After the EMYR

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 30 Jun 2008 13:49


Although the EMYR rally is now officially completed and behind us, there are still a lot of people who had taken part in the rally, whose boats remained in Herzliya marina. Meanwhile, all of theses people are now doing their own thing. Some are off taking part in excursions, some individually, others in groups. The four of us on Tucanon decided to take a four day excursion to Jordan so, at 7.30am on Friday, 20th June, we again climbed aboard a coach. This time we were off to the Israeli/Jordanian border. There was a small delay as we went through the formalities, before walking through the duty free shop to the other side. The coach that had brought us this far had left but there was another coach, the one that had brought a party from the marina, who were doing the 3 day trip to Jordan. All of us crowded onto this remaining coach, to cross the border into Jordan.

We were met by a Jordanian tour guide who was to be with us while we were in Jordan. After having our passports checked we boarded another coach and were on our way. We went to Jerash, where we had lunch before visiting the roman city of Decapolis, with colonnaded streets, an ancient theatre,etc. From there we drove to Madaba, where we visited a church which happened to be in the home town of our guide, to see a mosaic map of the Holy land, made in 600AD. Unfortunately, a lot of the map been destroyed over the intervening years and was therefore not as enlightening as one might have wished. That night was spent in a hotel in Amman.

Next morning we left Amman early, to drive to Petra where we spent the entire day exploring “Sela Edom”, the red rock city, the ancient capital of the Nabateans from 3rd century BC to 2nd century AD, with its unique carved monuments. It was extremely hot but as we did not leave until the afternoon, the return to the coach, was thankfully in the shade. Some people made the return trip to the coach by horseback, camel or even horse and cart. We preferred to walk.

We did not have to leave the hotel until 9am on Sunday which was wonderful. No early morning calls just plenty of time to get it all together. We drove to Aqaba and explored the town, bought some lunch which we ate en-route to Wadi Rum, where Lawrence of Arabia fought with the Bedouins. We spent a couple of hours exploring the desert at Wadi Rum, in several 4X4 vehicles, one of which was driven by an 8 year old boy accompanied by a male pal of a similar age!

Leaving behind, those members of the party, who wished to spend the night at a Bedouin camp, in the desert, the rest of us boarded the coach and returned to our hotel in Petra, an hour and a half away. Sadly, we had stopped at too many craft shops during the day so, unlike yesterday, our arrival at the hotel was just a little too late for us to take advantage of the pool.

That evening, many of the happy campers embarked upon another 4X4 excursion, driving into the desert to watch the sun set and the changing colours as the light reflected on the rock.

Morning in the desert started at 4.30. It was dark and the air was full of mosquitoes. It took a while before the sun rose but because it was hidden behind a mountain, there was no glorious sunrise. It just became lighter and eventually the sun rose above the mountains.

The group that had spent the night at the desert camp, arrived at the hotel in Petra about 9am and we were soon on our way to the border crossing. The formalities on the Jordanian side of the border were quite unremarkable however, the crossing from Jordan to Israel was a joke. I cannot believe that these are the same people who saved the hostages at Entebbe. Of course, they are not the same people. Those heroes were the elite of the elite, these people are just ordinary, like the rest of us.

We had to hand 1 bag per person, with our passport, to a baggage handler, then wait for the return of our passport. Any further bags that we are carting remain with us. After some delay our passports are returned, in an ad hoc manner, with a sticker on the cover. I peel the sticker off the cover of my passport which I do not wish to be defaced so soon after its renewal. I stick the sticker onto the top of my left wrist and move on to the next section. We wait awhile and then pass through passport control. We move on to the next section where we put our possessions through a scanner while we move to another scanner through which we have to walk. We collect our bags, cameras etc from the other conveyor belt and have to deposit them on a chair while we walk into a machine which puffs air at us. The operator puts a blue sticker, with the date written onto it, on the cover of my passport. This sticker I transfer to the underside of my left wrist, collect my baggage from the chair and move on to the next section. While I wait in the queue, I transfer both stickers to a slip of paper I have received en-route through this parade. I reach a desk and the girl behind the desk types information from my white sticker, into her computer and lets me pass. A man tries to take from me the slip of paper which now has both of the stickers on it. I won’t let him have it. I need the sticker to collect my checked in luggage. After a bit of a gentle tug of war, he tears my slip of paper in half and gives it to me. I approach a pile of luggage dumped on the floor ahead. Searching through the luggage, I find our overnight bag, Dick’s rucksack and Lucy’s overnight bag. I wait until Dick and Lucy join me and we all walk out past another control station which asks for nothing. Outside we are directed to the coach which takes us back to the marina.

Neither the driver of the coach nor the tour guide that met us on the Israeli side of the border, on our return from Jordan, had a clue where to find the marina . As we came down the freeway, the road split, they took the right turn by luck. The driver asked the guide, as he took the turning, but the guide didn’t know if it was correct or not. Then at a crossroads there was a sign for the marina and they both exclaimed with relief. We drove past the exit to the marina and towards the car-park. They drove down the road at the side of the car-park to the junction at the end. The driver was inclined to turn right. I told him it was no entry. I told them to turn round and go back to the roundabout and retrace their steps, take a left turn off after the roundabout. The driver reversed and turned the bus round. He drove towards and round the roundabout, back the way we had come. At the 1st exit towards the car-park the guide asks me if it is correct. I tell him it is the next turning off, not this one. We continue and take the next turning off. I tell them to drive to the very end of the road. At the end of the road is a roundabout which the driver tries to navigate but the coach is too big. He reverses back and drives the wrong way round the roundabout towards another car-park, blocking the exit of a car trying to leave. I tell the guide we do not need to go to the car-park. We need to park next to the pavement. The driver reverses the coach, driving over the pavement to do so. He stops the coach next to the pavement and we all get off and grab our bags. As we get to the marina entrance, the security guard makes a feeble attempt to search our bags.

We now have time to chill out. Nothing major needs to be done until the 26th June when, Lucy departs late afternoon and Peter, our new crew, arrives.

After 2 days of feeling like we are melting, we welcome Peter aboard and wave farewell to Lucy. The next part of our adventure is about to begin.

We don’t depart from Herzliya until 10.15, Friday 27th June, sailing in the opposite direction to that which we would have preferred to be sailing. We have to check out of  Israel at Tel Aviv because the offices at Herzliya marina are closed until Sunday. The journey takes little more than an hour but it was an hour and a half later, before we were able to leave Tel Aviv. It seemed that we had to pay the exit fee in sheckels, rather than dollars. As we were leaving the country, we have disposed of our last sheckels. This meant a trip to town to obtain the correct currency. Unfortunately, because it is Friday, all the banks are closed. Thank goodness for ATM machines.

We then set sail for Rhodes but due to prevailing winds, sailed to Turkey instead. The wind, when present, was invariably close hauled, but we managed to sail almost half of the 372 miles, motor-sailing the rest of the way. We even had to put a reef in the main sail on the third night at sea.

We anchored in 4metres in a delightful setting, surrounded by hills. On the seashore, an old, unspoilt fishing village with a couple of restaurants, and an internet café, beckoned.

We swam in warm, refreshing water and downed a few celebratory beers.





Lucy, Caroline and Lulu at Bedouin camp

Peter, our new crewman