The Pirate Route
The Pirate Route
We have been operating at a higher level of security. This was maintained across the Arabian Sea, up the Gulf of Aden, through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb at the entrance of the Red Sea. During our passage of the Gulf we were in an Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor under the protection of an International Task Force, including the Royal Navy, assigned by the United Nations mandate to protecting merchant ships from pirate attack.
Every evening after dark no-one was allowed on the decks and we had to pull all our curtains so no lights would show. Every evening there was a short broadcast on our cabin T.V. reminding us of our security status and advising us of the precautions necessary.
We even had to do a “drill” simulating an attack. During this time even the cabin stewards and waiters etc. had to join in, and all facilities were closed for services during this exercise. It involved closing the balcony doors and pulling the curtains and sitting on the floor in the corridor.
Our captain has to follow instructions and ensure that all safety precautions have been followed. He is a very educated man – born in Poland, attended Trinity School in Hull. He joined the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company as Navigating Cadet Officer sailing carriers, bulk containers and tankers. Then he did further studies at Hull College of Nautical Studies. Following more studies at the City of London Polytechnic he obtained his Master’s Cetificate of Competencyand was also successful in the Associateship Examinations of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. With a downturn in shipping in 1986, he took voluntary redundancy and did a Bachelor of Science Degree (honours) in Maritime Studies at the University of Wales, Cardiff. In the meantime, he held posts on cross channel passenger and freight ferries and as a Master of a tanker running vegetable oils between U.K. and the continent.
He then studied law at the College of Law in York, then trained qualified and practised as a solicitor in a law firm in London specialising in Admiralty, shipping and shipping finance law. The call of the sea proved too strong and he returned to passenger shipping in 1996.
The other day we went to a classical recital. It really was a bit too high-brow for me and out of my league. Susan, you may relate to some of these. Yukiko was on the piano and Lianna was on the flute. Absolutely great artists – out of Trinity College, London. They played Badinerie and Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach and then they lost me.
Yates – Fire Island (2nd Mvt)
Ravel Pavanne Pair Une Infante Defunte
Piazzolla – histoire du Tango – Café 1920 and Nightclub 1960.
Another first class performance we saw was a whole hour show by an international vocalist called Anita Louise Combe. She played in the current West End production of “Chicago” opposite David Hasselhoff.
John and I have begun “Bridge” lessons. I doubt if we will last too long as I talk too much and everyone is so serious. I have been attending line dancing to keep a bit fit too.
We had a day in Sharm el Sheik – did the “Old Markets” because our St Catherine trip into the Sinai Desert was cancelled because of too many cruise ships in at the same time and it was a special feast day. After the markets we caught a cab to Namaa Bay, which is the Arabian Riviera for foreigners vacationing. Toni Blair used to holiday here. We couldn’t swim as a German lady had been taken by a shark the previous day and the beaches were closed.
Today we were supposed to be seeing the Pyramids and the Sphinx but our anchor was fouled up with some wire and so we crawled along at low speed and missed our berth in Suez – very disappointing. We are now traversing the Suez Canal and will be until 7pm this evening.