Stairway to Eternity (Chapter VII – Part I)
Snefru’s five vessels were ready to sail from the Little bay of Tarfaya, he had stocked his ships well. On board the ‘royal yacht’ were Snefru, Cheops, half a dozen concubines, the crew and also the fishermen Tegueste, Taboro and Aguere. On the other vessels wermen of the royal guard of Memphis, with Harmhad and supplies. As usual even animals, goats, rabbits and small pigs were taken along, as well as dogs.
Sesortris was left behind in charge of the Egyptian camp, army and thirteen ships that still lay at anchor in the small bay of Tarfaya. The small flotilla sailed west; it was perfect weather blessed by calm seas and an easterly breeze, carrying them directly in the direction of Ra’s celestial route, ever west. After the day was nearly over land became clearly visible directly ahead. This was Maxorata, explained the three fishermen, first of the two islands. They would anchor and spend the night there, before sailing on toward Tamaran.
The Egyptians preferred to stay on board their ships, it was safer. Even if the island was supposed to be uninhabited, could they be certain? Perhaps primitive tribes lived inland, though the fishermen had insisted the island was empty of men? Next morning it was easier to see the island in full daylight. The beaches were yellow and sandy, the island was dry and barren, like Tarfaya that they had left behind the day before. It was decided to lift anchor and proceed to Tamaran, even further west.
On rounding a cape in Maxorata, the open sea lay before them. The crew, soldiers and even Pharoah and his son became increasingly nervous as nothing could be seen in front of them; but the wind blew steadily from the east and the five ships made good time. Suddenly the crew on the leading ship sighted mountains ahead. Here at last was Tamaran, the holy, second island, the pathway to eternity. From there at last they would see the great white pyramid in the sky. The hours passed painfully slowly as the small fleet crewed by brave and expectant men moved closer to the coast of Tamaran. It also looked barren and dry, but higher in the tall mountains, forests were visible; some sailors remembered their voyage to Byblos and spoke of the similarities of the mountains and the trees.
The three fishermen directed the ships to an enourmous sandbank that seemed to join the main island to a smaller island. They were the same land mass, joined only by this thin finger of sand.
This area also offered relative shelter to the Pharoah’s ships. As the apparition, it was decided to disembark and raise a camp on the sand. All eyes were already scouring the heavens and the horizon for any sings of anything abnormal, but nothing was seen.
Supplies were put ashore and defenses set up as Pharoah and Cheops did not believe these islands were uninhabited. Surely such an island full of trees must have some tribe living there! Later the three fishermen would be proved right however; the islands were totally empty of human life.
Night fell, and fires were kindled on the sand-bank; just off the shore a natural reef broke the waves making a lagoon where the Pharoah’s ships could safely lie at anchor.
Part II of Chapter VII to follow in our next edition.