WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2009 – 104/41 – CRUISING THE RED SEA – JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA FOR REFUELING BY LIGHTER.
Sea day number six, this is really too many in a row! Maybe the fuel stop this afternoon will break up the day. It is a hot sunny morning. We head to breakfast and see that all the alcohol is being gathered and sacked for our refueling stop. We can understand (perhaps) closing the bars, like the shops and the casino always close when we are in port, but to mess with the cabin’s contents and dictate what people can and can’t wear on the ship while in Saudi waters is really over the top! In the dining room, they try to seat us at #34 again and we balk; the waiter laughs and says, “I do not blame you, it is a crowded table,” and puts us at the back of the room again.
This morning there are a port lecture, another music related lecture and then trivia at noon for Dick. He is busy. After the lectures, Carolyn stops by the purser’s desk to make “2” reservations for tomorrow night in anticipation of the menu coming out tonight. Most interesting, we already have a reservation for 8PM. Carolyn comments that she did not make it and is told, “Oh, we have a standing 8PM reservation for you every night, just let us know if you want to cancel!”
When we get back to the cabin after the lectures there is a lot more air circulating in the room and the bedroom is cooler than it has been since we got on. Maybe our letter and comments last night woke someone up to the fact they need to work on some things.
The dining room lunch is the best meal since the first night and we get a table at the back of the room right off! When we come on deck after lunch, we are entering the anchorage and can see the fuel lighter coming toward us. There are a number of big ships fueling around us and we can just barely see the shore and buildings through the heavy haze or pollution. This should take about 4 hours and we should be free by cocktail time. The Captain certainly hopes so!
Unfortunately, the hose did not hook up until well after 3:00PM so it will probably be after 7:00PM before all our fuel is loaded. After an hour plus, the lighter has risen a full meter in the water so some serious weight is moving from the lighter to our ship. The Captain said that he is taking on 200 tons of bunker fuel. I am surprised at how often the ship has to refuel. It is only good for 12-14 days of steaming on a full load of fuel. It burns 35 tons of fuel a day at its optimum cruising speed of 15 knots. Surprisingly, the transfer of fuel is complete by shortly after 6:00PM and we are on our way north by 6:30PM. The staff immediately restocks the bars and the ship begins to return to normal. We go to dinner at “2” and enjoy a tapas tastings meal of many small bites of the chef’s preparations. Most are very good with one or two that do not please us. The meal finishes with a Kaluah frappe that is delicious. It is made of Kaluah, Bailey’s Irish Cream, vanilla ice cream and a touch of chocolate syrup. Simply delicious! It is too bad that Carolyn must steer away from the caffeine in the Kaluah. Dick toughs it out and drinks both of them!
Back in the room, Tammy and Jack are up their tricks again. Tammy makes Jack a hammock in the window and installs him with his own personal beer supply!