I write from anchorage E10, the southern end of the Suez Canal and preparing for our transit on the 8th. It has been some time since I wrote, we have transited from Salalah to Aqaba, Jordan, via the RTC and the Bab-El-Mandeb Straits between Djibouti and Yemen. Translated literally the ‘Bab’ is “Gate of Tears”.
The RTC is the Recommended Transit Corridor for vessels approaching, or coming from, the Straits and it is a corridor which is monitored by Naval forces, a legacy from the days when Somali pirates were in abundance. Despite the reduction of incidents, it is still recommended that we use the route.
We pass through the Straits and the Vessel Traffic System takes us 1½ miles off the Yemeni island of Mayunn. Through binoculars one could see tanks and anti-aircraft weapons with other unknown items covered by camouflage nets.
Onwards then, up the Red Sea, making for Aqaba, Jordan, the purpose of the call being that it lies 2-hour’s drive away from the ‘lost’ city of Petra and one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
We (K1, K2 and Ivana) were fortunate enough to be able to go. Words seem so inadequate when trying to describe the city. It is not known precisely when it was built, however it began to prosper in the 1st century BC and grew rich on the trade of Frankincense, Myrrh and spices. It continued to thrive until a large earthquake in 363 AD and much of the city was destroyed. Changes in trade and the earthquake led to its downfall and it was ultimately abandoned. By the 7th century it was deserted and lost to memory, except for local Bedouin. It was ‘rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer and became known by European travellers. It is believed that 80% of the city is still unexplored and much of it covered by the sand and rocks in the area. This post is therefore a composition of photos, as opposed to writing, a picture being worth a thousand words.
K1 and I went ‘mountain climbing’ on a mule last year and so we decided to try to see some of the items we had missed. If the truth be told, one would need a week here to see all of it, ‘doing Petra in a day’ is a daunting and impossible task. We walked down the ‘Street of Facades’ and popped into a path-side cafe for some water, it was here that we came upon ‘Solomon’ a 35-years old local who had been born in the caves and still lived in one. He told us that approximately 50 families still make their home here. He offered to show us around for $20 and we started climbing….
After climbing and riding, we were exhausted and the mere prospect of walking back to the bus filled us with dread. We managed the mile or so, over rough ground and uphill; thankfully I had frequent stops, waiting while K1 pillaged……..
Our entrance ticket included a horse ride, either from the Visitors Centre to the entrance of the Siq, or vice versa. O wise one chose the latter, my calves on fire with the hiking, I sighted my steed and mounted the beast, not caring that there would be embarrassing photos of the Captain riding a horse 😳 Pure heaven and a slow trot up the hill….
So, after a long day, all back on the bus and towards the ship, tired but happy. Tomorrow we transit the Suez canal; an early start, 4 a.m., for assembly and the convoy, it is going to be a long day.