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furtherafieldAUTUMN 2011I sea&iI89of Jordan are easily accessible by car. You can follow in the foot-steps of Moses on Mount Nebo as you gaze towards Bethlehemand Jerusalem; visit Madaba, city of mosaics; speed over thehaunting landscapes of Wadi Rum, where Lawrence of Arabiabased his headquarters during the First World War; or discoverthe world-famous Petra - the lost city carved into rock by theNabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. It is now a Unesco WorldHeritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Exploring the gulfHana awaits in Tala Bay Marina, from where you leave thehistoric shore-based wonders of Jordan behind and drift intothe Gulf of Aqaba, flanked by Saudi Arabia to port and the SinaiPeninsula to starboard at the northern tip of the Red Sea. Fromhere, there are numerous highlights to absorb en route as yourcruise takes you southwards.Nuweiba is one such attraction. This coastal town in the easternregion of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is thought to be the sitewhere the ancient Israelites crossed the Red Sea in biblicaltimes. Its beaches still remain a draw, so you can step ashoreto sunbathe and have a leisurely cocktail at the Hilton NuweibaCoral Resort, or arrange a day trip to Petra if you didn't visitthis genuine wonder while in Aqaba. Alternatively, head to SaintCatherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. Now a UnescoWorld Heritage Site, this is believed to be where God spoke toMoses from the burning bush. It also contains priceless worksof art and a vast collection of magnificent manuscripts. While enthusiasts of both culture and history will be in theirelement during this cruise, diving fans can spend daysexploring the wonders beneath the waterline. Ras El Shetan(Devil's Head) is one of the best-known sites in the region, andis a place where you can encounter hard corals, octopus, pufferfish, moon groupers, lemon goby and the blue-green puller. Ras Mamlach in the Abu Galum National Park is anotherhighlight. The reef has a beautiful coral garden wherebarracuda,jackfish, groupers, striking rock formations, coralgardens, emperor fish, crocodile fish, turtles and puffer fishabound. Dive deep enough and moon-like formations willenchant you.Also on your cruise route, the small town of Dahab, formerlya Bedouin fishing village, is one of the world's most respecteddiving areas - particularly thanks to its canyons and Blue Hole,where you can spot a wealth of unusual fish. If you fancy a trip further south, many miles offshore are theBrother Islands (considered to be one of the top three shark-diving sites in the world). These two pinnacles of undersearocks rise out of the Gulf about 60 miles offshore. Part of theMarine Park Islands National Park, they offer stunningwall diving, soft corals, gorgonians, tuna, barracuda, snappers,jack fish, hammerheads and even white-tip sharks. Wreck divers,meanwhile, should take advantage of theopportunity to delvedown to see the 82m (270') Aida II, which sank in 1957, and thecargo ship Numidia, which sank in 1901. You can also explorewhat is arguably one of the best wreck dives in the worldOpposite page: the 43m (141Õ8) HanaAbove, clockwise fromleft: Saint CatherineÕsMonastery; exploring the Red Sea; thewaterfront of Dahab

90Isea&iIAUTUMN 2011nearer to Sharm El Sheikh - SS Thistlegorm, discovered in thefifties by Jacques Cousteau.While divers explore the underwater world, the rest of yourcharter party can make the most of Hana's attributes.Accommodating10 guests, she features a full-beam owner'sstateroom on the main deck, complete with a private terraceand balcony. Other highlights include an on-board 'beach'area for the ultimate in private sunbathing, and a gym for moreactive guests. ÒCharters are a very relaxed affair,Ó confirms herowner, who considers running into the locals and other diversone of the most appealing aspects of a cruise in thisregion. ÒAs chaotic as the Egyptians are, they are some of themost hospitable and friendly people on earth. They have alwaysgenuinely welcomed us.ÓVenturing further from the Gulf of Aqaba, why not considera stop at Zabargad island, about 75 miles south of Marsa Alamjust north of the Sudanese border, where there is an interna-tional airport. The island is uninhabited and you'll most likelynot see another boat for miles around. While not a classicallypretty spot, it has a certain appeal. ÒZabargad is the farthest south we have ever been,Ó saysJabsheh. ÒI could not believe the colours I saw in the ultra-clearwater. I have been to the Caribbean and lazed around in itsturquoise waters and soft sands, but this really was somethingelse. On one cruise we took the tender and jet skis across to thelagoon for a day on the beach. It was bliss. The sand was likenothing I have ever experienced; the clear air and contrastingcolours of the sea and land stunned the senses; thetemperature of both the sea and air was perfect, and our picnic- washed down with some delightful Domaines Ott rosŽ - wasall one could ask for.ÓTowards the open seaAs Hana guides you down the Gulf, and further south towardsthe Tropic of Cancer, with regular stops for diving, swimming,picnics and trips ashore, you can appreciate the leisurely paceof life and will have plenty of time to lounge on the deck beingwaited on hand and foot while reading up on the history of thisfascinating part of the world, or simply dozing in the sunshine. One place you should allow to disturb your reverie is Nabq.Its coastline is fringed with mangrove forests, and its coral reefsare extraordinarily rich. Step ashore to explore the fascinatinglagoons, or climb aboard a camel to venture into the desert. RasMohammed - a marine and terrestrial park surrounded bystunning, world-famous coral reefs - is also a beautiful spot tovisit with more than 1,000 species of tropical fish. Finally, your cruise can deliver you to the very southern tip ofSinai at Sharm El Sheikh, or nearby Naama Bay. Sharm is theplace that made the Red Sea famous for diving, so you cansqueeze in a final dive to see the remarkable corals, marine floraand fish, or simply relax on the white sandy beaches. Enjoy a finalmeal aboard Hana, before venturing ashore to sample the night-clubs and casinos in this lively region. The following day, yourcrew will transport you to the Sharm El Sheikh InternationalAirport, leaving behind thenatural,cultural and biblical wondersof the intriguing Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea.nHana is available for sale. For information, contact CNI brokerSimon Goldsworthy at sg@lon.cnyachts.comAbove: strikinglandscapes abound in this part of the world Opposite page, clockwise from top left: the waters of the RedSea are clear andinviting; step ashore toexplore exoticcommunities anddeserted beaches