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Massawa Well Worth A Visit

By doina — last modified Dec 31, 2002 09:03 PM

Published: 2002-12-31 21:03:02
Countries: Djibouti , Eritrea , Yemen

A brief update on Aden to Massawa.

Winds in the Gulf of Aden approx 2Kts from S.E. Entering the Red Sea the winds increased to around 30/35Kts with stronger gusts. Sea state rapidly became confused with some larger than expected waves, but no difficulties. From Bab El Mandeb the same conditions for three days, whereupon the wind dropped to 8/10 max. This brought me to approx. 80 miles off Massawa as I had stopped enroute for two overnights.

I can reccomend stops at Ras Terma/Eritrea ( 13.11N/ 42.31E) as a good shelter and relatively calm waters in these conditions.

Same applies for Beraisole Bahir Salate/Eritrea (13.41N/ 42.09E).

There are currently only two working lights in The South Massawa channel, though this is not a problem as it is generally very wide until Shuma Island.

Entering Massawa at night (this is getting to be a bad habit!) was straightforward, with clearly visible Red and Green marker lights on the breakwater. Call Port Control on channel 16 as you are nearing the port. I was requested to tie to the wharf and made to check in the following morning.

Check In as follows:

Go to the Immigration located in the port security area, office is on the second floor. Give three copies of crew lists. Complete three standard type forms. Collect shore pass for maximum validity of 48hrs. For longer stays you must purchase a visa for 40US$ which is valid for 3O days. Once these formalities are complete, anchor in the area shown, near two mooring buoys.

Check out is the same procedure reversed, with a quick check over of the yacht to certify that you do not have any Eritreans aboard!

Dinghy ashore to the specified gate only. You are not allowed to go ashore without passing the gate security and showing your shore pass. You may go ashore at anytime and there are no curfews in place.

All yachties are greeted by "Mike the Laundry man". A really helpful and knowledgable chap. He also will arrange repairs, diesel/water deliveries, bottom cleaning and of course the washing. Modest "tip" for his assistance is fair, and worth every cent!

The Port of Massawa is a commercial operation and as usual dusty and dirty. However the holding is good and protected by the breakwaters. The immediate town on the island is mainly of Turkish construction, and whilst run down it is very charming. People are extremely friendly and most speak enough English to have conversations. Shopping and provisions are obtained at the daily market or the two Supermarkets. Canned beer, passable wine and spirits are all available which in this region is a real plus!

Suprisingly the nightlife here is very busy with three Nightclubs all open to 0400 am. Many bars and cafes in the streets and the Hotels are open to non guests.

Diesel fuel is available and $0.30 per litre, delivered in Jerry jugs. This includes Free water.

No ATM machines. Exchanging money with the locals is perhaps not strictly legal but the rate for large denomination US$ notes is 20 Nakfa for $1. Banks offer N13.8 /US$1.

Meals range from N20 to N45 for one course main dishes. Try Hotel Dahlak for Italian or Restaurant Eritrea. Soft drinks or Cold beers are N3/4.

I thoughly enjoyed and would reccomend a stop here. The friendliness of the people, their laid back style (and Cold beers) are well worth experiencing. Particularly in this region and having suffered a month of Ramadam.

All the best,

JEZ SEARLE, S/Y Winter Hawk.