Fai Tira blog still
in Salalah 15th April 2011
rapidly progressing, although paradoxically the days here in Salalah still seem
to drag their feet, each passing one hardly distinguishable from the previous.
Never-the-less April the 18th is approaching fast. It's significance, for me,
is that it's the day that I will be leaving the boat. My intention is to head
for Crete to attend a long planned family re-union that was meant to
coincide with the original venue and date for the finish of the rally.
After that I'll return to England.
have changed, some of them dramatic, so plans have altered accordingly, and
once the boat reaches Turkey it will travel through the Med. without me. I
think that I would still like to be on it when it returns to Dartmouth and
therefore intend rejoining it in Gibraltar.
So it suddenly
occurs that this may well be my final contribution to the blog up-date
Bit of a sad
end really that leaves me with many mixed emotions; some typified by the sight
of the neighboring big old galleon, owned and sailed by an African called
Charles, as it left the mooring recently to sail alone towards the Red Sea and
When they set
off, in the late evening, the weak but still hot sun cast long shadows, and
it's reflected glow softened as it glinted off the rippling surface.
that even though I know what they're doing is hugely dangerous and I'm relaxed
about the decisions that I've made to head back to the U.K.; I still found
myself standing on the bow of Fai Tira as they sailed off and watched their
departure with strong feelings of melancholy and yearning. Not really sure just
why that is.
I know that for
the most part his passage will be boring and uncomfortable with disrupted sleep
patterns that cause fatigue and irritation, but at times like these romanticism
seems to take over!
I suppose it
must have something to do with the sensations of exclusivity and achievement
that seem to be generated by this way of life, and tends to set you apart from
In many ways
membership of this weird club has some magnetic pull, and sometimes it can feel
good to be fully paid up!
recall images of events of the last twenty months, and only then do I come to
appreciate the extent of the achievement, and about what we've done, and
because of that alone, I know there'll be elements I'll miss!.
I know that I
won’t miss cruising the Med. However, there is something about traveling
on the sea in a small sailboat, and the oceans in particular, that's enormously
It's such a
challenging environment. A vast wilderness that will never submit to control
yet still has the ability to provide us with one of the only true sensations of
physical freedom, but only go there with great caution we are trespassers and
if we're really not wanted we're likely to be removed!
that this way of life doesn't have the remotest chance of entering my blood
stream, but it's not difficult to understand those who are patently addicted.
I've met many whose lives would be totally empty and meaningless without
this almost inevitably un-fulfilling stimulus.
into this world, by comparison, is small, and I think that the difference
between me and a real sailor, is that I now feel satisfied and very grateful
for the opportunities that have been presented. It will enable me to gain much
pleasure from reliving my memories, hopefully with interested friends
and family. It's going to take a long time to exhaust this reservoir,
I've got lots of words and photos for stimulation.........Just hope that I
don't bore my audience to death with my ramblings along the way!
We've all tried
to make the best of the last few weeks of our stay in Salalah many of those
efforts turned out to be quite successful. Much of it was due to the assistance
of the very friendly ex-patriot community, who have gone well beyond
anything we could have expected in an attempt to give our stay an element of
interest and sparkle. And for the most part they've succeeded. We've had guided
days out, roof terrace B.B.Q's, buffet dinner parties and many general social
gatherings. And in addition they've always been there to provide
assistance and information.
too much trouble.
The one on the left isn’t dropping away.......It.s actually going up!
Day, in the company of Andy and his wife Jane, took us on a guided excursion
that eventually arrived part way up a mountain
beyond the anti-gravity road. It was there where we turned off the steep
incline into a hot dusty clearing. There they led the way to an obscure rocky and
uneven dirt pathway that led to the Baibab forest. Here, amongst the outcrop of
giant discarded boulders, these giant so-called upside down trees rose in
gnarled and twisted elegance, with their silhouettes standing sharp
against the richness of the clear blue skies.
store water in their massive trunks…….The trees I mean!
pointed us in the direction of the peaceful and deserted beaches adjacent to
the Queen of Sheba's palace, Where on a return journey we drove through
humble traditional fishing villages and visited its working excavations and
delightful small museum, before picnicking on the adjacent sands. The water and
snorkeling proved to be the attraction of some. Others still managed to brave
the intense heat of the sun, in order to soak up some of the rays, whilst I, and
others, set out on a quest, among the rock pools and soft white sand, to seek
out the delightful intricate shapes and subtle colours contained within
the numerous discarded crustaceans, rolling in on the gentle lapping
waves........(collected a few shells!) We were startled later on that evening,
back on the boat, when one of them tried to escape by running across the saloon
floor. The hermit crab inside had obviously decided enough's, enough. So with
assistance from me it soon found itself back in its watery
environment.......Shame it was a nice one!
journey was livened up by a visit to the Soq, and an encounter with a
persuasive and charismatic salesman ended with me purchasing an engraved pen
and a turban, that on these guys look so cool, but on me.........Well!!
We also took
the opportunity, to visit the fairly new Marriott Hotel.
It sat as grand
as a peacock, on a mound overlooking the dramatic coastline. What a soulless
place it turned out to be. It was almost totally deserted and sterile,
completely lacking in anything resembling character, and its' huge reception
proudly displayed an artists model impression of a massive proposed marina
that would completely dominate the surroundings. It would engulf beautiful
areas of natural beach, and flatten at least one nearby old fishing village
that seemed to be occupied by generations of families!.......And all for
what? Another sterile and soulless development just to
keep the Marriott company.... What are they thinking about!?
I have to say
that I think almost everyone else approved of it..............Strange things
all that seems a long way off, if it happens at all. And it doesn't detract
from a great country occupied by proud, elegant, friendly and honorable people.
They may have some difficult to understand, rigid traditions and cultures, but
I bet when they occasionally look over their shoulders towards the West, if you
could see them, there would be wry smiles lurking beneath those alluring black
This isn't the
way any of us would have chosen for it to end, but if this is how it had to be,
then Salalah has done its best to make it, at least, a little