Sec. ii] TO WARAWI AND UP THE GULF COAST 231
port some 40 miles beyond Tâhiri, where there would be some hope of obtaining camels. The difficulty of getting our baggage transported from camp to the seashore caused delay in embarkation. Midday had passed by the time we had men and impedimenta crowded into the frail little craft, measuring some 45 feet from bow to stern and only 8 feet wide. The favourable wind from the south (kaushi) on which our ncikhudâ, the boat-master, relied, changed by the evening under a cloudy sky to one from the east ( barri) . All the same, skilful tacking had brought us early in the night well beyond the lights of Akhtar village up the coast above Tâhiri.
But about 2 a.m., when I was awakened by a trying buffeting of the little craft and much raucous shouting on the part of our Arab crew, I found that a violent shamig, the dreaded north-west wind of the Gulf, had sprung up and rendered all hope of gaining Daiyir futile for some time. While lying awake on the little poop I realized how hard put our skilful sailors were to keep the boat's head towards Tâhiri and prevent our being driven back beyond the place we had started from. By daybreak they had managed with much toil to gain the roadstead south of Tâhiri, and later on to drop anchor within a mile or so of the small fishing hamlet of Parak ( Fig. 77 ) . The sea being very rough, it took hours and some clever manoeuvring before the badly leaking craft could be brought under such shelter as a fuel-laden boat anchored within a couple of furlongs from the shore could afford. Regard for the misery still being endured by our men and escort crouching amidst the baggage in the open hold then made me decide to abandon the hapless maritime venture and return to land. But with a single small fisherman's boat secured from the shore the landing was not safely accomplished till the afternoon.
The attempt to expedite our journey towards Bushire had lamentably failed. Yet trying as the experience had been—and the originator of the attempt was now loudest in his condemnation—it had provided in a way a useful antiquarian lesson. It let me realize better than I might have done otherwise how the men in Nearchos's fleet may have felt in their crowded small ships which afforded but little protection from weather and sun, when making their way along a coast so exposed to strong and rapidly changing winds as that of the Persian Gulf.
At Parak we might have remained stranded for an indefinite time through want of transport, had not a fortunate chance on the morning after our arrival brought from Tâhiri a major of gendarmerie engaged on inspecting the line of posts extending to the lower end of Gâbandi. This energetic and obliging officer, a distant relative of our escort commander, when informed of our plight, dispatched urgent orders all up the line to collect camels for our onward move. So after a three days' halt at Parak a sufficient number of animals were collected