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Published: June 22nd 2014
Been at sea for a number of days now with not much too report, except we are looking forward to entering the Suez Canal in the early hours of this morning, when we will pick up our anchor and proceed with the pilot on board through the Canal.
The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in 1869 after 10 years of construction, it allows ships to travel between Europe and Eastern Asia without navigating around Africa.
The Northwestern terminus is Port Said, the Southwestern terminus is Port Tawiq at the city of Suez. It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km and the southern access channel of 9 km. The canal itself is 162.25 km long, is single lane with passing places in the Ballah by-pass and the Great Bitter Lake.
It contains no locks, seawater flows freely through it.
In general the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in the winter and south in the summer, the current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez. 17,225 vessels traversed the canal in 2012 and the average cost for
a vessel to transit is $250,000.00. In the afternoon after departing from the Suez Canal, we will continue on a North Westerly course across the Mediterranean Sea, towards our first European port Mykonos.
We were up early this morning to secure a good vantage point for the entry into the canal, up forward were naturally the best spots and they were extremely crowded. The contrast between the east and west bank’s was unbelievable. Sand, sand and more sand on the east bank and greenery, and palm trees on the west bank. We noticed a lot of armed soldiers placed in strategic positions on both banks, but they were very friendly waving and whistling, and occasionally yelling out welcoming us to Egypt.
We also passed on the east bank the Suez War Memorial, which comprises of two Israeli tanks and a monument left as a tribute after the six day war in 1967.
At approximately 1:00 p.m. we passed the El Ferdan railway bridge which is the longest swing span railway bridge in the world, a wonderful piece of engineering.
There were plenty of ferry crossings along the way but the vehicular traffic would have had quite
a wait, as we were number two ship in a convoy of twenty nine, and there were nineteen ships waiting at the Great Bitter Lake to traverse in the other direction.
There were plenty of fishing boats in the canal not being bothered by the number of ships passing within a stone’s throw, and we even saw a pod of dolphins heading south.
At one stage we were buzzed by a helicopter which flew around the ship a number of times, our guess was that the crew were bird watching as some of the younger female crew members on board the Dawn Princess were sunbaking in the crew only swimming pool area of the ship.
All in all it was a great experience, and one we thoroughly enjoyed we have some great photos and videos to remember the occasion by.
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