Another Contract Down

Saturday, April 28th, 2012 at 21:59 | by Alistair Baillie

Back in February a few days after getting back from America I packed up and headed to the airport for an overnight flight to Sharm-el-Sheikh via London Heathrow. It was pretty uneventful although I will say that it was the most boring flight ever! But the good thing is it meant I didn’t have to stay in Egypt before joining ship so I was quite happy. After landing and paying the $20 in order to enter Egypt I was collected by the ships agents and taken to the ship, getting there around 7am. Since most people onboard were asleep I abandoned my suitcase outside my cabin and wondered up to the bridge.

After grabbing some breakfast and getting changed I took over the watch from the guy I was relieving and he packed up and headed off to the airport. We sailed later that evening on the Red Sea Magic itinerary, basically it starts at Sharm-el-Sheikh, heads north to Aqaba, where she stays overnight and then sails for Sokhna, then down to Safaga for another overnight and back to Sharm.

Alas we were unable to call at Sokhna due to a strike by the port employees so we ended up at anchor at suez operating a tender service ashore for the day.

The remaining 7 weeks were pretty uneventful apart from the odd technical problem. Red Sea is very boring with very little traffic, not that we spent much time at sea – thanks to our lovely overnights – although with the exception of Aqaba which is in Jordan all the Egyptian ports were dumps. The only real reason for going to them was so the tours could operate to far away places such as the pyramids, valley of the kings and Luxor.

Aqaba was nice though – we found a lovely restaurant at the yacht club which I went to twice and a pub called the Rovers Return which I went to for lunch a few times.

We also mixed the watches up a bit; briefly testing out a 6 + 2 system;

0000 – 0600 & 0800 – 1000
0600 – 0800 & 1200 – 1800
1000 – 1200 & 1800 – 0000

It was ok, although spending 6 hours in port stuck on the bridge is shockingly soul destroying. Fortunately I was only onboard for 8 weeks, i’m now at home killing time before heading down to Warsash to sit NARAS(M) and some other short courses before doing my chief mates exam.

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