Day 90–Tues., Apr. 5, 2011–Suez Canal Transit

     I heard the anchor being raised, got up and went outside for pictures.  I was out there a short while and ran out of room on myIMG_0699 SD card and had to go back to the room for a new one – in the dark.  Ray was still sleeping.   This is the entrance to the Suez Canal from the southern end, going north.  I took it about 6:15 am.  All vessels must wait at the entrance until a convoy is arranged.  Traffic in the canal is one-way, so ships traveling northward sometimes must wait until the traffic is cleared in the opposite direction (and  vice-versa).  There could be 2 southbound and 1 northbound in a day.  Ships may pass at Great Bitter Lake and near El-Ballah.  It is so different from the Panama Canal.   IMG_0759One side is the Sinai Peninsula and looks like dessert with guard shacks all along the way.   This picture shows a bigger “post”.  Check out the wash hanging between the tents.  Every once in a while there would be a ferry spot and a monument. IMG_0749 IMG_0765 

On the western side, there was housing and green lands irrigated from the Nile.  It had to be rough for the soldiers to look across the canal and see all that green.

IMG_0783

There was a suspension bridge and a swing bridge as well as the ferry spots to cross the canal.  Pleasure boats are not allowed to use the canal.  Suez Bridge PanoIMG_0815  I was very disappointed when we came to the end and the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea.  There were no signs or markings that you could see.  The picture at the right is the view from the bow, just before we left the canal at about 4:15 pm, just a little over 10 hours.  The average cost to transit is $205,600.  It is 101.06 miles long, and it saves 7, 350 miles of sailing around Africa.  There are no locks and it took 11 years to build and opened Nov. 17, 1896.

     It was like a day at sea with lots of activities plus running to the bow or aft or port or starboard for pictures.  After dinner our show was incredible music from the hammer dulcimer master Pingxin Xu.  He was very good, but I left half-way through.  It was a long day.

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.”   -Jean Houston-

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