Steamer Point, 26 December 1892

During the night we passed the reefs of the dangerous narrows between the islands of Jebel Zuquar and Hanish. Our Arabian pilot demonstrated cat-like eyesight as he could locate even the most distant reef in this dark night without moonshine.

In the morning, the sea is quieter. On the right is the African mainland, on the left is the Arabian coastline on which appear the high jagged mountains of Yemen whose steep cliffs reveal a different type of landscape than the granite mountains on the Northern coast of the Red Sea. A view through the telescope also shows some spare vegetation on the front of Yemen’s mountains. At the shore glister huts and tents, probably occupied by Arab nomads.

After the church service we pass through the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, the „gate of grief“, a name verified by the silent witnesses of so many wrecks.

The practical English have occupied this important location on the way to India already in 1857, that is even before the Suez Canal was opened. A seemingly strong fort on the rocky island of Perim guards and blocks the passage of the narrowest point of the Red Sea. Both coasts are within cannon range of a passing ship. When we signalled the lighthouse of Perim the name of our ship, we received the common answer at the end of the year: „The compliments of the season!“

A giant turtle of nearly 2 m length surfaced a few paces away from the fore, observed us with its large yellow head for a number of seconds and vanished again in the sea.

Now the African coast disappears more and more while Arabia’s 844 m high rocky Jebel Kharas comes into view.

A large smack of jellyfish is approaching. They glitter and glow in the most beautiful rose red and dark violet colors which makes us stop the machines to pick up some of these sea flowers.

At 8 o’clock in the evening the lighthouse of Steamer Point was blinking and soon we were anchoring in the outer harbour of Aden. A small English patrol boat, the cannon boat „Redbreast“ and three large steamships were moored in the harbor, where just a powerful English transport ship was hoisting its anchor. This colossus let loose its steam whistle and departed quickly towards the East, probably in the direction towards India.

Just after we had dropped the anchor, the consular representative came on board, followed by a couple of merchants who eagerly offered their services in numerous languages.

Links

  • Location: Aden
  • ANNO – on 26.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. Due to Christmas Day, few newspapers are published on 26 December. Time for the Wiener Sonn- und Montagszeitung to shine: In Dublin on 25 December, a dynamite bomb killed a British detective, wrecking the detective office. In Paris, the Panama scandal is hotly debated.

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