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Stairway to Eternity 

Chapter IV- Part I

As the cool season started in the autumn of 2601 B.C., the Pharaoh and his fleet set sail from the Mediterranean port of Raqote, for the first time ever heading west along the north African coast.

He carried with him the royal guards of Memphis, Egypt’s best troops, only five hundred men, fifty per ship. They were under the command of Harmhab ‘protector of Pharaoh’. Pharaoh had decided that no time was to be lost; if the winds were not favorable they would row but they must keep moving west, always with the coast in view. They would anchor at night in small bays and early at sun-rise they would start their unknown journey west, following Ra to the great sea.

Cheops and Sesortris had decided to keep to the route they had taken four years earlier; they headed west across Libya to the oasis of Tidikett. Tinguaro the prisoner priest had died two years earlier, so he was not able to accompany Cheops. The prince had grown fond of the old man and his wisdom; it was a sad day when Tinguaro passed on to the eternal life of Ra.

The land expedition once again moved on with ought any major problems, heavy storms and night-time brigands stealing supplies were the main drawbacks, but sixty days passed relatively quickly and here once again the Egyptians entered into the large village oasis of Tidikett. The local population fled, memories of what had happened four years before still fresh in their minds. Those who stayed in the village denied nothing to the huge expedition; meat, water, honey, wheat and even their daughters were offered to Cheops and his officers.

It was decided to camp in the village, find scouts, regain their strength before setting off even further west into totally unknown lands; towards ‘the place where the lands ends’, towards the guardian village of Tarfaya.

One week later the camp was raised and the last march started. The route lay through similar, near-desert savannah; tiny hamlets where desperately poor people lived, until many days after leaving Tidikett the scouts and their minders suddenly rode into Cheops’s camp with the news that ahead of them shone the great sea.

High excitement ran through each and every man and woman in the expedition. They were nearly there. The last few miles the expedition took almost at a run, so high was the expectation of seeing this new sea. The scouts and minders had already told Cheops and Sesortris that the waves breaking on the coast were enormous, and that this ocean was extremely rough in comparison to the seas near Egypt. They were not exaggerating! On first seeing the size of the waves breaking on the coast the travelers were enthralled.