Thursday, March 25, 2021

What to Expect When Cruising the Suez Canal

To me one of the huge benefits to traveling is that when something happens somewhere in the world you have a frame a reference. You can picture in your mind where it is. The sights and sounds (and sometimes even the smells) come back to you. They put you back into the very spot when you were there. Especially now, in a pandemic, it makes you realize how lucky you were to have had the experiences.

As I've been watching and reading about the cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal, I can say I was there. I know where it's at. I know that sand. I know why it's causing such a great disruption to shipping traffic. 

So for those who wish they could have experienced cruising the Suez Canal, today I'm resharing our November 2019 cruise through the Suez Canal

If you want to know about the day before your ship enters the canal, including the staging area, you can find that post here. 

Want to know about having to participate in a pirate drill that same week? I have that post here. 

Now, welcome to the Suez Canal from my blog post November 16, 2019:

Hello from the Suez Canal! Did you know the Suez Canal divides the continents of Africa and Asia?

As we are going southbound, Africa is on your right and Asia is on your left.
Ever see sunrise over the small strip of Egypt
on the continent of Asia? Now you have.
We were in a convoy of 22 ships using the older canal. Now they also have a newer canal so more ships can move through each day. We were number four, with three ships ahead of us...

and the remainder of the ships behind. There were three cruise ships transiting today.

Upon entering the Suez Canal we immediately noticed differences in the landscapes from one bank to the other. The landscape of Egypt on the African continent was green and developed while the Sinai Peninsula section of Egypt on the Asian continent side was brown and somewhat deserted looking. 

Some views of the Africa side:

Compare that to the Sinai Peninsula side:

While it looks as if the ship is docked along the sand,
it is actually transiting the western canal.
There is a bridge across the Suez Canal. The Mubarak Peace Bridge, also known as the Egyptian-Japanese Friendship Bridge or Al Salam Peace Bridge links the two continents. It is closed to traffic while convoys are making their way underneath.
It appeared the most popular way to get across the canal was by ferry. The ferries darted between the ships in the convoy. They also have floating pontoon bridges that swing out and across once the convoy passes. Because convoys disrupt traffic, they also have a tunnel under the Canal with plans to build more.

Today was a day of so very much to see. I went back and forth from port side to starboard side and found there was always something to take a picture of. While I could have taken hundreds of pictures I tried to limit them and have a just a few of them to show you.

Some sights from the Sinai Peninsula side:
Some from the African side:
 Fisherman were all throughout the waters. Some came quite close to the ship.

It felt like a day of discovery with so much to see, so many new learnings, and surprisingly a strong cell phone signal all day. (Thank goodness or you'd have no visuals of the day!) 

We did have two medical emergencies onboard today, with one passenger needing an emergency disembarkation. Our night time route is being altered a bit so he/she can be transferred to an onshore medical facility around 2:30 in the morning. Thoughts are with the passenger and family.

Tomorrow we have a sea day and I do believe I might just sleep in.