North Itinerary with Mesharifa
From September to early November the “One Way” itinerary has the added option of swimming among the mantas in the lagoons of Mesharifa.
The mantas normally gather in this area to reproduce during the Summer Season and they remain until the Autumn when they separate and move elsewhere. Some go to the north of Dungonab Bay, others move south along the coast of Sudan.
The hours dedicated to swimming with the mantas are considered as a diving excursion.
The itinerary remains otherwise unchanged.
Cruises Embarking in Muhammad Qol
DIVING EXCURSIONS: SHAMBAIA – ABINGTON – ANGAROSH – MERLO – QITA EL BANNA – SHA’AB RUMI – PRÉCONTINENT II – SANGANEB – WINGATE – UMBRIA – PORT SUDAN
Cruises Embarking in Port Sudan
DIVING EXCURSIONS: WINGATE – UMBRIA – SANGANEB – SHA’AB RUMI – PRÉCONTINENT II – QITA EL BANNA – SHAMBAIA – MERLO – ANGAROSH – ABINGTON
October and November the season of the manta rays
Mesharifa is three miles to the east of Mohammed Qol. It is a small fishing village, nowadays practically deserted. The white Turkish fort, also abandoned, stands out from afar. Mohammed Qol is the base of departure for small fishing boats which, in the good season, move to the north reefs in Sudan. This location is also the place where “One Way” cruises embark and disembark.
The island of Mesharifa lends it’s name to a vast and well protected lagoon with many shallow coral reefs.
Towards south in the distance you will see the outline of the islands of Mayteb and Magarsa. To the north at the horizon is cape Abushagara.
In the big gulf light penetrating the shallow water on a sunny day produces marvelous color schemes in all shades of blue and turquoise. This enhances the golden shoreline of this small island, where after days at sea, you may wish to enjoy a stroll.
There are no specific studies which register the activity, the concentration and migration of the mantas. There is only the ten year experience of the cruise vessels and the experience of the sailors and the fishermen. From this experience we have found that the mantas concentrate in this area in the month of August to reproduce. With a calm sea in days of little or no wind it is easy to sight them, although the area is quite vast and they could be anywhere. One is likely to spot them by following the water’s edge as they elegantly glide, one behind the other, with open mouths to filter the water in search of plankton concentrations.
They are so tranquil and intent to feed that one can easily swim alongside without any fear of moving them away or frightening them.
A pair of fins, a mask and a snorkel are all you need, as the mantas can move fast or decide to linger unpredictably and scuba tanks would simply be an impediment.
Towards the middle of November the mantas leave the lagoon, they separateand move south. During the winter it’s possible to sight them whilst diving along the reefs in open sea. There they are solitary, more elusive and magical in the blue and for the few fortunate divers there will be the opportunity taking great photographs.