Tuesday 14th May 2019
Day 18 Aqaba Jordan to Suez
Up late today after our exertions yesterday, late breakfast then we listened to a lecture about our next to last port, Split in Croatia, lunch then a relaxing afternoon reading, another Italian lesson then a very energetic song and dance show, dinner then bed.
Wednesday 15th May 2019
Day 19 Suez Canal Transit and into the Mediterranean
Today we were up at around 7:30am for an early breakfast as we had already commenced our transit of the Suez Canal from south to north. As we sat in the dining room the sandy sides of the canal passed us by. The weather was perfectly fine with no wind. After breakfast we went out onto deck 7 to check our progress. Then we went up to the top deck, there is no access to see from the front but we stood at the back of the ship for about an hour watching the convoy behind us. We had been told the order of the convoy would be military ships first, then passenger ships, then freighters. However, only one ship was ahead of us and it was a car transporter, and there were at least 4 ships that we could see behind us but we could never see the end of the convoy. Eventually Lynn was very thirsty in the hot sun and suggested going down to the deck below where food and drink was available. We quickly had a glass of water and then decided to sit in the buffet area where it was cool and had a great view too. There were pilot boats and little fishing boats, ferries and clear water all round as we proceeded at about 10-12 knots in the canal. On one side the left, was Egypt and on the other side, near the banks was Egypt and further away, Israel, with the whole of the Sinai Desert they won in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 shimmering in the distance. Apparently, the UN gave the banks of the canal back to Egypt to administer in more recent years. There was a point in the middle where there is a place called the Great Bitter Lake (which used to be a dry salt valley pre Suez Canal days) where the canal widens out and ships are able to pass in convoy. It is quite a sight to see all the ships plying the canal and all the towns along its banks. At one point there is a huge city under construction which we have been told will shortly become a technology city. There is a very high bridge across the canal that was built by the Japanese Government and completed in 2001 - no traffic uses it now. There are a number of ferries from one side of the canal to the other, both passenger and vehicle. We sat at the window all day, enjoyed our lunch there too, until we finally reached the end of the canal after Port Said and exited into the Mediterranean Sea. There are no cliffs here, just sand down to the water and then sea. Followed up with our final Italian lesson, then back to the cabin for an aperitif. The Show was the South African couple singing African songs, dinner followed then bed. A very exciting day, Suez lived up to expectations.