Day 30 - Felucca Sailing on the Nile!

Aswan Travel Blog

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The imposing fascade

Before we were to jump onto the Felucca, first we had to do a little more touristing, namely a visit to the Philae Temple and High Dam.  Like Abu Simbel, The Philae Temple had to be moved when the High Dam was constructed, its original site now several meters underwater.  To get to the temple, we needed to take a short boat ride to Philae Island, an island created by the damming of the Nile. 

We took a boat ride back to the river bank, passing the old site of the Temple on the way.

Lots of intact pillars
  From here, we were driven the short distance to the High Dam.  The High Dam has created the largest man-made lake in the world and provides 2GW of electricity, sufficient for Egypt to meet its power needs and them some, enough left over to on-sell to neighbouring countries.   The damming of the Nile here caused all sorts of environmental and historical damage, with vast flooding of areas upstream but it the trade off is probably worth it, Egypt having saved the key temples and having a huge supply of clean, renewable energy.

The stay at the dam was short, just long enough to take a few photos and receive the background information on the plant.  Once the happy snaps were taken it was back into the minibus and back to Aswan.  This time we were not returning to our hotel though.

more pillars
  We’d already packed up and checked out, so it was simply a matter of going straight to the river, where we loaded our gear aboard a motor boat which took us to the other side and to our awaiting Felucca.

The preparations on the felucca were still underway when we arrived.  Perhaps we were early?  It meant we spent an hour or so sat in the motor boat whilst a half dozen young guys scrambled all over the felucca setting the sail and making other preparations.  Our guide, Mahmoud and the captain had to leave us for a bit, in the meantime, the captain’s son had prepared a lunch for the three of us.  It wasn’t until our guide and the skipper returned over an hour later that we were able to get underway.  When we did, it was great.  Aswan was very hot but today there was a good breeze and it meant that not only was it extremely comfortable under the felucca’s shade but we were also able to make really good progress.

The vast waters of Lake Nasser behind us
  We sailed until sun set, when the captain moored us alongside the west bank and freed us for a toilet break before dinner.

Dinner was fantastic and topped off with a desert of watermelon, which they had kept cold by towing in the water behind the boat in a plastic bag.  Never before had I seen watermelon with seeds so big and after a long day of sightseeing and lying in the sun, it was the perfect medicine.  We greedily chomped our way through half the melon, leaving the other half for lunch tomorrow.

When it came time to sleep, we were again aware of another benefit of travelling in such a small group.  The deck space that would normally be deemed sufficient for twelve passengers, two crew and a guide, was ours to stretch out on.  Falling asleep beneath the stars, with the sounds of the animals in the background was just amazing.
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The imposing fascade
The imposing fascade
Lots of intact pillars
Lots of intact pillars
more pillars
more pillars
The vast waters of Lake Nasser beh…
The vast waters of Lake Nasser be…
Finally, were on the water
Finally, we're on the water
photo by: Vikram