We are at anchor in a marsa! Or, to be precise, in a khor, which is a marsa at the estuary of a wadi (complicated people, hereabout!).
We are in Khor Shin’ab, a huge twisting cove extending for a couple of miles inland, along the northern shores of Sudan. All around the desert and low, rocky hillocks. In the distance we can see a track where some military trucks are passing by, and the occasional dromedary.
The place is spectacular, although our motives to stop here were the weather conditions, which were forecasted to become nasty as they became just after having anchored (what a timing!!…).
There are 9 yachts anchored here, and 3 more are in another marsa just north of us, while 4 or 5 are sheltered in Egypt, just north of the border. Typical Red-Sea situation this time of the year, when the wind blows from the northwest anywhere between 20 and 50 knots (!!!…) with short periods of 2-3 days when it slackens and one can take advantage of it for a quick stint north.
So far we had been very lucky to have the wind constantly from the south nearly up to Egypt, it could not last!!
Yesterday, we reached the marsa pushed by a strong south-easterly, and while we were getting in the wind turned to the north; spectacular scenery, but no shelter: the low hills do nothing to stop the sand-filled wind and when it went up to 40 knots for about one hour our trusty anchor started to drag!!
Pulling the anchor up, with the engine at full throttle to keep the bow in the wind and then drop anchor again while avoiding the surrounding reefs has been a tough job!!
I do not dare thinking of having to repeat something similar in the middle of the night, with the chartplotter that shows our position as being in the middle of the desert! Yes, because the last survey in these waters was done back in 1834, since then no government has forked out the money to do a better charting of the coastline, which is of no interest to ships passing offshore. This is strictly eyeball-navigation country!
We have sand everywhere, by the time we will leave it will be possible to put a beach umbrella in the cockpit!!