Khidr stepped out onto the deck, tied his camels to ropes with harnesses and ensured they were well restrained to avoid injury. He soothed them with grain, as sahibs on the bridge relinquished control to the port authority. A pageant of tug boats towed the ship cautiously and at low speed, leading to the edge of the terrain, over the rocky inshore reef, into the natural harbour that spread out with its many limbs. He rubbed Abu Jahl’s light-brown coat as he watched, as forward-spring and headlines were made fast, and stern lines were attached to pull the ship in to berth.
Khidr observed helplessly as a man with a crane prepared to lift the camels off the ship and place them on the ground. Khidr decided to stay with the camels as they were off-loaded. His task was to ensure Qaswaa, Adbaa, Abu Jahl, Batool, Laila and Benazir were unloaded safely. The six camels, although normally well tempered and manageable, could be dangerous and hazardous to others if not properly handled. They were tall, heavy oonts and getting them off the ship had to be done right. So much rested on the camels, Khidr thought.
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