Leaving to starboard the new marina and the all-inclusive resorts at Taba Heights as well as the fantastic crusader Salah ad-Din Fort on picturesque Pharaoh's Island.
Tangling with the scared young skipper of an Israeli Navy Dabur class patrol boat who did not want SY “Kamu II” to short-tack through Israeli territorial waters and who finally forced us with his guns (“Might Gives Right!”) about 3 nm back downwind before we could finally head for Aqaba in Jordan.
Arriving at the fuel berth of the Royal Yacht Club of Jordan after dusk and being checked in by an efficient and competent squad of friendly government officials and an unprofessional, fat schmuck of marina manager.
Paying JD 50.- or US$ 71.- for arrival and departure formalities, including two extended tourist visas for The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (valid up to three months after arrival), passport stamps, customs’ in/out service and departure tax.
Refuelling with 180 litres of clean Jordanian diesel fuel for JD 0.36 or US$ 0.51 per litre from the convenient fuel berth in the Royal Yacht Club of Jordan.
Coping with the aftermath of our stubborn beating into the steep waves of the unpredictable Gulf of Aqaba (Konni: Desalinating and cleaning the sails, deck and superstructure of SY “Kamu II”; Matt: Repairing the broken sheet lead for the Bamar headsail roller reefer, buying new batteries for only JD 36.- or US$ 51.- for each of the four Korean 100-Ah wet-cell truck batteries, rewinding the burned up 1,500 kW motor of our Lofrans Falkon windlass, replacing a broken permanent magnet in the electric 12-V pump motor for our hydraulic Robertson HLD 2000 LS autopilot, realigning the main stuffing box with the drive shaft), and relaxing by the sparkling swimming pool of the Royal Yacht Club of Jordan.
DM Konni: Scubadiving (a total of 38 recorded dives; many thanks to our good friend and fellow PADI DM Renske and the team from Seastar Diving Centre +96232018335 for being such great buddies) the unspoilt reefs south of Aqaba to be found “all the way down” to the Saudi border, with their remarkable marine life and corals, especially enjoying the wreck of MV “Cedar Pride”, a burned-out phosphate freighter which was sunk in 1986 CE, thus providing a vast artificial reef at 25 m depth.
Touring the north of Jordan for four days by means of hired car thus (i) following the tracks of Lawrence of Arabia and exploring the desert castles of Qasr al-Azraq, Qusayr Amra, and Qasr Kharana, (ii) strolling along Jerash's cardo (the wonderfully preserved Roman provincial city of Gerasa, nicknamed “the city of 1,000 columns”, with its superb oval plaza, theatres, and temples), (iii) visiting the 820-m high Mt. Nebo, the site where Moses looked out over the Promised Land, according to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, (iv) walking around the ruins of the crusader castles of Karak and Shubak along the spectacular King’s Highway which winds up and down through the steep canyon of Wadi Mujib (a vast valley known as the Grand Canyon of Jordan) and (v) spotting en route quite a few dust devils.
Stepping into the past and dining at the excellent food court Haret Jdoudna in the heart of Madaba and celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary with oriental food and music.
Socialising and sharing wine, food and information with fellow yotties/divers Christine & Cornelius from Switzerland (SY “Gymnos-Nixe”), as well as with French yotties Monique & Daniel (SY “Pandora II”), Jean (SY “Reskebil”) and Jack (SY “Miss Cat”).
Watching helplessly the professional blunder of how one single (!) tugboat towed an oversized barge through the marina and banged it straight into the stern of SY “Kamu II” thus destroying the starboard davit, damaging the swimming platform and bending the CQR bow anchor, thereafter negotiating/fighting for a comprehensive cash compensation with the cheeky marina manager over a period of four weeks - with a very successful ending on our part, allahu akhbar!
Visiting the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, a massive Nabataean city carved out of rose-coloured rock, and marvelling at - amongst others - As-Siq (the dramatic, 1.2 km long and in some spots just 2 m narrow gorge that links the outside world with the ancient city), the Treasury’s facade (an astonishing piece of craftsmanship carved out of the solid iron-laden sandstone to serve as a tomb for the Nabataean king Aretas III), the diversity of the Royal Tombs, and the location and setting of the Monastery (built in the 3rd century BCE as a Nabataean temple).
Enjoying the excellent company of Aussie expats and fellow yotties/divers Tracy & Steve from SY “Mamalu”, who happened to be the personal dive instructors of King Abdullah II and who invited us into their superb apartment and took us for a ride and picnic, together with their lovely little daughters, into the red sand dunes of the barren and isolated Wadi Rum.
Recognising the smiling King Abdullah II with the help of his picture on the 50 JD banknote, greeting him and being greeted back when he, riding on his royal jet ski, passed SY “Kamu II” by only a couple of metres, halfway between the Royal Jetty and the Royal Yacht Club of Jordan.
Matt: Meeting the ghost of Lawrence of Arabia S of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom whilst touring the Wadi Rum with a Toyota 4x4 Land Cruiser 60 series, climbing/abseiling the rock formations of Jebel Burdah, hiking through the Barrah Siq and spending the cold desert night with Bedouins in their black goat-haired tent near the Saudi border.
Applying for two multiple-entry tourist visas for Sinai/Egypt at the Egyptian consulate at Aqaba for JD 15.- or US$ 22.- each and getting them issued within 3 hours, no baksheesh necessary.
Laundering for US$ 11.- per 8-kg load at a local laundryman (picked up, washed, dried, pressed and delivered back to the ship).
Refilling one of our 9-kg LPG cylinders for JD 7.- or US$ 10.- from a halal hardware store in town.