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KONINKLIJK INSTITUUT
voor de
MARINE


ROYAL NETHERLANDS
NAVAL ACADEMY


K I M


[Ben Oostdam's
Autobiography
Years 1950-1952]



1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen", to New Guinea, part 4

February 25, 1952: On my watch, at 03:30, the Suez Canal pilot came aboard and took us directly down the Canal. An Egyptian Man of War followed us and kept on signalling "Which ship", even though we duly responded time and again.
at 12:30 we passed the Rotterdam Lloyd's "Bittar" at a distance of 30 meters, with lots of happy shouts - quite a difference from the "cool" reception of the British soldiers garnisoned along the Canal Zone.
February 25, 1952: Fantastic day, desert on both sides. Only occasional oases. Just passed the Great Bitter Lakes. Means of transportation viewed: flatbottom dhows (right), camels accompanied by Egyptian farmers with dirty but colorful burnous, boats towed by lines of barefoot crew, ramshackle and direly overloaded buses, and....jet-fighters up in the air. This morning when I woke up, an interesting view through the porthole: A native in long blue gown riding on an antique black Dutch bike! Also buoys, dredgers, vomiting cormorants, pelicans and maraboes. Just past Ismaila, site of recent riots. Also a partial eclipse of the sun.

(below)Red Sea, between the African Plate (left) and the Arabian Plate(center). Mediterranean Sea (top left), Persian Gulf on the (right)right


February 29, 1952:Last 3 days through the Red Sea; no sharks or flying fish, many jellyfish. Sulfurous fumes from engine room ("pijpluizen") made life below unbearable. Fascinating mountains and islands. At night, the Bab-El_Mandeb, and 08:00 today ADEN. Since I had the daywatch, I did not get ashore; witnessed extensive trade between high up passengers from the Dutch "Willem Ruys" and the French "Pasteur" and low down Yemeni in small boats, using baskets on long lines. Lovely letter from Lony, and:
March 1, 1952: Painted the number "8" of our bowsign F 804 swaying on a bosun's chair above sharks and the like, awarded a beer by the bosun, then took off for Colombo at 14:00, into the Indian Ocean...

Little did I realize that I would spend two years with Arabs (1976-8) and find out about the fantastic diving in the Red Sea; I made one off Port Sudan..
BLO fecit 19 VII 1998 add 20060204
to continue to next page:
1952 Training Cruise on the "van Kinsbergen"
to New Guinea, part 5: Indian Ocean