Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome to Sudan

It was gray and damp out. We were mole-eyed and really didn't want to be up so early but we set off again. Our destination, Khor Nawarat, Sudan, Africa, 165 miles. Another overnighter. This time it was strange, very strange; it was unexpectedly relaxing, uneventful, and pleasant.

We started the day under gray skies and they sat overhead until late afternoon. Surprisingly, the wind piped up around noon and we sailed on a super comfortable beam to broad reach in one to two foot swells until about 9pm. It was really dark and we felt like we were ghosting along. We didn't see another boat for two days. We caught 6 fish, three fish each day, but sadly they were all barracuda. Barracuda often are known to have a toxic poisoning called "ciguatera" so even though we caught two small and one big one, three feet plus, each day, we returned them to the deep.

Small gray torpedo-shaped common dolphins jumped to join us numerous times through our one and a half day journey. They remind us of happy dogs, excited to see us, doing tricks and just as quickly happy to play somewhere else. They always put a smile on our faces.

And then we were here. Navigating the channel was straight forward. Our charts were still correct and the light was good. Wind was still pumping through from the E-SE so we dropped the hook off of a sandy, windswept scrubby island in this protected lagoon. It is calm here, wind but no swell, perfect for kiting if there is enough wind. Gar went out yesterday. Unfortunately, the wind was still a little light so he needed a rescue from the dinghy, but he had to give it a go. While we were waiting for the wind to pipe up we were visited by the military. All nice guys although a bit intimidating. They had a boat load of snapper and offered us one.

A good sign. So today we went spear fishing. We scouted a few reefs and finally found one close to the boat that had decent visibility and a lot of fish. We had found "fish town". Over 40 long-finned spadefish gracefully swam by. Surgeonfish bigger than your large fluffy housecat cruised in and out. We spotted two huge grouper, one as big as a fat sheep. Super cool and rare for us, 5 snubnose pompanos did three swimbys, their yellow tails and fins flashing at us. A huge lobster tap-danced under a rock while schools of snapper passed by. One was unlucky. Gar got his hunt on. Dinner tonight, barbecued snapper.

Just to remind you where we are, I will sign off with our most recent wildlife sighting, two camels on the beach. One of them belly deep in the sea.

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