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Published: April 9th 2019
we left haifa, israel yesterday evening and today we are cruising the mediterranean sea on our way to cadiz, spain. i am writing this blog from my cabin and the sea is quite choppy so hopefully i will get through it before feeling the effects of the white caps. we will be 4 days at sea now arriving in cadiz on the 13th.
thank you to my arcadia friend vera from vancouver! i knew i could rely on her expertise to know what type of birds they were in my last blog. they are called northern gannets. a very stream lined bird that use their power to plunge dive for fish. i did see a few diving into the sea.
after leaving muscat, oman we were 5 days at sea before reaching port suez, the start of the suez canal
. we had traveled north along the red sea with egypt to our west and saudi arabia to our east. we arrived at port suez on the evening of the 5th and had to spend the night anchored so we could join an escorted convoy of ships and tankers early the next morning to take us through the canal safely.
the entire suez canal transit was to take 10 hours. the next morning we set off around 5 am. there were 7 of us in the convoy, the arcadia being number 5 with another cruise ship following us and a container ship keeping up the rear.
unlike the panama canal there are no lock systems in the suez canal. it was frenchman ferdinand de lesseps
who in 1833 revived the idea of a shorter trade route to india via the suez canal. in 1859 the french started work on the project. like the panama canal project the workers were subjected to terrible conditions with heat, sand, flies and threat of disease. 25,000 men worked 3 month shifts in order to cut the 100 mile channel and it took the 10 years to complete, opening on november 17th 1869. before the suez canal was built the trade route from bombay to england traveling around the southern tip of africa would have been a distance of 19,800 km. now it is only 11,600 km.
facts and figures:
- final construction cost was approx. $100 million US dollars.
- the original length of the canal was 102 miles with
an average depth of 26 feet. after several enlargements the canal is now 120 miles long, 673 feet in width and 79 feet in depth.
- revenue generated from shipping through the suez canal last reported in 2016 was $4 billion US dollars.
- the canal currently transports over 4 million barrels of crude oil daily which is equivalent to almost 5%!o(MISSING)f the global output of oil.
because my balcony has a solid metal white railing, not the best for viewing the canal transit, my friend tony invited me up to his cabin to watch from his balcony. his cabin is 1 deck higher as well with a glass railing on his balcony. the canal wasn't as interesting or as scenic as the panama canal. it is much wider with mostly large piles of sand along the banks. a stone wall has been built all along it for security with armed guards manning towers scattered along the way. after we passed under the al quantarah bridge
at noon, also known as the peace bridge, we popped open a bottle of champagne. at around 3:30 pm we entered the mediterranean sea on our way to haifa, israel.
there was talk on the ship about some recent gunfire in israel and we wouldn't be going there now. but when hasn't there been gunfire in israel?! i was booked on a tour to nazareth on our second day in haifa, so on the first day i just enjoyed having the ship all to myself. i have no desire to see jerusalem or bethlehem. haifa was quite a scenic port but quite noisy with lots of police sirens screaming all day. and the security getting in and out of the ship's terminal was very strict. i forgot to mention in a few blogs back that when we were in hong kong we had to walk past a special scanning machine that took our body temperature, and if you had a fever you were not allowed into hong kong.
the drive to nazareth took about 40 minutes. it is believed nazareth is the boyhood home of jesus. lots of olive trees on the side of the road and lavender bushes along the way. it is their spring there now and the next day they were voting in their election. there are over 20 parties represented in israel. haifa has
changed hands so many times in it's troubled history, i don't have the energy to get into it all. once in nazareth we got off the bus and went on a 3 hour walking tour. we visited a greek orthodox church, and the church of the annunciation
which is the largest church in the middle east and is constructed over the site where it is believed mary received her first visitation from the archangel gabriel, and then some other church. all of this biblical history doesn't interest me much. i believe in charles darwin, not in adam and eve. i was writing in my journal the other day ABC
, and someone asked me what does that mean? i replied Another Bloody Church.
sorry, i stole that one from the comedian. we finished the tour with a walk through the old market and a tasty falaffal which was the highlight for me. i don't need to see israel again.
some of you have been asking me why there aren't more photos of myself? i don't like asking people to take my photo when they are all so busy trying to take their own photos. my passport is filling up nicely
with lots of colourful stamps from all of the countries i have visited. and we have 2 sets of twins traveling with us now. 1 male set and 1 female set. the female set are in their 60's and dress exactly the same from head to toe to jewelry to shoes. mike said he even saw them reading the same book and drinking the same drink. oh well, live and let live.
i will be posting my final cruise blog just before we reach southampton. thank you for the comments and i am glad you are all enjoying reading it!
cruisin susan 😊
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