Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge – The Ship of the Desert, Day Four

Dear follower/visitor, This is my fourth contribution to fellow blogger Jane Dougherty’s challenge to write a post each day. I decided to come up with one story in five parts. It is an English translation of a Dutch story which was published earlier on this site. I hope you will like what you find. signature_1



“Your name will be Khamsin! Allah is great!”

Surrounded by his attendants the sultan dashed the champagne bottle to pieces against the towering straight stem. A round of applause, festive arabesques and wild dancing set the scene as the bright blue woodcore hull started sliding slowly down the slipway. The sharp cutwater caused not a single ripple in the river, which even the sultan’s camel couldn’t help but notice. The animal had been accompanying his master during business trips throughout the shipbuilding stages, and would also be on board on the maiden trip. The animal was the first to cross the gangway and was lowered into the hold by a lift. On arrival down below his snout produced an ear-to-ear grin as he found a state-of-the-art stable, furnished up to royal camel standards.

The ship cast off and was towed out on a nearby estuary for a test trip. A steady breeze blew impressive cloud masses across the sky as the ship accelerated under only a few sails, to the delight of the sultan’s attendants who burst into a party that lasted way into the night. The shipyard personnel was repeatedly hailed in praise. In order to make the maiden trip a commercial success, zoos from all over Holland were requested to supply camel droppings to fill the ship to capacity. Shifts of attendants worked hard tot stow one bale after the other into the lower hold until finally the Plimsoll mark touched the water line. The ship being ready to set sail on her maiden trip, Ron de Vos was the last person to come on board; he was appointed to familiarize the crewmembers with all the technical details of the new vessel.


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