Day 27 - Salalah
|Sunday, November 5, 2023: Welcome to Salalah, Oman. When we woke up this morning, we were already alongside the pier, ...
|... in a huge container port that was filled with Maersk containers.
|During breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, a lifeboat being used for a crew drill was being raised and lowered right outside the window at our table.
|Debbie had the Nutella crepes, ...
|... and Tom had congee again. It was rapidly becoming his favorite breakfast item.
|Tied up right behind our ship was a small wooden cargo boat that was in the process of unloading. It was the first time we'd seen how a non-container ship was unloaded and it was fascinating.
|Across the dock, we could see the building containing the Salalah Port Commercial Market and Port Restaurant, which we thought would be fun to try to visit.
|There were mattresses in the front window, and we could see luggage through the main entrance doors. We just had to try to figure out how to get there.
|At the end of the pier was another of the small cargo boats, this one painted in a very brilliant pink and blue.
|As we watched, another one pulled in at the end of our pier. This one didn't seem to have much cargo already on board, but it did have what looked like a crane in the middle of the cargo deck.
|We headed down to the gangway on deck A and out onto Omani soil. Well, pavement anyway.
|We were each given a tourist entry permit as we reached the end of the gangway. We started walking toward the commercial market, but before we had gotten very far, a nice man in an official-looking car told us that we couldn't walk around the port without the proper safety vests. He kindly offered to drive us to the market, but without being able to walk back, we didn't know how we'd get back to the ship, so we gratefully declined and walked back toward the front of the ship.
|We could see lots of fish in the water.
|Here's a zoomed in shot. The only fish we immediately recognized were sergeant majors, but there were lots of them. As we watched, a smaller school of much larger fish came by to harass the smaller ones, until the larger fish eventually grew bored and moved on. It was lots of fun to watch.
|Debbie noticed all of these webbed foot prints in the concrete along the pier. Some poor seagull must have run through here right after they paved the pier.
|It's hard to fathom just how big this ship is while you are on it, but when you are standing next to it, it is huge. Here's the ship's anchor, nearly as tall as Tom. We looked around in the water for a little while longer, and then turned in our tourist cards and went back on board.
|While everyone else was ashore, we decided to go swimming. We headed to the Sea View Pool, but it was closed for maintenance, so we ended up in the Lido Pool and had it to ourselves! Yay! The entire time we were floating in the pool, the crew was doing drills that simulated various situations, including a puncture in the hull from running aground. It was fascinating to listen to the damage control teams being given instructions over the PA.
|When we were done in the pool, we walked back to our cabin, noticing the emergency lighting on the floor of the hallways, ...
|... and the cards stuck in the stateroom doors indicating that they had been evacuated during the drill.
|It was only the second time that we'd stayed aboard while we were in port, and the first time on a Holland America ship, and we wondered if they ran crew drills often when we were in port.
|Back in our room, we headed out onto the balcony to see what was going on in the port. The boat behind us had finished unloading, and was now in the process of taking on more cargo.
|Debbie's LEGO daily calendar for today featured LEGO Debbie leading LEGO Tom on a camel expedition. The last time we were in Oman, we'd seen camels roaming the desert, so it seemed appropriate. Later in the day, we heard another passenger talking about all of the camels they'd seen during their shore excursion, so ... nailed it!
|In the Lido Market for lunch, we went to the Taste of Thai and got noodles and other stuff that was delicious.
|We happened to be there right as they were opening up, so we saw the sushi display when it was completely untouched, ...
|... as well as untouched bread pudding and untouched banana crisp display. None of these stations looked like that after we went through.
|Here's the view of the port from our seats at the Lido. We didn't know if this was stuff that was waiting to be loaded, or if it had been unloaded and was as-yet unclaimed, or what. Container ports are fascinating though, if you think about all of the goods that pass through and how many people are waiting for something that is sitting here half a world away.
|Around noon, we sat outside and enjoyed our balcony while there was still some shade.
|There was an Omani naval patrol boat in port, ...
|... and shortly after the mid-day prayer time, we noticed these carpets hanging over the rail toward the back of the ship.
|We had received a notice yesterday that they would be doing maintenance on our balcony during the day today, and around 3:00 PM, a crew member opened the connecting panel between our balcony and the one next door. Another crew member followed him with a paint roller filled with white paint.
|We decided to give them some privacy and headed up to the Sea View Pool area, where we promptly looked down to see what they were doing. Only one crew member was visible, and he was sanding the balcony railings prior to varnishing it.
|Tom had set an alarm for the Asr or late afternoon prayer time, hoping that we would be able to hear the call to prayer, but we didn't hear it. We had also hoped to see the activity in the port change when it was time for prayer, but we couldn't see any visible change in anyone's activity.
|There was a lot of haze over the city, but by late afternoon, the Dhofar Mountains were starting to be more visible in distance.
|The city of Salalah was way over there. You can just make it out past the bow of that container ship.
|We used the reflection off the balcony glass to get a quick glimpse into balcony of the cabin next to us. We wanted to see what furniture they have - small table, large table, two metal chairs with pull out foot rests - so that we could try to calculate how big their balcony was. It just might be relevant to us on a future cruise.
|For sail out, we took the last Stella Artois from our bucket of beers on day 11, and the Stork that Debbie had won at the beer tasting a few days ago, and headed out to the balcony.
|They were still loading the boat behind us.
|We watched as the crew used a forklift to position two pallets of stuff in the center of a cargo net, lifted it with a crane, ...
|... and swung it over to the boat where they would unload it from the net and stack it aboard their ship.
|They were currently loading boxes of Super One brand milk and egg cookies. Boxes and boxes and boxes of them.
|It had been a great day, and we were glad that we had stayed aboard the ship.
|Right at 5:00 PM, we started pushing away from the dock, turning in the basin to aim toward the harbor entrance. As we turned, we got a better view of the ships across the harbor, ...
|... and all of the Maersk that you could ever hope to see. They had white ones, gray ones, gray Sealand ones, tiny ones. It was Maersk nirvana.
|Our pilot boat passed by as two tiny Maersk containers were loaded aboard this Hamburg Sud container ship.
|Here's a closer view. They are being lowered into position in the space between two upright red poles on the left center of this image.
|As we left port, the sun was doing its best to put on a show for us.
|Buh bye, Oman.
|We went very close to the Maersk Cabo Verde as we sailed out. How appropriate. Cape Verde is scheduled to be our second-to-last port on this trip.
|For dinner, we headed up to the Lido Market where Tom got the fettucini alfredo that he'd been craving. Turns out, it is something they offer every night at the Distant Lands Italy station. From the carving station, Debbie got the most delicious turkey leg she's ever had. We'd been very pleased with the food on this cruise so far. They had a great variety, and everything we'd eaten had been absolutely delicious.
|Back in the room, Tom was keeping our Africa map up to date as our ship left Asia and headed back to Africa.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy