The Beauty on Earth: Sadla Island, Eritrea
Eritrea, a country located in the North Eastern part of Africa, owns a coastline stretched 2,234 km, with 1,151 km of it coming from its mainland and 1,083 km coming from it’s islands on the Red Sea. It’s territorial waters extend between 12° and 18°N and ends at the constriction of Bab el Mandab (‘The Gate of Tears’) and the Gulf of Aden.
Interestingly, this tiny country has 354 islands scattered around it’s coastal waters.1 A total of 210 of those islands are found off the coast of Semhar, while 137 islands are found near Dankalia and 7 are found off the coast of Sahel.2 Due to scarce drinking water on the islands, only 10 of the 354 islands are inhabited by people.3
Islands that are regarded as small, or typically less than 1km² number around 276, or 78% of the total and account for less than 1% of the area. Medium-sized islands, which are often between 1 and 10km² in area number 63, or 17.8% of the total. Islands that are regarded large, whose area is greater than 10km², only number around 15.4
Last week, when Jamie and her crew anchored in a restricted area inside Eritrean waters, they have been kicked out by the watchful Eritrean navy. However, it turns out to be a favor because they remoted two miles off the cost and drop the hook on the western part of one of the 354 island – The Sadla Islands.
I followed them on their followtheboat.com website to discover what they have discovered from that mysterious and beautiful small island of Eritrea.
This is Sadla Island, a beautifully desolate volcanic island just off Mersa Dudo, Eritrea. In this podcast we take a trip ashore and start by crossing the isthmus from the west towards the windward side on the east. We’re looking for turtles but we find a bit more than what we bargained for!
The moment we stepped ashore on Sadla Island our senses were on fire. Liz stopped there and then, staying put to collect incredible shells. If the Cowrie crew are reading this: you would have been in your element!
The following couple of shots were taken from the dinghy (surprisingly in focus!) as we made our way ashore. Just look at the colours in that rock!
The rest of us, in walking boots with bins and cameras at the ready, marched on and went to inspect the beach on the east.
There in the sand were many turtle tracks, leading either up to a nesting spot, or away from it back to the sea.
Although we didn’t see any nesting turtles that day we did see two mischievous turtles copulating in the shallow water’s edge!
Here’s a shot of the west side of the island. To put the magnitude of the volcano in perspective, look in the centre of the pic: there’s a group of yotties having a picnic!
Ospreys galore, of course. Ospreys are as common here as sparrows are back in the UK and Sadla Island had a number of nests dotted around the sharp volcanic rock. We climbed up to a few of them and sat next to a disused one. They were enormous and made of some of the strangest objects!
On the southern edge of the eastern shore Tony had spotted some graves. We can only assume that they belonged to fishermen. There were five of them. Tony has reserved the sixth plot.
Continuing westerly we traversed the highest peak on the southern side of the island (we’d attempted the north side but it was too dangerous) to get some amazing views of our anchorage, nesting osprey chicks and Dudo.
And now for the sunset pictures. These were actually taken on the first night at anchor here but I’ve saved the best till last. I took so many I’m unsure which ones to keep in and which ones to bin, so I’ll post a few up to keep everyone happy. Whenever I look at these shots I am reminded of some of the most desolate yet beautiful landscape I have ever viewed.