Suez Canal, Egypt 2008

Suez Canal Travel Blog

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Some of our crew buying souviners from "Chalie Brown" on board our ship.

I was working on an old steam ship, a tramp steamer, in 2008. We passed thru the Suez Canal 3 times in 2008 shipping food for the UN to the Middle East and Africa. We loaded the bags of grain and large cans of cooking oil in Lake Charles, Louisiana and sailed through the Gulf of Mexico around Florida then across the Atlantic into the Mediterranean Sea. We traveled eastwards in the Med to amost the east end then south into the Suez Canal. We first had to anchor in Port Sa'id and wait for our reserved time. Once our ship's reserved time arrived we entered the canal in a long convoy. We traveled at a slow speed, about 8 miles per hour, and it took about 20 hours to pass through with stopping a couple of times in the big lake near the middle.

A container ship, Port Sa'id
The weather was hot and it was very hazy so my photos are not good but I am not sure if there is ever a clear weather time for good photography in this area. During most of the transit through the canal we had a Egyptian man nicknamed "Charlie Brown" who was allowed to come on board and sell souviners. "Charlie Brown" has a US security clearance and is allowed to board any US flagged ship to sell souviners provided it is approved by the ship's captain.

The present day canal was started in 1859 and completed in 1869 and has operated continuously since with a few years exception during the Egypt-Israel wars. Anyone who is interested in the history of the canal can get a quick thumbnail sketch of it's history on Wikipedia. It seems the present day canal was dug over ancient canal work and there is some evidence that not only was this canal begun hundreds of years ago but also a canal to connect the Red Sea to the Nile river existed or was started.

Some pontoon bridge sections ready for war time.

The big advantage of this canal is the time and fuel saved when shipping cargo from Europe and points west to the Middle and Far East. This canal prevents ships from having to go around the southern tip of Africa, a much longer journey. Todays ships use an unimaginable amount of fuel. For eample our ship had used more fuel than budgeted because we had to dodge Hurrican Gustov in the Gulf of Mexico and another hurricane, I forgot the name, headed for the east coast of the US a week later. So we stopped in Gabraltar and took on just enough fuel to reach Mozambique and the cost was a little over $600,000.00 - no good mpg here!

The Suez Canal is just a huge ditch dug in the desert. It is flat with no locks and is one lane with the exception of a huge lake near the middle.

More bridge pontoons
It is mostly straight with only a few slight curves and one area similar to a Y intersection. I am not sure where the other leg goes.

For me this trip was very educational and enjoyable. Visiting historical sites is one of my passions and this certainly is an ancient site with a colorful recent history. I would recommend this trip to anyone interested in historical sites.

Look at the map that is on the same page with this journal. By clicking several times on the minus button, you can get an overall view of the Suez Canal.

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Some of our crew buying souviners …
Some of our crew buying souviners…
A container ship, Port Said
A container ship, Port Sa'id
Some pontoon bridge sections ready…
Some pontoon bridge sections read…
More bridge pontoons
More bridge pontoons
A view of the convoy to aft of our…
A view of the convoy to aft of ou…
Aft view
Aft view
Military fortifications
Military fortifications
Some wreckage from the Egypt-Israe…
Some wreckage from the Egypt-Isra…
Military camps on the Sinai side
Military camps on the Sinai side
View to Sinai side
View to Sinai side
View of the convoy forward
View of the convoy forward
Military fortifications
Military fortifications
Forward view
Forward view
View to Sinai
View to Sinai
Hot and dirty!
Hot and dirty!
Off time above the bridge
Off time above the bridge
Off time
Off time
View forward
View forward
A small patrol station
A small patrol station
View east
View east
More farm land on the west side. T…
More farm land on the west side. …
More farm land on the west side
More farm land on the west side
Power transmission lines
Power transmission lines
More farm land on the west side
More farm land on the west side
Me in my engine room uniform
Me in my engine room uniform
Our shipmate Robbie Wills. Tragica…
Our shipmate Robbie Wills. Tragic…
 Exit the off ramp to the right …
" Exit the off ramp to the right"…
Convoy
Convoy
Convoy
Convoy
The Suez Canal Bridge, also called…
The Suez Canal Bridge, also calle…
The Suez Canal Bridge, also called…
The Suez Canal Bridge, also calle…
The Suez Canal Bridge, also called…
The Suez Canal Bridge, also calle…
View to the east side showing the …
View to the east side showing the…
Overall view of the bridge
Overall view of the bridge
View to the east
View to the east
Ferry for heavy trucks
Ferry for heavy trucks
Ferry for heavy trucks
Ferry for heavy trucks
Ferry for heavy trucks
Ferry for heavy trucks
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
Bridge pontoons ready for war
High voltage power transmission li…
High voltage power transmission l…
View to the east
View to the east
View to the East
View to the East
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Dredging operation
Our deck crews had to clean out al…
Our deck crews had to clean out a…
Our deck crews had to clean out al…
Our deck crews had to clean out a…
Our deck crews had to clean out al…
Our deck crews had to clean out a…
Egyptian navy patrol boat
Egyptian navy patrol boat
RO / RO car hauler ship. Stands fo…
RO / RO car hauler ship. Stands f…
One of our apprentices
One of our apprentices
Container ship
Container ship
Container ship
Container ship
Cellphone tower. I called my daugh…
Cellphone tower. I called my daug…
This is a cat painted on genuine p…
This is a cat painted on genuine …
These souviners were purchased fro…
These souviners were purchased fr…
These are painted on imitation pap…
These are painted on imitation pa…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
Ladies swim suit coverup
Ladies swim suit coverup
Stuffed animal from Jordan. My dau…
Stuffed animal from Jordan. My da…
Two loving camals :)
Two loving camals :)
Cat statue carved from what Charli…
Cat statue carved from what Charl…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
More souviners purchased from Cha…
More souviners purchased from "Ch…
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Suez Canal
photo by: bensonryan