Friday 16 December 2011: Lost the Punt!
Got a call out of the blue today to go sailing at 3pm...perfect!
I had earlier cycled out to our local Monastery (St Tawadros al Muhareb) as the 400 year old Monastery is famous for selling honey that is made in Asyut. A quick dash home and then back out to sail on 'Spirit' a felucca.
The felucca is a traditional wooden sailing boat on the Nile, it was my friend Hazels' dream to come to Luxor and to own one. She achieved on both accounts!
There wasn't so much wind, but we were encouraged by the other boats that were gathering on the Nile, as the sun became lower and the colours became more vibrant and rich.
Bea poured us a Gin and Mango as we sat back to enjoy the riverside activities of the West Bank. Farmers working, cattle grazing, children playing football, fisherman, tourists on camels and cormorants flying overhead. All set against the magnificent backdrop of the Theban Hills.
The contrast of the deep blue water, the Mountains and the sky, is breathtaking. Here you see life as it was 1000's of years ago, little has changed.
We stayed close to the riverbank as we needed the faster moving water to take us South. We edged along moored Dahabeyahs, closely followed by other feluccas, also searching for the current.
'Splash' The pole/punt/whatever it is called falls into the water!! We start to head out to the middle of the river...problem!
Our experienced Captain, Sayed shouts nautical directions to Ahmed, our ever smiling sailor. Ropes were pulled, winches lowered and we headed back towards shore.
'CROC' Andrew shouts, we all look to the water and sure enough, there was a croc....Not the kind that has lots of sharp teeth and a scaly back, but the kind you wear on your feet. Someone, somewhere was hobbling around with just the one shoe :-)
The pole was in sight and we all helped with ropes, steering and leaning over to pull the pole on board...phew! I was most relieved to have that back in the hands of Ahmed.
We settled back down and enjoyed the ever changing light, throwing off shoes and lounging on the cushions as the water sloshed as it hit the boat.
The Nile is truly magical. You will never see the same sunset twice, every one is unique and the colours so memorable.
We returned to our mooring on the East Bank in front of the Old Winter Palace Hotel, where Spirit was secured until her next adventure on the waters. Me? I was ready for a cuppa!