The Suez Canal

 

We had travelled up from Ras Mohammed yesterday in familiar waters from our diving trips out here. Made me want very much to come back here again and explore underwater. I do miss it. Last night we went to a cocktail party in the cabin of our tablemates Don and Joan. Really nice occasion.

By very late last night we were anchored up in the approaches to the Suez Canal ready to start its transit in the early morning. Engines started at 0430 and by the time we woke up and went upstairs at 830, we were approaching the little Bitter Lake, one of the two lakes in the canal to allow for the convoys to pass. Ships travel north or south in convoys. There were about 20 ships in our convoy and we were behind the Costa Victoria and we had another cruise ship behind us and then some tankers. We were travelling at about 10 knots, so plenty of time to observe life around the canal.

The Suez Canal is unlike Panama in that it is wider and has no locks. Its just a flat canal built linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. It is one large ship wide but room on either side so you see small fishing boats and other small craft along the way. The desert comes right up to the water although there are areas of green where the land has been irrigated. Really quite scenic. The canal itself is extremely blue and clear, very inviting. It looks very tempting to get in and swim!! It must be pretty clean, judging by the amount of fishing that was going on from the local communities. The Panama Canal is a great feat of engineering and very stunning in its way, but really the excitement there is the mechanism of travelling through the locks along the very, very narrow channel. Not to say there isn’t great scenery on the way, but in my opinion, the Suez Canal is more scenic. But then, I like the desert…..

We had a commentary throughout the day talking about the history of the Canal, how it came to be built, events around it and what we could see on either side. Most interesting.

We spent the morning at art of course, with the canal passing by outside the large windows of the dining room where we were based. I had another go at scenes of Petra today and thanks to some advice and help from Viv was very much more pleased with the results. I did one pen and wash painting and a note card for the sale. We were very touched that Viv and Geoff have invited us to join them to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary on Friday night at a little cocktail party. Bob is working on a notecard and also a painting of Petra. It is quite challenging to get the rocks looking anything like…..

Had lunch at midday and then went and pegged out on the rear terrace pool deck. Watched the canal pass by. I walked around the promenade deck and took some photos including some from right at the bow. The blue water and the contrast with the brilliant sand of the desert made it very photo worthy. It was very sunny and warm today.

We were through the canal zone by 430. We bypassed Port Said in the bypass lane so could just see it in the distance. And now we’re back to the Med!!! Tomorrow, bizarrely we are in Cyprus all day, in Limassol. There are all sorts of tours and we toyed with the idea of renting a car and driving up to the house but then we thought that we’d probably see jobs that needed doing!! And we are in Cyprus from May 14th anyway. So, we are staying in Limassol and exploring around the old town and having a relaxing day. Hopefully we will find some free wifi ashore too.

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