Sunday, 13 October 2013
LOUIS AURA (ex-ORIENT QUEEN) Part 4
Tuesday 17th September 2013
I woke up and was soon on deck to discover that we had indeed sailed on time from Mykonos at midnight. It seems that LOUIS OLYMPIA was supposed to leave before us but, after making a couple of attempts to do so, abandoned that idea and waited out the bad weather, although she had hit the quayside. Captain Goumas of course knew the LOUIS AURA ship and understood the weather and sea conditions, so he and the Pilot were able to manoeuvre our ship away from the quayside and sail away as scheduled.
It was another blue sky day as we arrived before 7 a.m. in the port of Patmos, the little Greek island where St. John the Divine is said to have dictated the text of “Revelations” to his pupil Prochoros in AD95. There is now a big fortified monastery named for St. John. After breakfast we disembarked and decided to walk up to the little church on the nearby hill. The views were lovely, both down to the ship in the bay and across the island to the sea on the other side.
Back down on the quayside we watched a local fast ferry arrive and then one of the bigger local ferries, and saw the timetables for the current sailings.
I also wanted to see if the ‘Complain’ box was still fixed to a post near a small quayside building, and it was. I was amused to see that it still had no bottom to the box, so presumably anything complained about just blew away on the breeze…
We were back on board by 10 a.m. ready to go to Reception and be taken up to the Bridge to meet the Captain. It was lovely to be there, especially when Captain Goumas recognised me from a couple of previous short voyages. I was rather surprised at this, but I did remember him too! We were made very welcome, and introduced to the Staff Captain and another guest. This was Kaptan Saim Oguzulgen, a Turkish Maritime Pilot who must have found it strange to be on the Bridge but in a different capacity.
The Pilot came on board and we sailed from Patmos, heading out through the islands towards Kusadasi in Turkey, where we are due this afternoon. We now have a permanent invite to come to the Bridge for arrivals and departures whenever we like, which is just lovely.
LOUIS AURA had a sister ship, which is still sailing in Singapore waters, called LEISURE WORLD but she too has been radically altered.
Our ex-ORIENT QUEEN was built in 1968 as STARWARD and the bell with that name still hangs on the Bridge wing. One of my friends later told me she was designed by Tage Wandborg of Knud E. Hansen A/S and the original interiors (long-since gone) were by Mogens Hammer.
As we approached the port of Kusadasi it was fascinating to be back on the Bridge, and watching LOUIS OLYMPIA heading towards us as she left the port.
The Pilot came aboard and we soon berthed, fairly near SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS, which made for an interesting comparison. SEABOURN QUEST was also in port.
I spent some time ashore in the great heat but soon returned after taking photographs, and then watched as the Bridge Officers on SPLENDOUR started consulting their watches rather obviously, and someone on the gangway was sent off to the passenger terminal to see if they could find a missing person. He obviously did find him, as sailing time was almost due, and suddenly two people could be seen hurrying to the ship, one of whom was carrying shopping bags; the gangway was raised, the doors closed and the ship sailed – just slightly late but with all aboard.
On board LOUIS AURA we enjoyed more of Greek Day, with good food and music, and all sorts of entertainment available during the day and evening. I noticed our English Daily Programme also included an advertisement for ‘Towel Art Inspirations’ Book. Thank you, but not for me.
We sailed just after 10 p.m., heading for Rhodes, Greece, after another interesting port of call in Kusadasi.
At Patmos: Aegean Flying Dolphins, Epata, Patmos Star, N. Kalymnos of ANEK Sea Lines
At Kusadasi: Louis Olympia, Pilot 72 boat, Bogagay II tug, Seabourn Quest, Splendour of the Seas
To be continued....