A Travellerspoint blog


Transit of the Suez Canal

Saturday, 8 October 2016

View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Got up just before 04:00 as the ship was approaching the entrance to the Canal. It was almost total darkness except for the running lights of other ships at anchor and the shore of Port Said. We crept along the buoyed path to the mouth of the Canal. Our speed is well down to the low teens and we have two tugs for escorts.

As the sky brightened we could make out the cargo vessel behind us. I was surprised at the distance between us. One possible reason being to provide time for cross canal ferries to get across. Most of the infrastructure and agriculture is on the West Bank of the Canal. Just before 06:00 we were treated to a lovely sunrise and more detail became visible.

The Canal is much wider than I had expected but this early Northern section is still only for one-way traffic. At about 06:45 we passed under the Suez Bridge. A peculiarity of this bridge is that it is closed to road traffic while ships pass underneath. Security !! Seems that all access to the Canal is controlled by the Military with guard posts at regular intervals on both sides. On the Western Bank there are large numbers of floating bridge segments and lots of individual pontoons.

Our cabin is certainly in the best position to view the more populated Western Bank. There are occasions when I'm forced to find my way up yo Deck 16 in order to capture some item of significance on the Port Side of the ship. One of these significant items being a section where the Canal has been duplicated thereby allowing Northbound vessels to proceed while we continue our Southward trip. it isn't possible to see this new lane as the spoil from the digging has been piled up between the two.

It is just 10:20 and I notice that we're in a large basin of water. There's not sufficient detail on the available map to work out the name. My guess is that it may be the Great Bitter Lake its Southern end marks the start of the one-way traffic of the Southern section of the Canal. By 1430 we had exited the Canal and entered the Red Sea.

We have a full sea day tomorrow as we head for Aqaba in Jordan where we will be going on a Shore Excursion to the Wadi Rum.
Many images of the Canal, most of them fuzzy due to a persistent haze or smog.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:01 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Still Heading for Suez

Friday, 7 October 2016

A quick dash to the open deck for the 06:03 sunrise - I forgot to reset the alarm which remained at 06:00. Managed to snap off a few dozen shots of a brilliant red sun amongst some scattered clouds. Still haven't mastered the focus but they are less blurred than yesterday's.

Back down to the cabin to shower and dress for the day. My usual breakfast of mainly fruits which has drawn the attention of one of the waitresses, she's taken to suggesting I need protein as well. Read the Kindle for a while and made my way to the theatre.

A full house for this morning's lecture by Evon Anderson. Her topic today was the two Canals commencing with the Suez Canal, it's history, plans for the future and mode of operation. She also estimated that it costs the ship around $500,000 to transit the Canal. The drop in the price of oil has had an impact on the number of ships transiting the canal, for some ships the added cost of time and fuel are less than the transit fees. She then provided a similar coverage of the Panama Canal pointing out that there have been some issues with the newly expanded locks. The expected volume of traffic has not materialised. She is also doubtful of the Nicaragua proposal being built in the present economic climate, the principal Chinese backer having recently lost 80% of his wealth.

The noon announcement from the bridge provided some information regarding tomorrow's transit of the canal. The schedule is still uncertain and as this is the inaugural transit for this ship she is to be subjected to a full fitness audit. The Captain is confidant that there will be no technical issues

After lunch I returned to the theatre to watch the movie "A Hologram for the King" with Tom Hanks and Alexander Black. A lighthearted look at the trials and tribulations that beset an American sales executive trying to do business in Saudi Arabia. There were a number of very funny lines but not a show I'd pay to see.

There are rumours about that our Internet Accounts may have been erroneously deducted hundreds of minutes. After 15 minutes of attempts I couldn't gain a connection to the local server to find out. This is well on the way to being the worst Internet Service of any cruise. The only thing that stops me from getting really mad is that I'm not having to pay for it and after all, we are all in the same boat.

Went down to dinner and enjoyed our meals, Jenny went for pork rather than lamb. She was much happier with her selection. Went off to the theatre for a movie rather than a show. The film titled 'Café Society', a strange film about Hollywood in the bad old days of all powerful agents and producers. Jenny lasted all of 10 minutes I left about 5 minutes later.

We've arrived at the assembly area in preparation for tomorrow's transit of the Canal.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:59 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Bound for Suez

Thursday, 6 October 2016

This morning we are heading South East across a calm Mediterranean towards the coast of Egypt. The sun became visible precisely at the time predicted. With no obstructions there should have been a perfect shot of the sunrise. The lack of any other features must have fooled the auto-focus and I haven't previously played with the manual focus.

After breakfast and with little to do today I planned to study the camera's manual. Imagine my surprise when I found manuals for just about every camera I have recently owned but can't find the one for the DMC FZ300. Will fill in some time experimenting with the camera controls and the various configuration options.

Attended the destination lecture where Lyndon Jolley provided some interesting information on the two significant attractions on our call to Aqaba in Jordan. The marvels of Petra were offset by the significant walking distances. We've booked the less strenuous tour of the Wadi Rum.

Just before lunch, Evon Anderson presented a detailed description of the plot to have the future Queen Elizabeth marry the Greek Prince Philip. From the many intrigues and machinations before the wedding to his many infidelities and misbehaviour afterwards.

Spent time with the Kindle after lunch and wrote most of this entry. Pulled the tuxedo out of the wardrobe and got dressed up for formal night. A lovely dinner for me but Jenny lucked out with her roast lamb which contained a large portion of gristle.

Decided to give the Production Show a chance, it turned out better than expected with an outstanding female vocalist who performed a credible impression of Cher. Stopped in at the International Cafe for a hot water and a Tiramisu. By time we'd finished the crowds had dispersed.

We are scheduled to arrive at Port Said at about 19:00 for an expected 04:00 start of our transit of the Canal.

I can't guarantee a specific image to point to, if you want to see the latest, view my project by following this link to the main album.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:56 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

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