page 259 Aqaba
There is a clear and easy approach. You will be called on Ch 16 by the Israeli navy as you approach the coast. Tell them that you are headed for Jordan and call the port authority when 10M out on Ch 16. The entrance to the Royal Jordanian Yacht Club marina is at 29°31'·72N 34°59'·89E is lit. The marina can accommodate vessels up to 25m LOA and 2·9m draught. Call on Ch 67. Mediterranean-style mooring or alongside depending on how crowded the marina is. Very secure. Aqaba is a clearance port for Jordan. Customs will visit you in the marina and the Yacht Club will arrange visas and immigration clearance. Visas are issued for two weeks, extendable to three months at any police station with no additional charge. The marina has full services and is well protected. Fuel, workshop, showers, swimming pool and restaurant. Marina dues are not cheap at approx US$20 per day. There is also normally a flat fee of US$55 which covers services and use of facilities, including the swimming pool but this is an annual charge. Try negotiating. Cybercafιs in town. LPG available. The Club will hold mail, address is The Royal Jordanian Yacht Club, PO Box 500, Aqaba, Jordan.
Aqaba is a duty-free port and is actively expanding its tourist industry. It's a good place to have spares shipped in. Travel between Jordan and neighbouring Israel is now straightforward either by road or sea. The Jordanians are friendly, helpful and welcoming. There is a GSM mobile phone network.
Page 260 Elat
There is now a marine farm, approximately 2 cables by 2 cables in area close E of the marina entrance. If you are heading to Elat from Jordan you must sail 5M offshore first, then call the Israeli navy on Ch 10 or 16. Contact Elat Port Control on Ch 14 when you are about 2M out. They will arrange a mooring for you to complete formalities. Contact the marina on Ch 11 once you are cleared in to arrange for the bridge to be opened. The marina has Mediterranean-style mooring. Charges in 1998 were US$12 per metre per month or US$1 per metre per day. There were no showers or toilets here in 1998 but the management was welcoming and friendly. Good workshops for repairs are to be found on the industrial estate. E-mail is available at BJ Books in the Tourist Shopping Centre. There is a GSM mobile phone network.
Elat Marina Tel +972 7 6376761; Fax +972 7 6315138.
* Page 260 The Eilat (Elat) area code has changed. That means inserting an 8 instead of a 7 after the Israel country code, e.g Elat Marina Tel +972 8 6376761.
* Page 262 Suez Canal
The scale for the sketch of the canal is wrong. It should be 015 nautical miles. The Suez Canal Authority's earnings are also wrong by an order of magnitude. Canal dues net US$1.9 billion or so a year
Port of Suez
Approach If you have chosen the Prince of the Red Sea agency and call on VHF Ch 16 on approach, you will be met in position 29°51'N, 32°34'E. There are several new marks in the S approaches, be sure to consult a recent chart and Notices to Mariners.
You are ostensibly required to contact the port authorities on VHF Ch 16 on approach, before reaching 29°55'N, though this does not seem to be enforced. Convoys are assembling or on the move N'bound 05301030, and if traffic demands it 03000430. S'bound convoys pass between 14001700 and 2000midnight. If you are N'bound and arrive between 0530 and 0600 be careful to stay clear of the assembling convoy. The main assembly area is to the E of the approach channel from approx. 29°47'·5N northwards (see BA2373). The best approach to keep out of the way of big ships manoeuvring is to hold to the shorelines. Either the W shore across the shoal (least depth 7m) off Ras Adabiya or close around Ras Misalla in the E. If you are S'bound you will either have to time your departure to be clear of the canal approaches before 0600, which means leaving the yacht club before 0500. Otherwise you will have to wait until about 1030 when the N'bound convoy has passed through, but be clear before the first S'bound convoy arrives around 1400. There is another brief window between about 1700 and 2000 before the second S'bound convoy arrives. Some yachts have left regardless of convoy movements. This is not courteous, sensible or particularly good seamanship.
Anchorage If you are in any doubt about your engine or have other mechanical problems anchor first in Port Ibrahim if possible and contact your agent. If you go to the Yacht Club with any mechanical trouble, you may find you create difficulties for your transit.
Page 264 Suez Yacht Club
A green buoy now marks the SW end of the shallow spit on the N side of the entrance. The Fl.G light on it should not be relied upon to be working.
Fees for yachts:
Water costs US$3 per cubic metre. You can go alongside the pontoon to water, but only around HW (<2·8m HWS). There is only 0·9m at chart datum (LAT). If you must water at other states of tide, you can lie alongside a boat on the first line of trots. The hose is long enough to reach. Charges for the washing machine are US$5 per load but it was out of service in late 2000. Fuel is available through the SCA Port Suez Yacht Club for US$0.42 per litre in September 2000. You must go to the fuel dock south of the club basin. Magdy of Felix Agency will also arrange fuel delivery by jerry jug at similar prices. The same is true of Mr Ibrahim. If you try to manage on your own paying street prices from a gas station you will have to pay the gate guard a tip because what you are doing is smuggling and hence illegal, you may fail and if you succeed the end price will probably be much the same!
Payment Payment in US$ is still preferred but you may be able to pay your bill in Egyptian pounds at an exchange rate agreed with the SCA Port Suez Yacht Club. Cash advances at ATM's are available at some banks, eg Bank of Egypt. Otherwise you can obtain cash on a credit card over the counter on production of your passport.
Communications The GSM mobile network works well. Phone cards may be bought at kiosks for the yellow Menatel phone boxes which are ubiquitous in Egypt now. For e-mail either use your agent or a cybercafe/computer shop in Port Suez. One, at E£5 per hour, is Future, Suez Gulf Development Co., 4 El Azhar St., Port Suez. This is on the far side of Port Suez on the right near the Immigration Police building, roughly parallel to the main road out to Cairo but two blocks in. Their hours are 10001400 and 19002300.
Duty-free alcohol This is a somewhat misleading term. For example at US$1315 a case for beer minimum order 10 cases it is clear that prices bear no relation to duty free elsewhere in the world. Worse, on every order (yachts can club together to place a single order) there is a customs levy of US$20.
Provisioning Take either a minibus - the fare was 50 piastres single in 2000 - or a taxi into Suez town where banks for Visa cash advances are available, plus a good market and post office.
Agents (see table below for charges). There is no question that, north or south bound, life is much simplified if you choose your agent ahead and give him advance warning of your arrival, preferably several days and a time-bracket within which to expect you.
The Prince of the Red Sea is still used more than any other agent by boats heading north. He will offer discounts of 56% to members of certain clubs and organizations, though exactly which ones qualify is not clear. He will give you a useful fact sheet on arrival at Port Suez. He can also arrange southbound transits. Fax no 2062 330965, Tel 2062 222126, 341316, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in Port Suez Union Ltd., Mr Ibrahim Slama is the closest to the Port Tewfik Yacht Club. Office telephone (20) 62 322251, home telephone (20) 62 340982, mobile (0)123240237, fax (20) 62 334301. Ibrahim's English is colourful and his gestural mime of unsurpassed eloquence. He is both assiduous and ever present and, in addition to working in his own right, seems to string for Felix Maritime Agency.
In Port Suez and Port Said Felix Maritime Agency is recommended. See Port Said entry for full details. Representatives in Port Suez are Magdy and Ibrahim. Call on Ch 05 on approach to Suez. Discounts are negotiable.
Note Arapko (Egypt) Shipping Brokers are no longer in business but you may meet the previous manager of the company in Suez where he works on contract for other agents. Other big ship' agencies will handle your transit if you ask them (there are lots) but you will pay agents' fees of US$200 and upwards.
* Page 265 Suez Canal and DIY
The Suez Canal Authority has confirmed to us that yachts can organize their own transit. However, though DIY may be cheaper it will certainly be very time-consuming. We are assured that it could take 'four days to a week' because of the slow speed with which invoices will be issued for individual applicants. You may also find that you will be actively obstructed by vested interests. If so, a letter to Captain Farid Roushdy (see Ismailia below) may get redress and will certainly help those in your wake, but at the time you'll have to grin and bear it. But don't forget, if you do DIY and anything subsequently goes wrong on your transit, you're on your own.
There is no doubt, Egypt being Egypt, that using an agent saves much hassle. Not only because you will avoid an obscurantist, obstructive, bureaucratic nightmare which even Kafka couldn't have invented. But also because the agents are in general charming, helpful and, in a way we shall leave you to discover, a splendid introduction to Egypt. They will smooth your passage and your ravelled nerves, no matter your justified fears for your cruising kitty. More, should anything go wrong in the canal or even on your way through Egyptian waters, your agent will rally round to help. It is quite reasonable you should pay for this. But be careful not to get stung (see below). Note, however, if you ask an agent to arrange any extra services such as a quick transit of the canal - for example with you arriving late p.m. and wanting to leave on a one day fast track run the next morning - the extra hassle and costs created for him may quite reasonably be reflected in your bill.
* Page 26667 Suez Canal transit
General Despite the fact that ALL the agents know this information appears on the Web and is regularly updated, they are always up to their old tricks. We understand from the SCA that new and simpler regulations governing yacht transit of the canal are being drawn up and that the SCA itself will also offer a service to yachts wishing to arrange transit. This will be in addition to and in competition with the services already offered by agents. The only innovation at present is the new tonnage charge.
* SCA Tonnage and measurement
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) fee based on tonnage means the bigger the boat, the bigger the dues. The SCA tonnage formula also means for boats of the same length, a beamier and deeper draft boat pays more. The SCA's rules require physical measurement by an SCA measurer. Most do a consistent job but there's room for a scam and it is occasionally exploited. A Suez Canal Special Certificate of Tonnage (SCSCT) issued by a classification society (e.g. Lloyds, ABS, Bureau Veritas, etc), is the safest route, but weigh the cost against your likely savings.
The Suez Canal Gross Tonnage (SCGT) formula, established by the 1883 Constantinople International Tonnage Convention, is the same for yachts as for ships. It measures internal volume as does Registered Tonnage. IT IS NOTHING TO DO WITH DISPLACEMENT. It should be close to your GRT. However, because yachts have fin keels which the drafters of the Constantinople Convention knew nothing about, SCGT is often much higher than seems fair. Deductions up to 10% of SCGT are made for crew spaces, engine room, etc. The result is Suez Canal Net Tonnage (SCNT). SCNT is the basis for fees calculated at US$6US$7 per ton. We don't know how the exact rate applied is decided.
The relevant SCA rule reads inter alia:
"Measure the greatest breadth of the ship to the outside of the outer planking or wales. Then, having first marked on the outside of the ship, on both sides thereof, the height of the upper deck at the ship's sides, girt the ship at the greatest breadth in a direction perpendicular to the keel from the height so marked on the outside of the ship, on the one side, to the height so marked on the other side by passing a chain under the keel."
(Suez Canal Authority, Rules of Navigation, Pt IV, p172)
That measurement is entered in the formula:
(L x (0·5G+0·5B)squared) x 0·17 or 0·18
100 (if in ft) or 2·83 (if in m)
L = LOA (strictly length between the inside faces of stem post and stern planking)
G = girth measured as above
B = maximum beam
0·17/0·18 = factors depending on whether construction is in 'wood' (0·17) or 'iron' (0·18)
100/2·83 = factor depending on whether measurements are in feet (100) or metres (2·83)
Most SCA measurers measure girth as the rule requires. Only an SCSCT would let you by-pass this, and possibly not even that. If your measurer doesn't set to, insist.
You can work out your tonnage using the formula and measuring your girth as the rule requires. If you don't want the hassle and the wet rope, here's a short-cut. Enter a figure for Girth calculated as follows:
G = 2(square root ((D+F)squared + 0·5B squared))
where D = draft and F = freeboard at point of maximum beam
To be best prepared:
a) Ask the classification society that measured you for registration, or any classification society, how much a SCSCT would cost for your boat. If this is a reasonable figure get one.
b) Work out rough costs BEFORE you get anywhere near agents. If your boat is GRP, assume the worst and calculate the figures for 'iron'·
c) Have the relevant facts and figures to ensure fair measurement.
d) Have a line long enough to measure your boat's girth under the keel stood by for when the measurer arrives. Indicate that you know the rule and can quote chapter and verse (see above). If he doesn't start measuring insist.
e) If you have an SCSCT and the measurer's tonnage is wildly discrepant, insist your agent appeals to the SCA. The SCA is obliged to accept SCSCTs.
If any problem occurs with your transit and you feel it unjustified, complain to your agent and, if you have no satisfaction, write to the SCA via Senior SCA Pilot Captain Farid Roushdy, c/o Ismailia Yacht Club, Ismailia, Egypt, tel (0)64 393341 or 394341.
Inspection The Engineer's Inspection does not take place for yachts making a southbound transit from Port Said.
Pilots The SCA has confirmed that you are not required to have a yacht type 'pilot' either to enter Ports Suez and Said or to leave. The 'pilots' used by yachts, ranking as SCA boatswain or coxswain, are not authorised for pilotage outside the canal and inner ports. The canal proper starts at km 3.7 at the Port Said end and a similar distance inland at Port Suez. Outside in the approaches only full canal pilots operate and they only work on pleasure vessels the size of superyachts.
Timing Departure times have changed. Northbound from Suez you leave between 1000 and 1100 after the last of the northbound ship convoy has cleared. From Ismailia on N'wards you leave between 0800 and 0830 to stay ahead of the northbound convoy.
Southbound from Port Said you leave between 0900 and 1100 after the last of the second southbound convoy. From Ismailia departure is at 0900 after the first southbound convoy is past.
Delays Northbound: These are rare and likely only to be occasioned by the passage of a laden VLCC north or south which can cause major, hazardous and sudden changes in water level in its vicinity. Southbound: Delays depend on the northbound convoy movements. You may be delayed in the El Ballah west channel on Day 1 and in the Great Bitter Lake on Day 2 when you may have to anchor.
One day transit It is possible to arrange this but only if your yacht can sustain 8kts minimum SPEED OVER THE GROUND. You will also be required to leave at 02000300 to keep ahead of the northbound convoy. You are not required to have a searchlight if you are under 200 Suez Canal Gross tonnes.
* Charges Remember, you are in Egypt and Egyptian business rules prevail however they may play in Peoria. Yachts are told regularly that fees are about to go up. This is a deliberate attempt to hustle you. Your best weapon is to ask for quotations well in advance, preferably at the same time as several other boats. Give your club affiliations and ask for a discount. Be ruthless. Insist on written itemised receipts. Shameless dishonesty, a sublime ignorance of or indifference to factual truth, a winning charm of manner and a willingness to bluster, bully and delay infinitely are endemic in Egyptian business life. Here are the basic facts. There are two parts to your fee (but see also note 5, Agent's and other fees below and page 195 above): a) the SCA Tonnage Fee calculated as above, b) agents' fees and the usual range of customs, immigration and port dues.
Agent's and other fees
ADD THE TONNAGE FEE dues in US$ as follows:
||Port Suez (N-bound)
||Port Said (S-bound)|
|Port Authority fees1
|Explosives and drugs check
|Total in US$
1 Port Authority fees are 128 units. In Port Suez these are Egyptian pounds (therefore about US$30), in Port Said US$. The Port Said fee was under discussion in autumn 2000 but as far as we can gather has not changed.
2 Since some charges are calculated in Egyptian pounds and some in dollars, bank charges may or may not arise, be prepared.
3 If Port Tewfik/Suez is your first Egyptian port of call, the quarantine fee is payable. You will only avoid it in Port Said if you have previously cleared in at Alexandria or El Arish.
4 An extra customs fee of US$10 per head is payable in Port Tewfik/Suez ONLY if there are crew changes, ie if one crew leaves and one joins the customs bill is US$20. The Port Said charge is a flat rate and always applicable.
5 The new Customs Fee (see page 195 above) is NOT applicable for transit of the Suez Canal or the obligatory stops in Ports Suez and Said. N'bound you are in theory NOT liable if you have come straight to Port Suez without calling at any Egyptian port on the way. If the fee appears in your agent's charges, question it. S'bound, you are not liable if you leave Port Said cleared for international waters, so question the fee if you are billed. However, if you intend to cruise Egyptian waters and haven't paid in Alexandria or El Arish, you will be liable. Don't pay here unless your agent can prove the paperwork will be accepted by authorities outside the Suez Canal area. Pay instead at whichever of Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh or El Gouna you first visit.
The breakdown of categories and amounts may not be 'officially' correct. The table is based on information given by the Suez Canal Authority office in Port Said, from the Port Said Port Authority, from Mr Nagib Latif of Felix Agency and Captain Heebi of the Prince of the Red Sea Agency.
Finally add the cost of visas if you haven't already got them (the minimum is US$15 per person plus duty stamps and any tips can reach US$25 each) and to get a global total your mooring fees in Port Suez, Ismailia and Port Fouad Yacht Clubs.
Baksheesh This is a fact of life in Egypt. The good news is that there has been no change in the size of the standard baksheesh which pilots expect. US$510 is plenty, plus the odd pack of 20 cigarettes, as seems fit. Experiences with pilots continue to vary. You should only need two pilots, one for each day of the transit.
Page 267 Ismailia
Pilots Drop off and pick up your pilot at the yacht club. The position of the club quay is 30°35'·1N, 32°16'·35E, 50m WSW of the conspicuous signal mast.
Anchorage The approved yacht anchorage with good holding in 45m is near 30°34'·9N, 32°16'·0E, clear of the approach to the berthing wharf for spoil barges on the outside of the tug basin, good holding in mud. Note that the mud in places is fine and your anchor will need to sink in first to get a good grip. In places there are patches which attack galvanizing. A deck wash is essential.
Facilities The Suez Canal Authority Ismailia Sailing/Yacht Club is being refurbished. In September 2000 Mediterranean mooring on the quay was possible but ashore only a temporary restaurant service was available. Call VHF Ch 08. When the club is finished it will be very nice, with full service berths for 50 yachts, a coffee shop and two restaurants. New showers and toilets are nearly ready. By early 2001 it is hoped there will be additional berthing for two to four yachts of 3050m. All berths will have fully modern electricity and water supply points. Rates are according to LOA, e.g. US$7 a night for an 11m yacht or US$100 a month, power and water included. Wintering over will be possible at competitive rates, eg for an 11m boat US$200 for 3 months and US$400 for 6 months with power and electricity extra. On board security can be arranged at about US$34 a day for periods of absence. Haul out for maintenance can be arranged using the SCA facilities near by. The manager of the Ismailia club is Senior Pilot Captain Farid Roushdy. The address is SCA Ismailia Yacht Club, Ismailia, Egypt. Tel: 064 3933413, 064 3943413. If you have any complaints, advice or suggestions on canal transit and facilities, including the yacht clubs, write to the SCA via Captain Farid at the SCA Ismailia Yacht Club.
Fuel In autumn 2000 the nearest fuel station is half a kilometre distant. From the SCYC keep headed NNW on the road from the gate, over the Sweetwater Canal, over the main road and it is the scruffy outfit on your right. For several jerries, you could try using a taxi. There are plans for a fuel dock at the SCA Yacht Club.
E-mail The nearest cyber cafe is also half a kilometre away in town, on the next street westwards, parallel to the street with the gas station, opposite the Blue Sky Travel Agency and the Majestic Hotel.
Page 269 Port Said & Port Fouad
Approach Convoys are assembling or on the move S'bound 23300500 and again 06300900. The N'bound convoy exits at any time between 1530 and 2230. If you are S'bound, time your arrival to be in Port Fouad around dawn (a good idea). Be sure to place your arrival waypoint clear NORTH and WEST of the convoy anchorage and assembly area, which lies west of the outer approach channel. Come around the area anti-clockwise. Approach the entrance channel to Port Said S of the sub-channel leading SE towards the El Bahar light tower from the assembly anchorage. If you come from Israel, the same advice applies. It is, as in Port Said, discourteous, silly and poor seamanship to manoeuvre in the canal or approaches when big ships are assembling at slow speed.
If you are N'bound the usual late afternoon or early evening arrival time from Ismailia makes for a trouble- free exit unless heavy canal traffic has caused an 0300 early convoy from Port Suez. If leaving from Port Fouad Yacht Club, and as with Port Suez, you must either leave to clear the entry channel after the end of the first S'bound convoy (0500-ish) but before the assembly of the second (0630-ish), between the S'bound and N'bound convoys (09301530), or between the end of the N'bound convoy and the beginning of the first S'bound (22302330).
The N approaches may have poor visibility (<1M) in autumn. This is the effect of a combination of fog, dust and pollution.
Dangers In the channel within the breakwaters into the inner port beware of the trawlers. About 50m behind their COURSE MADE GOOD the trawl is marked ON THE SURFACE by a marker buoy made of a jerry jug. This looks like a bit of awash jetsam until you notice it is moving in synch with the trawler. However, the marker is not always directly astern. Because of currents the trawler's fore and aft line does not necessarily align with its trawl.
Note The text has the Port Said Suez Canal by-pass W of Port Said. As the sketch shows, it is to the E.
Page 269 Port Fouad Yacht Club
Approach From the S look for the very conspicuous twin minarets of the Port Fouad mosque about 150m before the Port Fouad YC basin, immediately inland from the ferry terminal. From the N the greenery of the trees around the club stands out. It is also possible to anchor at Port Said, in the basin N of the Port Fouad dockyard, without checking in if weather prevents departure.
If you are heading to Israel beware the fishing fleet in the approaches to Port Said. It usually congregates around the 20m contour line near 33°E.
Formalities Port Police and Immigration do not board yachts at the yacht club. Port dues of US$128 have been charged here in the past by the Port Authority (see charge table above). In Port Suez the same figure is charged in Egyptian pounds. This has been the difference between the cost of transiting the canal from the south and from the north. When we enquired, the Port Said Port Authority (PSPA) explained that they treat yachts as commercial vessels and bill in US$. In Port Suez the Port Authority treats yachts as tourist traffic and bills in the local currency. In theory the Customs Fee is not payable for a canal transit (see pages 195 and 265 above).
Mooring charges Rates at Port Fouad are an outrageous US$10 a day for unsafe moorings and filthy facilities. Chargeable days start at midnight. As a concession, if you stay just one night you will only be charged US$10. But if you stay more than one night, you will be charged US$10 for every midnight you have spent in Port Fouad. That is, arrive at 1900 on day one and leave at 0900 on day two and you pay US$10. But arrive at 1900 on day one and leave at 0900 on day three and you pay US$30! Felix Agency seems to have the concession to run this cesspit and collect the dues.
Facilities The finger berths are now in very poor shape and, given wash from passing traffic, hazardous to lie anywhere near. If possible lie with your stern just between the ends of two fingers so you can get ashore. There is safe space for only three or four yachts. There are now two permanent, rusty mooring buoys for the bow lines of large yachts about 50m off the ends of the outer fingers. Anchoring off would be preferable, but there is little room given the buoys and the SCA shuttle which works from the small pier on the SW wall. A minimum duration stay or no stay at all makes best sense until better berthing arrangements are made.
The office is in the smaller building shown beside the dock. There is a shower and WC here (men only unless a burly crew ensures privacy), but the main facility (filthy, in disrepair and not maintained at all) is SW of the 'Cafe' under the 'u' of Tennis Court in the sketch. At the cafι only soft drinks and lunch (by arrangement) are available.
Agents Felix Maritime Agency address: Head Office, Al Gomhoria St, Post Tower Building, 4th Floor Office No 12, PO Box 618 Port Said. Tel +20 66 333132, 333165, 348772; Fax +20 66 333510, 347875, 402443; mobile 012 2119365, e-mail: email@example.com. Even if you have arranged southbound transit with the Prince of the Red Sea, Felix Agency will handle things in Port Said. The best thing to do is to fax your agent a day or two before arrival with copies of the ship's registration and crew list with passport details. This is vital if you want to make a swift transit. With Felix Agency payment can be made in Egyptian pounds or US$. Visas are US$15 with additional charges depending on duty stamps and service fee. For bona fide members of clubs and associations (try yours and see, you may be asked for evidence of membership) discounts can be arranged. However, you must apply for a discount and book in advance. Felix Agency comes highly recommended by all who have used it. Happy Line was Felix Agency's old name. It is now defunct.
Fuel Unless you are a superyacht needing bunker, fuel is jerry jugged from a Port Fouad gas station. Felix Agency will handle this. You will pay street prices plus a tip. If you DIY you will still have to pay a tip to the security guard at the gate and may not succeed in offering enough.
General In addition to the GSM mobile network there are now excellent cardphones everywhere and the phonecards are readily available. The ferry across to Port Said is free. Port Said is a scruffy but extremely alluring town with some wonderful, dilapidated old buildings, including the crumbling, exotic fantasy de Lesseps had built for him.
Part III Section 8
Page 272 Amend title to 'Northern Approaches'·
First paragraph, line 7 (after '·..exercise.') add: The more adventurous may consider further cruising on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast.
Before Cyprus insert new section:
Egyptian Mediterranean Coast
Small scale 4302, 183, 3355*, 3356*
Medium scale 2573, 2574, 2578*, 2681, 3325
Large scale 243, 2578, 3119, 3326, 3356, 3567A
E and W of Port Said on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast there are several havens which could be used by yachts. Most are shallow, especially at their entrances, which are difficult in fresh to strong onshore winds or swell from bad weather offshore. Too great a reliance should not be placed on aids to navigation.
E of Port Said
Keep outside the 10m line until N of the town and approach on a roughly SSW line. The coast is very low lying. There is a minaret on a mosque close to the shore NNW of the town. Two beacons on the shore about 1·5M E of the town mark the entry line. Holding is in soft sand. Until the late 1980s this used to be an open anchorage. Since then a small harbour has been built but it suffers badly from ground swell. The East Med Yacht Rally visited here in early 2000 and reports on its comfort as a harbour were not glowing. Only curiosity would suggest a stop. El Arish has a beach resort and can be crowded in summer. There is a Bedouin market on Thursdays.
W of Port Said
Admiralty Chart 2578A
Keep outside the 10m line until the harbour's entrance is open. This is a bar harbour and, if there is much of a swell, entry is difficult. It is one of the two main mouths of the River Nile. The 'Domiat' or Damietta Branch runs from the mouth for 245km until it joins with the 'Rasheed' or Rosetta Branch 20km N of Cairo. The Damietta Branch carries the lesser flow and is consequently more shoal. Most activity has now shifted to the new commercial port of Damietta (Dumyat) 5M SW, marked by a dredged, buoyed channel 7M long. This would be the place to head if you needed assistance.
Admiralty chart 2681
It seems likely that the approaches to the river have changed dramatically. The entrance line on the latest charts appears to be more NE'ly. Before you consider visiting, ask in Alexandria to get the most recent information on accessibility. The eponymous Rosetta Stone was found at nearby Rashid. It had text in three languages and four scripts hieroglyphic, hieratic or cursive, demotic or Coptic, and Greek. After struggles by the Englishman Young and the Swede Akerblad, the Frenchman Jean-François Champollion deciphered hieroglyphic and opened to us knowledge of the world of the Pharaohs.
The River Nile, at some 6500km, is one of the longest rivers in the world; 1500km of its length lies within Egypt and, of that, a good 1200km or more is navigable by small craft. A boat that enquired about sailing up the Nile in 1999 was asked for a deposit equivalent to the value of the boat to cover the issue of an entry/transit permit and, as we understand it, as a form of insurance to pay for any damage or costs consequent on a breakdown. From all accounts exploring the Nile by yacht at present would at the least be very expensive and entangled in red tape. According to Nagib Latif of Felix Agency it isn't in fact possible but you never know. We do know that one couple did the journey a decade or so ago in a Wayfarer dinghy. So it might be easier to sort out permission for a small, shoal draft boat. All this being the case, we have omitted pilotage details which appeared in previous supplements.
Admiralty Chart 2681
A small harbour in the SW of Abuqir Bay. Pilotage is compulsory. Call authorities on VHF Ch 69.
Admiralty Chart 2681
The approach is open and free of dangers. Like most of the anchorages along this coast, Abuqir Bay should be avoided in onshore weather. A small new harbour has been built in the SW of the bay (see El Ma'diya above). The bay is shallow, depths are 36m over sand and mud with a >10m area in the middle. It is now criss-crossed with oil pipelines and there are two or three production platforms. There is a busy summer resort. The bay is most sheltered and nearest to facilities at the W end W of Nelson's Island. For the historically minded it was in the shallow waters of this bay, using typically startling tactics, that the British Admiral Nelson put paid to Napoleon Bonaparte's dreams of eastern dominions. The same battle also gave us the poem Casabianca by Mrs Felicia Hemans. It begins: 'The boy stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled...'· It commemorates the courage of the 10 year old son of the Comte de Casa Bianca, the flag captain of the French flagship l'Orient. Casa Bianca was gravely wounded early in the battle. His son stood by him whilst the l'Orient burned and finally blew up with a huge explosion.
* Alexandria (El Iskandariyah)
Admiralty Charts 243 & 3119
Approach The approach to the E harbour where the Yacht Club of Egypt (YCE) is to be found is straightforward. Use the W entrance (300m wide) which has a least depth of >3m. The E entrance is shoal. The entrance is difficult in onshore weather.
Conspicuous A TV/radio tower about 1M SSW of the W entrance, Fort Qait Bey and the Marine Life Aquarium and Museum on the W breakwater (close to the YCE) are conspicuous. There are two, large mooring buoys in the middle of the harbour. Around the harbour shore itself there are several conspicuous minarets and a monument. The Abu-el-Abbas Mosque is floodlit at night.
Depths and holding In the best anchorage on the W side there is 25m over sand and mud, but the harbour is very shoal towards the edges. The E harbour can be markedly unpleasant in northerlies when it would not be prudent to leave your yacht untended.
Formalities The Coastguard is likely to call as soon as you drop anchor. Subsequently you may be visited by the YCE boatman with the visitors' book. If the boatman shows up, enter the names of the crew in the visitors' book and then go with him to the club, taking with you all passports. The YCE Secretary will help you sort out customs, immigration and quarantine. There is also a coastguard representative at the club to help. Finally, the law apparently requires that the YCE issues a 'letter of guarantee'. There are fees attached to all these procedures. Make sure you establish beforehand what they all are. If you use the YCE's services and facilities you will quite reasonably be asked to pay a visiting member's subscription. You can, of course, go it alone and sort out all formalities yourself. This would probably be considered rather discourteous by the YCE and will certainly involve you in a lot of toing and froing, finding and paying for an agent and wasting a very great deal of time.
Facilities The YCE has showers and a restaurant. It is open 09002100 (winter) and 09002359 (from spring to autumn). You can berth (stern-to) on the YCE jetty for watering ship but, be warned, it is fairly shallow-to. There is a standard charge. Neither water nor fuel are available in unlimited quantities. The YCE slips are for small craft only. Private slips handling larger craft are nearby fees are standard market rates, i.e. negotiable. All manner of provisions can be obtained, as can any goods or service you might be likely to require.
General Alexandria itself is one of the world's great cities if very Egyptian. It is Egypt's unofficial summer capital, cleaner and easier to get along in than Cairo. It is the scene of the British author Lawrence Durrell's splendid Second World War series of novels The Alexandria Quartet. Alexandria also features in the lesser known but fascinating Levant Trilogy by the British author Olivia Manning, sequel to her Balkan Trilogy and with it forming The Fortunes of War. The six novels and Durrell's Quartet offer an unforgettable portrait of life in the E Mediterranean in the war years. Alexandria is also the home of the great Egyptian-Greek poet C P Cavafy. Any good guide book will list the numerous attractions gastronomic or cultural that Alexandria has to offer. Alexandria makes a good base for exploring the Nile delta region or, for those who are so inclined, for visiting the battlefield and cemetery of El Alamein, one of the major turning points of the Second World War.
Mersa el Fallah
Admiralty Chart 3356
A small harbour.
Admiralty Chart 3567
Keep well offshore until you have identified the entrance. A waypoint on the 10m line and the leading line is 31°22'·25N 27°13'·86E. The entrance line is on 210° between two beacons, least depth in the entrance >7m, marked by two horizontally striped beacons on the S shore of the mersa. Once inside, after about 5 cables, the mersa divides. A buoyed and beaconed channel leads on approx 260° to the commercial and military harbour. A more complex buoyed channel threads E to the old harbour off the town. Two buoys mark the first alteration to 169°, its line indicated by two beacons immediately E of a mosque. At the next pair of buoys alter to 129° on a further set of leading marks. A further pair of buoys mark the next alteration to 090° on leading marks with triangle topmarks, one point up, the other point down. A final pair of buoys and leading marks take you on 053° to the old harbour. All or any of these marks may be missing. The entrance is through a narrow pass in the reef surrounded by many shoals and is not feasible in bad weather or poor visibility.
Depths and holding
In the E, old harbour 56m, sand and coral or coral. The commercial and military harbour in the W harbour has reasonable depths only at the W end. You may have to go there to complete formalities. Once inside either arm there is good shelter in all weather.
Don't head for Mersa Matruh before seeking guidance in Alexandria. Although the Libyan border is 200km W, Mersa Matruh counts as close to it. If Egyptian/Libyan relations are tense, your presence may not be wanted. The mersa is much like the Red Sea equivalents, save the greater development of the town as a resort. Attempts to attract international tourism haven't really worked and most of the visitors are Egyptians.
Admiralty Chart 3356
The approach is clear of dangers. The mosque and lighthouse at the harbour and a pagoda on the point ENE of the town are fairly conspicuous. Anchor in 26m sand off the small jetty to the W of the lighthouse, or, if you draw <2m and there's room, go stern-to on the S side. This is a small 'ras' anchorage and hence open to swell if any is making in from N through SE. This is the border town so don't visit without finding out in Alexandria if it is all right to do so.
* Page 273 The Sheraton Limassol Marina is now called the Limassol St Raphael Marina. The orientation of the sketch is wrong, the marina should be shown with the causeway N/S and the entrance at the S tip.
Coastal cruising is forbidden in Israeli waters
This is a new marina with 800 berths. Facilities include fuel, power, water and a 60-ton travel-hoist with repair services. Contact: Herzlia Marina, PO Box 5881, Herzlia 46100
Tel +972 9 9565595
Fax +972 9 9565593
Admiralty chart 1585
A commercial harbour which is effectively the port of Tel Aviv. There is a small harbour serving a conspicuous power-station a mile or so N of Ashdod don't confuse the two. The new marina in the south of the port is now open and is reputedly the least expensive in the Mediterranean. Note that this is not a port of entry for yachts and you must go to Ashkelon first to clear in.
Admiralty Chart 1585
Approach Call the Israeli Navy on Ch 16 when 3040M out. They will meet you on your way in. Hold close to the starboard breakwater on approach to clear a reef to port that is indistinctly marked. Your boat may be checked by a military security squad on arrival. CIQ formalities are completed at nearby Ashdod.
Conspicuous Ashkelon is pretty obvious from the sea, although it is not a large city. There are three small islands off the beach to the S of the town.
Facilities 600 berths including visitors' berths. Max. LOA 30m. 220V on all berths. Showers, etc. Fuel. 100-ton travel-lift. Repair facilities. Full range of provisions. The tourist office is at the Afridar Centre in the main commercial area (open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 08301300, Tuesday 08301230, closed Friday & Saturday). PO at 18 Herzl St in the old Arab town of Migdal.
Contact the marina by post at PO Box 5335, Ashkelon, Israel, by phone +972-7-733780, Fax +972-7-6733823, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
General A brand new marina, Ashkelon is 56km S of Tel Aviv. It has the reputation of being a popular beach resort and an expensive one. Ashkelon has a number of interesting ancient ruins, conspicuously those at the nearby site of a 4,000 year old Canaanite city, overlain by more extensive Philistine remains, now part of a national park. The marina layout is much the same as the marina at Tel Aviv, the entrance on the NW corner. A position for the breakwater is 31°41'·15N, 34°33'·30E. Hold close to the starboard breakwater on entering. CIQ procedures are completed at the marina. Prices are reasonable so it is popular. Provisioning, on the other hand, is expensive. E-mail hook-up is possible at the marina office. Haulout facilities available. There is strict observance of the Sabbath. Nothing is open, even an ATM, from early pm on Friday until late on Saturday.
The USDMA no longer distributes charts. Enquiries and orders for US charts should be sent to: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service (NOS), Distribution Branch N/CG33, 6501 Lafayette Ave, Riverdale, MD 20737-1199, USA Tel +1 301 436 6990.
The booklet Egypt for Yachtsmen still contains some useful information but is rapidly going out of date.
Singapore Motion Smith, 78 Shenton Way, Marina House, 0203 Singapore Tel 2205098 (BA, US & Imray publications).
Page 287 First aid manuals
New editions are now available for the last three titles.
Page 294 - new index entries
Howakil Bay, 98
Hudaydah, Al, 122
El Gouna, Abu Tig Marina and Abydos Marina, 228