Published: April 11th 2011April 11th 2011
Our Blog No.17
After we left Dubai Nicky met up with Alan and Marjorie who attend the same cardiac group on a Tuesday as Barry does and where Nicky is the Health Professional. A lovely surprise - they had already booked last year and never said a word to us that they were travelling from Dubai back to Southampton with us. They celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday 10th April.
Before we arrived in Safaga on Friday 8th April we had four days at sea where stringent precautions were taken to ensure we were not invaded by pirates. It was taken very seriously by the Commodore. Fortunately there were no incidents as far as we are aware!
Safaga was not a very attractive area and we had already made the decision that we didn’t want to go ashore as not interested in a long journey before getting to anywhere vaguely interesting and the charge seemed to us to be a rip off. We therefore had a great time on board in the pool and Jacuzzi in the open air soaking up the sun. Alan and Marjorie came back and said it was awful and a big rip off so we
were even more glad we had made the decision. Safaga is mainly a small port where minerals are exported with a couple of hotels that charge you to use their beaches and facilities ($25 per person) and the odd shop. The main reason we stopped in Safaga was so that trips to the Valley of the Kings and other areas could take place. Some were a gruelling 14 hour trips, far too much for us to do.
Our next stop is Sharm al Sheik which is just 75km up the coast from Safaga. We were told that those who wanted to go ashore would be tendered off and it was not particularly safe on the quayside as you get off due to broken and missing steps and uneven quay. Tickets were required and it was a long drive to anywhere of interest from the port. Again we didn’t want to go ashore just to sit on another beach so we would use the pool and Jacuzzi again. When we arrived in Sharm al Sheik it was quite different to what we had been told and we were actually tied up alongside the quay and tenders were not required. The quayside
A lazy day by the pool
Anyone seen any whales?
was well paved and quite even so where on earth Cunard had got their original information from heaven only knows. It was a seriously long walk along the quayside to the gate and from what we could see from the ship there was little the other side of the gate and a long journey would be required to get anywhere. As we have said, we didn’t want to sit on a beach for the day in intense heat so we did what we wanted to do and lazed aboard the ship.
We left Sharm al Sheik and moved into the Suez Canal. It was quite a fascinating journey through the canal. On the African side of Egypt most of the length was very fertile as the area is irrigated by the Nile something like 100km away. On the Asian side in the Sinai region it is mainly all sand. Quite a contrast. We enjoyed the journey through Suez - The QM2 led the convoy going north and all the way through you can see remnants of past wars along both shorelines. We passed through the Little Bitter Lake and Great Bitter Lake enjoying the sights of various towns on the
way particularly on the Eastern side of Egypt. Some were quite attractive with some interesting buildings and hotels. We passed by the 1st World War Memorial at Ismailia which is a large granite monument and stands out very clearly. Continuing on through to Port Fuad a large container terminal on the Sinai side and Port Said on the Egyptian side out into the Mediterranean. You could see the difference in the colour of the water - Suez was very blue but going into the Mediterranean it was quite murky. There is a change in temperature and going for our stroll on top deck on Monday (11th April) in the morning it felt quite cold and Barry will have to consider trousers instead of shorts if this weather continues!
We are at sea now for several days before arriving in Italy for our trip to Rome. Let’s hope it is a bit warmer in Rome.
There are more photos below