Aqaba, Jordan

Aqaba Travel Blog

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Port of Aqaba. Trucks waiting to load and haul the grain and cooking oil to Western Iraq.

I was working on an old steam ship, a tramp steamer, in 2008 and we made two trips to Aqaba in 2008. On the first trip we went from Lake Charles, LA with a partial load of grain to an Army ammunition base in North Carolina and loaded some military cargo to be delivered to the Egyptian Army in Alexandria, Egypt. We then sailed to Alexandria, Egypt,  unloaded the military cargo and left for the Port of Aqaba,Jordan by way of the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.  In Aqaba the grain was unloaded into trucks and it was shipped over to Western Iraq to feed the displaced people there.

On our second trip, we returned from loading the old ship again with grain in Lake Charles and stopped in Charleston, SC where we loaded some  military patrol boats for the Jordanian military.

Old fashioned and slow way of unloading these 50kg bags of grain. The grain was rice, wheat, flour, and other ceral grains.
  We stopped in Aqaba for just one day and unloaded the military patrol boats then continued on to Kenya with the grain.

Aqaba is Jordans only seaport and is a very important port for the country. If you look at a  map you will see that Aqaba is located on the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aqaba. This Gulf extends northeast from the main part of the Red Sea south of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the eastward end ending at the cities of Aqaba, Jordan and Eilat, Israel. In addition to a very important seaport, Aqaba is also a very popular tourist destination. There are many very nice beaches there and the scuba diving is reputated to be some of the best in the world due to large coral reefs in the Gulf. We saw people from all over the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Unloading into a truck. Hard hot work that took many workers.
We had just left Egypt and Aqaba seemed much more westernized than Egypt. Many people spoke English and there were many western style, fast food, restaurants. There were a lot of souvenir shops there.

One of the unusual things we saw there was a huge flag pole with the Jordanian Flag flying. According to Wikipedia, this flag pole is the tallest free standing flag pole in the world at 426 feet tall and weighing 172 tons. It is made of steel and has 11 sections. I have a picture of it from the Aqaba side in my blog photos but if you are interested, go to Wikipedia and see the beautiful panaramic photo of Aqaba with the flag pole in the center. This photo was taken from the Eilat, Israel side. Wikipedia also says the Jordian flag flying at the top is 98 feet tall and 197 feet long.

Port with the mountains in the background
Whee! I would hate to be the boy scout that had to fold that flag!

We stayed in Aqaba for 8 days the first trip and only overnight the second trip. We had plenty of time to go to town and eat and take in the sites. One tourist trip available that I unable to get off for was a day trip to the Dead Sea. I hope to go back someday and make that trip. As a crewman on one of these old ships, there are a lot of ports the ship goes to that you would not want to visit again but I can honestly say Aqaba is a place I would go back to given the chance. Aqaba is not an inexpensive place to go to though and I would make a through study with Google & TB before I went back on my own.

I was unaware of the significance of this place before my first visit there. Historically it is an ancient crossroads of trade. As our ship entered the Gulf of  Aqaba, Saudi Arabia was on our right and Egypt's Sinai peninsula was on our left and at the end of the Gulf were cities of both Jordan and Israel. But we felt very safe there and I would not hesitate to recommend it to another traveler. It was a very enjoyable trip!

bigmac993 says:
Thanks Vance!
Posted on: Mar 23, 2013
vances says:
Niec write up. Don't forget Aqaba's other claim to fame --- it was seized by Lawrence of Arabia durring WWI (he assaulted the village by trooping through the desert...all of the town's artillery faced the sea, lol).
Posted on: Mar 23, 2013
bigmac993 says:
Thank you Fabienne! Happy you enjoyed it! If you write about your Wadi Rum trek , please let me know. James
Posted on: Feb 26, 2013
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Port of Aqaba. Trucks waiting to l…
Port of Aqaba. Trucks waiting to …
Old fashioned and slow way of unlo…
Old fashioned and slow way of unl…
Unloading into a truck. Hard hot w…
Unloading into a truck. Hard hot …
Port with the mountains in the bac…
Port with the mountains in the ba…
I think these were garden plots fo…
I think these were garden plots f…
The giant flag pole and flag. Agai…
The giant flag pole and flag. Aga…
Garden plots
Garden plots
Gulf and bay with Eilat on the far…
Gulf and bay with Eilat on the fa…
Eilat Israel on the far shore
Eilat Israel on the far shore
Lots of construction going on in A…
Lots of construction going on in …
McDonalds in Arabic. Directly belo…
McDonalds in Arabic. Directly bel…
Aqaba city street
Aqaba city street
Aqaba city street
Aqaba city street
This ancient style boat is still u…
This ancient style boat is still …
Modern nightclub and restaurant
Modern nightclub and restaurant
Burger King in Arabic!
Burger King in Arabic!
Aqaba city street
Aqaba city street
Aqaba city street
Aqaba city street
More garden plots
More garden plots
Saudi Arabia border was just a few…
Saudi Arabia border was just a fe…
Jordanian license plate
Jordanian license plate
This is the stern of our ship afte…
This is the stern of our ship aft…
Here is an area map showing Aqaba…
Here is an area map showing Aqaba…
Military patrol boats on our secon…
Military patrol boats on our seco…
Military patrol boats on our secon…
Military patrol boats on our seco…
Port of Aqaba
Port of Aqaba
Port of Aqaba control tower and cr…
Port of Aqaba control tower and c…
Aqaba Harbor
Aqaba Harbor
View of Eilat, Israel from Aqaba, …
View of Eilat, Israel from Aqaba,…
3rd engineer calling home in North…
3rd engineer calling home in Nort…
This ship is called a RO/RO which …
This ship is called a RO/RO which…
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Aqaba
photo by: vances