29 settembre è una bella data per inaugurare la stagione sudanese. Grandi le possibilità di divertirsi a Mesharifa con le mante. Alta la probabilità di incontrarle per quanto vicini siamo ancora all’estate… Le più belle immersioni del North nell'itinerario "ONE WAY": Angarosh, Merlo, Abington, Rumi, Sanganeb, Umbria

sabato 30 marzo 2013

2013 03 18 a fantastic itinerary Deep North


Boarding takes place at Mohamed Qol late in the afternoon on Monday, as provided in the program, after a two hours and a half transfer by minibus from the airport of Port Sudan. Sherazade is waiting for us berthed, all lit up, in the small marsa.


Cocktail, introduction to the guides, the first general information and soon after we are at dinner. The feeling of the holiday makes way and starts certainly at the instant when you take possession of the cabin, orienting yourself in the spaces, becoming familiar with the crew, while the snorkelling gear is already in the case and the jacket on the scuba tank. The skipper weighs anchor and starts sailing, before dawn, on Tuesday. 
There’s a bit of wind from Northwest, we sail abutted in the lagoon of Mesharifa in order to reach Merlo in about three hours and a half. We start with the check-dive along the Southwest wall, then a dive at Northeast and a night dive at Shambaia. On the second day, on Wednesday, a dive at Abington and two at Angarosh. We start in style, among the most famous and sought-after reefs of the Sudanese Red Sea. We spot hammerhead sharks in small groups or lone specimens. The Albimarginatus at Angarosh gratifies us profusely: it grants us with its majestic passing and passing through again so close, slow and strong, satisfying everybody. It’s a splendid specimen of about 3 meters, it moves very close to Gioia, and so we use her as unit… and the proportion is easy.

Sherazade sails all over the night and we wake up early in the morning berthed at Pfaiffer, the northernmost reef of our itinerary: only 25 miles separates us from Elba and therefore
the border with Egypt. Here we dedicate to 2 dives for then moving along to Gota Abubish Bish for the third dive. So we’ve started at the top, with the most sought-after reefs of the famous North of Shambaia and it’s absolutely not easy the keep up to standard. But the expectations are not let down. Pfaiffer is an explosion of life, corals, alcyonaria and fish, adding the best of Sudan to the most fascinating beauties of Egypt, among which, it’s well known, there are the gardens of corals. Ten miles far from the coast, it comes up from over 200 metres sea bottoms in blue water. The pelagic fish comes alongside, currents and clean water nourish a luxuriant and spectacular life. We haven’t found, really, much current, we spot a beautiful school of hammerhead sharks, a dozen specimens, come up from depth and get close, passing by and going back and they are all sizeable specimens, especially the lone ones, that we meet later on, perhaps, who knows, “soldierfish”. Who has a camera, who is filming and who is just watching, they’re all equally very happy.

We fly over the tableland at about 30 metres towards the final part to the South of the reef and the feeling is to visit the garden of “Alice in Wonderland”, among huge round sponges, candid waterfalls of black coral as bushes and small trees and alcyonaria of any size and colour.

On Friday morning we repeat the dive and then we plunge in Gota Ilaria and we take the third dive in Gota Lali. They are two small reefs and just marked with a cross on the map, we can take the liberty to dub them with names we like. We spend the night at Qumeira, in the immense lagoon where we take a nice night dive.

The second pearl of this cruise turns out to be Gota Lali, perhaps the perfect and clear light of middle afternoon, the clean water and the hammerhead shark so close to us to be almost touched lightly, make the dive special.

Sandro already forecasts the fact that, under editing process, he will have close-up images of great impact.  The cracks of the barriers that we find on the South side are very fascinating, some deep ones, some smaller ones, lit up by the rays of the sunshine as blades of light and alive with any type of fish, among clouds of juvenile glassfish, so small to look like sparkling dust. “I felt as if I was suspended in an aquarium”, our Gioia remarks.

On the surface instead, during sailing, this stretch of blue water held a prolonged encounter with some beautiful Grampi. Usually they are shy, swimming ahead of the bow for a few instants, going down and suddenly disappearing with a flip turn and a very rapid plumb-line descent in the depths. This time instead they’ve stayed for a long time intertwining and jumping on the side of the boat as is playfully usual for bottlenose dolphins. They are certainly beautiful, strong and elegant at the same time, grey and
white, covered, as it’s one of their distinguishing features, with many scratches, who knows… a sign of battles or loves. The rounded snout, the big lipped mouth, the fast and so powerful swimming to look almost static while they slip in the shadow of Sherazade. They seem elegant and mighty knights, mysterious, rare and precious.

The rapid flight of a dozen of swallows brushes against us and announces here, in Sudan, the spring: the rising up of birds going back northbound has started, really it looked like yesterday they were coming down… The season has passed quickly and it’s time to migrate again.

Another characteristic of this cruise is solitude, we haven’t met anyone.

Apart from a small fishermen boat from whom we’ve bought some fresh fish for the sushi at Shambaia, we haven’t come across anyone, we are sovereign of this sea, of this part of the Red Sea so little popular. Who knows for how long it will keep this way… Usually the cruises don’t get up here, it takes at least 2 weeks if you leave from P. Sudan, or you need to embark at Mohamed Qol, as we did. We are in the “middle” sea, between P. Sudan and the crowded Egypt. The coast, dazzled by the sun, seems to be pale during the day, while it gets enhanced during sunsets, when the sky paints itself scarlet and orange and violet and the sun, as a red hot-air balloon, slips on the mountains outlines, shortly shining and in a flash it disappears.

It’s Saturday and we want to repeat the dive at Gota Lali, which we liked so much, therefore we get on board again before going down definitively towards cape Abu Shagara.

The morning dive keeps entitled as “the dive of the exaggerated tunas” or of “the tunas as sharks”….

The North West has come in, it was announced by dead calm and humidity of the night, so we quickly move and hope the sea is not going to grow as the shallows or the “gota” of Abushagara don’t offer any shelter and they nearly get to three metres under the surface of the sea. We arrive perfectly in time, before the sea, growing, could make the stop of the boat and the recovery for the scuba divers demanding. Dive and departure perfectly coordinated. The shallows gave as a gift, apart from all the rest of it, “a thousand and more than a thousand” barracudas in vortex that kept us bound a long time in the blue eye. “As the wall of Sipadan” is the comment of Sandro and Gioia.

 A novelty is the multitude of squirrelfish, (Sabre Squirrelfish) which are swimming together, when they usually are alone. Spectacular red groupers are not missing (Coral Grouper), clouds of butterfly fish (Red Sea Bannerfish) and several emperor fish and angelfish, all together as well. The shallows are great towers, mainly 3, elevating about 30 metres on sea bottom, with around a few minor pinnacles, just in the middle of the sea outside cape Abushagara, those green and insidious spots quite hard to pinpoint if not with a GPS. Obviously for this characteristic an incredible multitude of fish approaches or lives permanently.

The wind increases, the sea grows, and, escorted once again by grampi and dolphins, we arrive at Anfìgarosh. An overwhelming show. The bottlenose dolphins go before us until the skipper decreases the engine speed for the shamandura, they only had to carry our ropes on the barrier! We’ve never seen them swimming and play and jump on the waves together and above all for so long, racing in a row looking for the breaker wave sticking up higher and higher fore of Sherazade.

At Angarosh the Albi and a school of
hammerhead sharks, barracudas and “the rest of the world” were expecting us. Part of the group asserts that this one is the best dive of the week. This time we don’t know who to give to the sceptre for the best dive overall, we equally shares it, in order to achieve approval: Pfaiffer, Gota Lali, the shallows of Abushagara and Angarosh!..........

We are satisfied, guests and crew, cruise perfectly succeeded and we are happy because........ 

                    we will come back!!!: we have a date with a “Deep North” itinerary 
                                                  for the week of May 20th!

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