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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 19: 13 October

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysSometime in the middle of the night the sound of the engine, now restored to life, mingles with shouts and the rustling of feet about the boat. Orders and counter-orders. Sounds like another crisis. Blearily look around me to find that there are enormous craggy rocks rearing up on either side of us. We are squeezing through a narrow channel, less than a mile wide, without the help of any navigational machinery, and in the dead of night. It's a considerable test of skill for the captain. What he seems most concerned about is the presence of other ships in these labyrinthine waters, hence his shouted orders to various watchers along the rails. None of this feels like the twentieth century at all. It's as if I'm back in some ancient legend, and I half expect the rocks to transmogrify into vast mythical creatures.

Wake again about six o'clock, with the first light of dawn. We are now through Hormuz and into the Gulf of Oman. There is nothing to see at all but flat, calm empty sea. Later, just to make sure that what I'd seen in the night was no dream, I checked the charts, and found that we had indeed made a complicated passage around the Mussandam Peninsula, past Perforated Rock and the Elphinstone Inlet, and other points in a ragged archipelago just off the northern tip of Oman.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 19
  • Date: 13 October
  • Country/sea: Persian Gulf
  • Place: Gulf of Oman
  • Book page no: 72

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