Bit more on the medical emergency. So yesterday at 2pm our time (10am UK) another announcement from the Captain. 'In approximately one hour a helicopter will be hovering overhead to pick up the medical emergency. Therefore would passengers please leave all outside decks as the crew need to secure all sunbeds and furniture'. Sure enough we all vacate our chairs and then headed for the upper decks to watch for the helicopter. Big mistake. We were told in no uncertain terms to GO INSIDE!!!. This stuck up security lady was insistent even though I said I just wanted to take a photo of the crew clearing the decks. She was having none of it but I managed to sidle past and take this picture.
So we high tailed it to deck 11 and the observation lounge. That was already heaving with bodies so we gave up all together and went back to our cabin. At 14.45 another announcement. 'Stretcher crew to their station'. Within minutes the sound of the helicopter came from the bow of the boat. It passed right by the balcony so..... wasn't I pleased that we had decided to return to the cabin?. 30 minutes later it was all over but I did get some great shots.
|Never seen the deck so empty.|
Fully expecting us to now continue to Muscat yet another announcement was made. 'Salalah is still our destination. We still have two other passengers to get to the hospital but as yet have not heard from the port authorities if we can dock alongside or have to anchor up. Further announcements will be made later'. As it turns out we did get permission to dock and after the Pilate came onboard we eventually arrived at 6.50pm. Waiting on the quayside were 3 ambulances. Maybe there were more passengers to offload then we thought. No sooner had the ropes been secured the ramp came down and the luggage appeared followed shortly after by the patients. For them this trip of a lifetime was now over. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to suddenly be left in a strange land. I don't suppose we will ever know if they made it okay but I do so hope they did.
|First glimpse of Salalah|
|Entering the docks. Pilate ship on it's way back|
|We got really, really close to this container ship trying to turn|
|Ambulance's starting to arrive|
|Luggage comes off|
|And then the patients|
So this morning we were back on course for Muscat. After breakfast the tannoy sprung into life once more with another announcement from the Captain. 'You may have guessed that we left Salalah later then expected. This is because of the Oman 3 days of mourning . (Whats that all about???? Did I miss something???) and the Port Authorities were slow in giving the necessary permissions and help for us to leave. We didn't sail until 23.30. We will arrive at Muscat on Sunday at 15.30 and leave by 22.00. Fujairah is now cancelled and Balmoral will sail directly to Abu Dhabi. Oh well there goes our 4X4 desert safari experience and we may well lose the tour in Muscat to Nakhl Fortress & Springs. Cant be helped but such a shame as I cant see us ever doing this again.
Tonight is the Captains farewell cocktail party and last formal evening of this leg of the world tour. We only had 4 formal nights. Those people that are doing the whole trip have another 24!!! All those posh frocks eh!!! Bit sad that our time on board is almost at an end but I must say I am looking forward to setting sail on our own little ship soon enough. And there's nothing like a cosy log fire to warm the cockles of one's heart.