During the night we headed south leaving the Gulf of Aqaba before entering the Red Sea again and continuing our journey north towards the Suez Canal. We slept soundly throughout. At 7.30am we woke to a clatter and banging outside the cabin door. Later, on leaving for breakfast we discovered that the maintenance crew were involved in some task through the door opposite that we had always wondered what lay beyond. Now we know, things that make a noise when they are maintained!!!
At breakfast we chatted with a Danish couple who we discovered were on the same cruise as us from Brazil to Savona in 2013. A small world.
The morning activities involved a presentation on the Suez Canal and a quiz on the Seychelles followed by coffee in the Grill restaurant and then another picture quiz on countries. It was during the latter that an announcement was made over the Tannoy that due to a medical emergency on board we shall be proceeding to Sharm El Sheik. We wondered how this would affect our schedule.
It wasn’t long after the coast eased into view prompting passengers to find a spot on deck to watch the proceedings. Sharm El Sheik looks and is a purpose built modern resort surrounded by inhospitable mountains and dessert. Charlotte and family once had a holiday there, the next one to Cambodia couldn’t be so dissimilar. A small craft made its way to our starboard side from the small visible harbour on the outskirts of the town as the NeoRomantica slowly came to a halt around a half mile off shore. The passenger was passed onto the boat by the same doorway as the port pilots use. We watched as it made its way to a waiting ambulance on the small quay. Through the binoculars they didn’t seem to be in a hurry, the NeoRomantica had turned and was just beginning to edge its way out to sea when the ambulance sped away with lights flashing. An exciting diversion, but not for one unfortunate soul.
For lunch, Sue had the noodle speciality from Marche (Italy) at the Grill restaurant and I opted for my first burger and chips of the voyage from Deck 10. We met up in the Pizza restaurant and ate, looking out on a beautiful day through its panoramic windows and discussed the recent incident. How fortunate some of us are.?
For the first part of the afternoon Sue chose to continue enjoying the sunshine and scenery with the binoculars and her book up on deck. I went to the gym as a penance for yesterdays over indulgence.
We met again for a couple of quizzes during the afternoon, split by a break for coffee. It was enlightening when one woman disputed her answer by showing the Google example on her phone. So that’s how you get 10/10, we had heard rumours.
Another rumour is that the medical incident of this morning was a single, senior Brit who had recently had a heart bypass operation. Hmm, if true I wonder if he had insurance and if so, how much would that cost?
As we continued our journey towards the Suez Canal both shores became clearly visible and as the sun began to dip lower in the sky and the shadows of cracks and gashes on the mountains became pronounced against the sandy coloured rock. Later on, these became smudged with yellow sand being whipped up into the atmosphere by an increasing wind. We are left in no doubt that we are passing through a desert. The contrast of deep blue sea giving way to a line of yellowish blurred mountains above which gradually peters out, leaving a vivid sky-blue with
a white, near full moon, sweeping into the heavens, is the stuff of of a ‘Turkish Delight’ advert.
Before the evening meal we relaxed in our cabin, watching BBC News and reading our books.
Yesterday in Eilat, we docked alongside an area that was full of new cars. These are from Japan and other Far East companies destined for the European market. Apparently it is too expensive to transport them by ship through the canal, so they are off loaded in Israel and then transported by road to the Mediterranean ports and then loaded back onto ships. I think the Egyptians need to reconsider their charging policy.
We made the second show tonight, a very professional South African singer who knew how to work an audience. Afterwards, to celebrate the start of spring there was a ‘Spring’ party in the Grand Bar, but Sue and I chose to have a turn around a very blustery deck and watch the lights of the distant towns and nearer ships pass by. It called for the donning of coats for the very first time this holiday with the temperature being 16 degrees!!!!
Returning to the cabin we played Scrabble and drank red wine (very civilized). Tonights ship magazine indicated that instead of beginning our sail through the canal at 10 am tomorrow we shall not begin our transit until 4pm. No doubt due to our diversion this morning, I fear this will impact on our time in Limassol. We shall see.