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Eritrea: Dahlak archipelago

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Dahlak archipelago | Eritrea | Africa

[Visited: January 2004]

Visiting the Dahlak Archipelago requires some organization to be done. Arriving in Massawa, the main sea port of Eritrea, is only the first step on the way to the islands in the Red Sea. It then requires patience, initiative and some luck to get together a group to set out for the islands. We managed to get together a group large enough for a sambuk, a local fishing boat, and set out for a three day tour. Our first destination was Madote, nothing more than a small strip of sand sticking out of the Red Sea, with marvellous turquiose water around it, and perfect for snorkelling and diving. We soon noted the exceptional amount of colourful fish and live coral in these warm waters.

Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Sunset on Shumma Island, Dahlak Archipelago

At the end of the afternoon, we anchored off Dissei island. We had dinner on the boat, and then some of us slept on the boat itself, while others put their mattresses on the beach. This was a great bay for a morning swim, before we set out on our way to Shumma island. We passed various other islands, one of them curiously inhabitated by one lonely ostrich. We did some diving and snorkelling on the way, and arrived at Shumma early in the afternoon. There was time for some water activities, exploration of the island, and in the evening we barbecued the fish caught by the brave fishermen on the boat. We gave some water to the only inhabitant of the island, an old men, and wondered how it must be to live on this remote island depending for water on sporadic rainfall and passers-by.

Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Dissei Island, Dahlak archipelago

That night, those who slept on the beach were covered with sand, as the wind had started to blow, and the first stretch on the boat was a little rough. Fortunately for everyone, we paused at a small island for some more swimming and snorkelling before returning to Massawa. There, our multinational group of Dahlak explorers broke apart, some of them flying straight back to their jobs in Europe, while others continued for more traveling in Eritrea. We realised how lucky we had been, having had perfect weather in what was suppoed to be the rainy season.

Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Madote island, sand and turquoise sea
Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Beach at Dissei island, Red Sea
Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Sunrise over Dissei Island, Dahlak archipelago
Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Red Sea beach of Assara island, Dahlak archipelago
Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Sambuk in Red Sea, Dahlak archipelago
Picture of Dahlak archipelago (Eritrea): Cactus on Assarca island, Red Sea

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