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RIVIERA RADIOin English106.5

AUTUMN 2011I sea&iI87Catch the sunset over the Gulf of Aqaba at just the rightmoment and you get a gist of why the Red Sea is soaptly named. As the sun catches on the scarlet moun-tains towering either side of this ten-milewide stretchof water, the sea simmers deep red with their reflection. At the very heart of the world, the Red Sea promises anintriguing charter. It has the inviting waters, sandy beaches anddiving appeal of the Caribbean, along with the cultural and historicalallure of the Mediterranean. There are near-deserted islands andfascinating offshore reefs to explore, calm bays for watersportsand bustling markets as vibrant with local character asthey are with exotic spices and jewels. Cruising from Aqaba inJordan down the Gulf of Aqaba, which slithers between Egyptand Saudi Arabia, the route is edged with vast deserts andmountainlandscapes, the climate remains favourable year-round, and the welcome of the locals is equally warm.An ardent fan of the region's charms is Hani Jabsheh, ownerof the 43m (141'8) Hana, launched in 2008 from the CRN yardin Italy. ÒAt the time [of Hana's launch] we were familiar withJordanian waters and the Gulf of Aqaba but we knew little aboutthe cruising conditions,Ó Jabsheh explains. ÒFor the past twowinters we have been able to explore on board Hana, and wehave been very pleasantly surprised by what we've discovered.ÓHana's winter berth is at the Tala Bay Marina in Aqaba - anideal place to begin a cruise of the area. You can fly into KingHussein International Airport, just a few miles away, and stay atone of several five star hotels, including the Radisson Blu Tala BayResort or the Mšvenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba. If you havetime to extend your break a few days, many of the highlightsThe biblical landscapes andremarkable underwater worldsaround and beyond the Gulfof Aqaba make for an unusualand enchanting charter atthe northern tip of the Red Sea By Kate RigbyHidden depths and ancient lands  the red seafurtherafield