At long last, no early morning wake-up call. Breakfast was at normal o’clock – 8:00am. Much more civilised!
The morning trip by boat up into the first cataract was peaceful and calm. The variety of wildlife flourishing here is a testament to the cleanliness of the Nile in this region. The water quality is so good the locals can drink straight from the river. Within minutes of leaving the riverbank we spotted a pair of pelicans chilling out on a small island, followed by a pair of Ospreys perched in a tree next to a bush full of bee-eaters! Black and white kingfishers, Hoopoe and Egyptian geese added to my list. I could have spent hours just floating along with my binoculars but alas all good things must come to an end.
Before we left Aswan we were able to hire a Felucca, a traditional wooden sailing boat, via our Egyptologist. What a wonderful way to watch the sun set. Each of us was able to take a turn at the helm. I’ve never sailed in a sail-powered boat before. I’ve always had an engine of some description and a steering wheel. I was not prepared for the effort needed just to keep the tiller in one position. And as for tacking into the wind… let’s just say it was an upper body workout!
Tired but happy, we returned to our ship just in time to change an head off for a sound and light show at Philae. With only a few uplights on, the atmosphere was spooky and the night sky clear. We were able to see the Milky Way, something we can’t see easily in te UK due to light polution.
The show was recorded in the late 70s but was was wonderful to watch nonetheless, bringing the story of Isis and Osiris to life. It is definitely worth going to if you get the opportunity.
And with that, our main cruise had come to an end. Later in the evening the ship set sail for Luxor giving us a whole day of cruising and no trips, so no early morning calls. Just as well because the following morning was going to be the earliest start of the entire trip – 3:00am!
Tune in tomorrow for the final installment – a hot air balloon flight at dawn, over the valley of the Kings and Queens, followed by a tour on foot of the same valleys.