A Beautiful Time in the Dahlak Bank, Eritrea

Published 15 years ago, updated 5 years ago

We were in a rush. Meaning, we could have easily spent 6 more months in the Red Sea. But we wanted to reach the Gulf of Aden in time to join other boats for the crossing. That was in February 2007.

We spent about 2 weeks in the Dahlak Bank, a maze of islands, pieces of desert surrounded by green water. So many birds! So much fish! The activity above and under the water was amazing. Fortunately, we don’t have a freezer, or we would have filled it in 2 days!

There was very poor visibility, actually an incredible density of plankton. Also many species of seaweed, some I had never seen, even in SE Asia. Impossible to guess the depth or even the quality of the bottom. What looks like sand is seaweed, what looks like seaweed is rock, what looks like rock is mud… A change in the watercolour in a few meters distance would normally tell you a lot. Not here. Different kinds of green, different kinds of bottom, but which ones? Hard to say with less than 3m vis… Most of the time though we cruised in 20 metres of water.

Amazing greens waters…

The wind, that had been from the North until we reached the Bank, changed suddenly to South, SE. That was expected. The current was very present, and once very strong (3 to 4 knts), especially south of the Bank, against us of course.

We didn’t do any official entry in Eritrea. We met military personnel twice, on the first island we reached, and the last we left. They were each time on mere fishing boat or simple speed boats with no specific sign on them, not even a flag, wearing half torn uniforms or no uniform at all. They were extremely friendly. The last team we met even gave us 2 gallons of petrol (we had run out) and refused payment.

All fishermen encounters went really nicely. I actually found people rather shy and reserved.

Just a beautiful time in Eritrea.


SY A Poils

[email protected]

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