Suez Canal Day 2

St Barbara's Web Diary
Peter & Sue Goldsmith
Sat 26 Apr 2008 10:43
30:12N 32:33E

12.00 26th April

We departed Suez Yacht Club at 10.00 in company with Albert II, Medusa,
Stevaben II, Djarkka and Que Sera. We were first away but were caught 2
hours later by Stevaben, although the others are slipping behind us. All the
pilots do their best to persuade us to go faster. It is a battle of wills
but he is a good guy and we manage to keep the engine at a reasonable speed,
averaging around 6 knots. By noon all the northbound ships have overtaken us
and we have a gap before the southbound convoy comes towards us. We hope to
be in Ismailia by 6pm tonight ad then stay for a day or so before tackling
the second half of the canal.

Well, the day has finally come for our transit. Yesterday we spent a few
hours cleaning, washing and generally tidying up, then the evening making
pizza and watching Casino Royale - boy, do we know how to live! A very good
night's sleep then the news we were waiting for - there are no coalition
warships, it isn't a public holiday, there are no more excuses, the pilot is
coming and we set off through the canal. Fond farewells from all of the
devoted yacht club staff, requests for cigarettes, sandals, shirts, shorts,
ok just money then, and we are on our way. Our pilot is a youngish man, very
friendly and pleasant. He is trying to explain some of the things we are
passing. As well as being a shipping canal this is also a militarised zone
with sentry posts within sight of each other. There are pontoon bridges on
the west bank ready to be put across and the occasional more established
garrison base. The canal is about 400 metres wide and it is interesting to
think that the east bank was occupied by the Israelis during the
Arab/Israeli war. Thankfully today the soldiers are just training us in the
binocular sights, waving and whistling as we pass by.

Ships are good fun. The first one, hard on our heels after we entered the
canal was a very large container ship which overtook us to starboard within
about 50 metres, good fun as the wash came through! After that the ships
have been a more normal sized and all plain sailing. Its about forty five
up to our port for the night at Ismailia and we are making good progress.
Its a lovely day, the sun is shining and hot and we're watching the world go
by. Looking forward to visiting another new place, particularly as this will
be our last stop in Egypt before we slip into the artic wastes of the Med -
well maybe it won't be that bad compared to home.