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Crossing from Suakin/Sudan to Egypt, April 24th - 27th 2008 (by Dagmar)
Soleil left the harbor of Suakin as new "crew member" on board "Ohana Kai" and stayed overnight. So this was Bart and my first sailing night without junior captain Soleil. Felt a little weird without her. And off they sailed towards Egypt.
Jazirat Bayer Reef, Sudan, on our way to Egypt, April 25th 2008 (by Dagmar)
We anchored in the lagoon, just for some hours, a stop over to snorkel and swim along the reef.
The local fishermen passed by. We gave them some cookies, cigarettes and coca cola. They were very excited about it, offering us fish, they had just caught. They anchored close to the reef, ready for a nap after a whole night of fishing.
The kids paddled with our surfboard and were building a hut on LUNA's foredeck.
When we left the anchorage, Soleil sailed off as new crew member on "de Pelikaan", with sleep over and pick-up on sea the following day.
The following day the sea was quite calm, so she just jumped off board "de Pelikaan", caught the line hanging of the back of LUNA, pulled herself in and came climbing up the ladder with a big smile, as if that was nothing. There she was. For all of us it was pretty exciting, because both boats were still under sail, sailing with 3 knots. She is amazing, no fear at all.
During this trip we had a lot of dolphins surfing the bow wave of LUNA. Even, if we had already uncountable dolphin sightings, since we left Holland to cruise the world, it is always an unforgettable event.
Ras Baniyas, Egypt, April 27th - May 4th 2008 (by Dagmar)
That was our first impression of Egypt: lots of wind against us, 30-35 knots, desert, dry wind bringing lots of red sand on board LUNA, mountains in the haze of the desert winds, a peninsula with just one military outpost and a mosque.
This is the lagoon of Ras Baniyas, where on the morning of April 27th we took shelter with 4 boats from the very strong prevailing northerly winds. Already 4 other boats were in the anchorage. Just out of the same reason they came in an hour ahead of us. The weather forecast predicted this strong winds and rising up to 40 knots in the peak until the following Sunday. So we would make the best out of it. We had to go north to reach either Port Ghalib or Hurghada to check into Egypt, but with winds on the nose, just hacking into the short waves, with only little progress, is not a seaman's dream, to put it mildly.
The two guys in charge of this outpost were very friendly, but they didn't speak any English. Normally you are allowed to stay overnight, and as you are not checked in yet, have to leave the following day. But they didn't mind, and we were glad to stay, while the winds were that strong.
The kids could hang out on the beach to play, building sand castles, fly a kite, swim in the shallow water.
Lisa, Iris and myself could walk along the shores, collect some shells, take some pictures..... There were just some bird- and crab marks in the sand, apart from that, the beach seemed untouched. The bright yellow and long legged Egyptian crabs were building pyramids in the sand by shuffling sand out of the crab holes on the shore.
Interesting fish skeletons we found close to the waterline, as well as a "kite surfer who didn't make it". No, I am just joking. We found the skeleton of a camel. Camel herds are often coming here to this deserted area, as one of the military guards was explaining, using hands and feet, as he couldn't speak English. Maybe this were the remains of the only transportation the guys of the outpost had in the past, the camel.
The bones were all completely white bleached thru the sun, partly covered with sand. Jaw bones as well as teeth were enormous. The kids each collected a tooth, Soleil even a vertebra plate, which looked like a dog on four feet.
Bart, Vincent and Bruce could launch their kites from the beach or go windsurfing, as I did as well, when the wind dropped a little. I had so much fun. It was so long ago that I went windsurfing.
Fishermen came regularly to the shore, just curious what we were doing there.
We had a little visitor on board: a barn swallow, so tired and exhausted from all the wind. Soleil fed him tiny pieces of bread and some water. But sadly he didn't make it and died some hours later. Soleil and Roxy made a colorful coffin out of a cereal box and they set him to sea.
What a great place for us, just to wait until the wind would drop, so we could continue north.
In the afternoon of May 3rd finally the wind dropped and the kids could have some windsurfing fun as well. Bart gave lessons to all the kids. Soleil, Roxy and River had done it before. Soleil even since she was 4 years old. For Tristan and Matthew it was the first time. Look, how great they all did and they had so much fun...to be continued in the next anchorage.
Egyptian sunset over the desert mountains.
Dolphin Reef (Sataya), May 4th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On May 4th, in the early morning we left Ras Baniyas towards Port Ghalib. But we were not the early birds to leave the anchorage. "Moorea" left already at 3am. When we talked around noon to them by VHF, they told us that they anchored at Dolphin Reef and had outstanding snorkeling and swimming with a pack of dolphins. So we joined them. The anchorage was in a lagoon surrounded by reef. We had to watch out for the coral heads.
It was an amazing experience. There were more then 30 dolphins swimming around us.
We glide into the water, not to scare them off. Right away you could see them under the surface. Bart could make amazing pictures. They came so close; curious to see us. Swirling around us. You could touch some of them, feeling their scares. Look at Soleil swimming in the middle of them, myself so close, too.
I couldn't believe it. That was the closest dolphin encounter we ever had. I always dreamed of swimming with dolphins. These animals are so pristine and graceful. It was a marvelous experience to swim with them in their own habitat, not having the feeling to disturb them. They were as curious about us, as we were about them. They let us swim with them for almost an hour.
We left the reef right before sunset towards Port Ghalib.
Port Ghalib, Egypt, May 5th - 7th 2008 (by Dagmar)
Port Ghalib, a harbor still under construction. In the future they will provide berths for more then a 1.000 yachts. Entering Egypt from the south, this is the first port of entry and way cheaper to clear into the country then in Hurghada. The marina staff was very friendly, working quick to get our papers ready, so we could leave the customs dock after 3 hours to change to a channel dock in front of one of the hotels.
Behind the marina the Egyptian desert stretches until the Nile river banks.
The first evening we enjoy a buffet dinner with all our yacht friends in the hotel. We were not used anymore to such a variety of food. And the dessert buffet......... was amazing!!!!!!!!
The following day we walked to the supermarket on the other hill side; past construction sites, new planted palm trees, large stretches of sand covered areas. On the way having coffee at Costas with carrot cake and chocolate muffins.
The whole marina, hotel and mall area was very well decorated Egyptian style, ready to open in a week.
In the souks of Aden we had seen already water pipes. Here we tried it. It's not for Bart, not for me. I think you have to be a smoker, to enjoy the after-taste in your mouth; it's kind of different spices, like apple and nutmeg mixed with tobacco.
The kids enjoyed the hotel pool. We could finally rinse of all the desert sand, covering our deck and windows since Ras Baniyas. Bart had time to clean our hull from all the barnacles.
The evening before we left, the hotel manager invited us to see belly dancing and a dance show at the bar area.
Before sunset we left Port Ghalib for Hurghada, further north in the Red Sea.
Hurghada, Egypt, May 9th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On May 9th around noon we arrived in the anchorage of the city. We had anchored overnight in the bay of Marsa Abu Makhadiq, 10sm south of Hurghada. The trip from there was really rough. The first time that we experienced the rough conditions of the Red Sea; strong winds from the north, 30-35 knots, in gusts until 40 knots, but luckily no high seas. So far, until the last anchorage, we had an excellent passage up here.
We went to shore, but had some difficulties with security guards from the hotels. They didn't want us to leave our dinghies there, because they said the beach here was private. But we were not ready to give up and finally found a dock where some locals allowed us to tie our rubber boats.
Strolling through this part of Hurghada we found the big "M". The kids and all the adults were ready for some Big Mac's for lunch. Later we did some grocery shopping and went back to the boats.
The following day we entered Hurghada Marina; a very new marina, which will be officially open in 4 weeks. We got diesel and fresh water on the dock, had wireless internet on board. We could rinse the Red Sea sand off our yachts, did some laundry. It was very hot outside, the air dry as a blow dryer. Perfect for laundry; ready to be stored away in the closet in an hour. In the evening we enjoyed Thai food in one of the marina restaurants. It was a farewell dinner for our friends Kelly G. and Kelly B. from "Moorea". They would be leaving in 2 days for the Sinai peninsula and staying in Egypt for another 3 weeks. For us it was very sad to leave them behind, but we are sure, we will see them again
The next day we met Kiki, our friend, who lives in Egypt with her husband Ibi and 3 boys. They are owners of several Kite- and Windsurfing centers here in the Red Sea area under their label "Ibi & friends". ( check out their website: www.ibiandfriends.com) They started around the same time as we did in El Yaque, Venezuela, here in Egypt to run windsurfing centers as a co-partner of a German travel agency. We haven't seen each other for more then 10 years. Her husband Ibi was busy traveling to all their centers in Egypt, so we didn't meet him, but Kiki showed us around in Hurghada, having dinner with us at "Felfela" in the evening. We ate a great variety of Egyptian appetizers. Soleil was very fond of her 3 boys: Noah 7 years, Junis, 9 years and Samir 12 years.
The next two days we wanted to go to Luxor. Kiki could organize a minibus with a driver and a guide for us. They would pick us up the following morning at 6 am at the marina gate.
Luxor, Egypt, May 12th - 13th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On Monday, May 12th the alarm clock disturbed our deep sleep at 5am. We and our friends from "Ohana Kai" had to get ready for our bus trip to Luxor. We had to be in Safaga by 7 am to join the convoy to Luxor. Militant Muslim fundamentalists continue to attack foreign residents, public figures and tourists. The convoy will be guarded by armed forces as a result of an attack on a group of tourists in November 1997. 58 Swiss and Japanese tourists were killed at Hatshepsut's temple. On every intersection armed officers would await the passing by of the convoy. More then 60 buses lined up. For the almost 300km to Luxor we would need several hours, including a break at a restaurant site in the desert.
As soon as we left Safaga the Egyptian desert opened up, Bedouins traveling alongside the road, accompanied by their camels or donkeys, begging at the restaurant stop for food or money.
Getting closer to the valleys of the Nile river suddenly the barren desert changed into fertile green farmland. The river provides drinking water, as well as water for irrigation. It also deposits rich soil along its banks each year when it floods. We were astonished to see how poor the people on the country site are. Looked the same as in Sudan; most of the farmers still riding on donkeys or using donkey carts.
The houses were built of stone, sometimes several stories high, but still with bare sand floors. Just the road to Luxor was paved.
As the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor is the "world's greatest open air museum". The Nile river splits Luxor into sides: The east side were the sun rises, therefore called the living city, with its ruins of the temple complexes of Karnak and Luxor. And the west side, because the sun sets in the west, called the city of the death. So you will find all tombs and funeral temples on the west bank of the Nile.
Testimonies in granite and white limestone: the temples, tombs and palaces of ancient Egypt. In the "living city" the Temple of Karnak is welcoming the sun.
At the entrance of the temple you will walk through an alley of muttons, representing the god Amun, like a symbol of fertility and growth; below their heads small sculptures of King Ramses II. This is the largest Hypostyle Hall in the World. It has no equal anywhere. It consists of 134 columns representing the papyrus flower. This hall was built by King Seti I (1313-1292 BC) and was completed by his son Ramses II (1292-1225 BC).
On the right picture above you see king Ramses II and in front of him a small statue of his wife Nefertari.
Who is walking like an Egyptian? The hieroglyphics on the columns are very detailed, some are still showing faded colors.
Soleil rounds the scarab 9 times for good health and a happy life.
It was so incredibly hot here in Luxor. We drank lots of bottles of water, were looking for shade everywhere. Our lunch break we had at "MC Donalds" in town with the best view onto the Luxor Temple.
The temple of the South, dedicated to the god Amun. Close to the Nile river you see dhows, the traditional sailing boats, passing by. In Luxor still a lot of people are riding donkey carts, transporting all kinds of goods.
In the afternoon our driver Bassem and guide Safawt drove us to the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile. On the way to the valley we passed by the huge Colossi of Memnon, two vast statues in honor of the Pharaoh Amenophis III.
Next to every monument locals are selling all kinds of artifacts, always closely watched by security.
As we came closer to the Valley of the Kings, we left the green valleys of the Nile.
The Valley of the Kings consists of 52 tombs, some are of still unknown pharaos. The deepest tomb we could enter was the one of King Thotmosis III.
The most famous one was discovered on November 4th 1922: The tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamen. It was one of the most exciting finds of modern archeology. He reigned for 9 years and died at the age of 18 in 1350 BC. The tomb was opened on November 26th, 1922 by its discoverer the British archeologist Howard Carter. Inside were hundreds of priceless treasures of a vanished world, incredible objects, including a solid gold coffin, a gold mask, and King Tut's jewelery, which after long difficult restorations Carter sent to the Cairo Museum. The mummy is still in the tomb as well as the main sarcophagus. Its exciting to stand in the tomb of Tutankhamen, although we expected it to be bigger. In the tombs we were not allowed to take pictures.
The afternoon we spent in the swimming pool of The Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel in Luxor. We enjoyed dinner at "Pizza Hut" and the following day a relaxed morning at the terrace of the hotel with a breakfast buffet. The kids went swimming again and exploring the hotel up to the roof terrace.
At noon we met with Bassem and Safawt to visit the west bank of the Nile again.
We rode a "taftaf" up to the Queen Hatshepsut Temple at Al-Deir el-Bahari.
The temple, a monument, new and avantgardistic in ancient times, unique in Egyptian architecture, faces eastwards. It has been built directly out of the rock face.
Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman ever reigning a kingdom, like a Pharaoh, was known for dressing like a man.
It was very hot here on the west bank. The kids were looking for a shady place. We carried our water bottles around, made pictures of the hieroglyphics; the system of picture writing used in ancient Egypt. Each picture, or hieroglyph, stood for an idea or a sound. The kids had postcards translating the pictures, showing the sound or letter it stands for.
We visited an alabaster work shop, watching the artists changing bare stone into beautiful vases and sculptures.
Hieroglyphics were written on walls in the temples and tombs as well as on papyrus. People trained to write them in ancient times were called scribes. At a papyrus shop we saw how the paper was made out of the papyrus plant, what tools they needed and how it was pressed and flatted out in the end.
At 6 pm we had to be ready to line up again for the convoy back to Hurghada. The buses were driving like crazy in the evening, overtaking each other in high speed, in inside curbs, like a rally. We had to ask our driver to slow down. We had a great time in Luxor. It was amazing for us to stand right next to statues or in temples or tombs we had learned about in History, have heart so much about all our life.
Zaafarana, Egypt, May 15th-17th 2008 (by Dagmar)
Two nights we stayed in the south of the village Zaafarana. Our friends Kiki & Ibi are having their newest "hottest" Kite- and Windsurfing Center there. We wanted to check it out and were happy about a break from beating against the northerly wind and waves. "Ohana Kai" joined us. We arrived the 15th in the afternoon, passed the Center, watching all the colorful kites against the bare Egyptian desert, anchoring in the northern, more protected bay of Marsa Thelemet.
The following day we went by dinghy 15 minutes down wind to the center. The wind was still blowing with 35 knots. We joined our friend Kiki and her boys, spent great time together, Bart even went windsurfing for an hour, we had lunch, and went back pounding against the wind and waves. That was no fun at all, a very tough ride, very bad for my back.
Check out Kiki & Ibis Kite-Windsurfing Centers: www.ibiandfriends.com
Our friends from "Ohana Kai" had called us over their handheld VHF, what they gave us to take to shore, that the coastguard was expecting to see us at their dock. Bruce was already there with all our papers. So we went there first, picked up Bruce, and learned that we were "welcome" to anchor here, when we would pay the amount of US$ 100.- per boat per day. Ridiculous...we refused, left the bay and anchored in the next northerly, Ras Zaafarana overnight, to leave with first light the following day towards Ras Sudr, on the Sinai side of the Red Sea, but very close to Port Suez. When we met Kiki that day, she already asked us, if we had problems with the Egyptian authorities while anchoring in different bays all previous days. But we hadn't so far. We knew that they are always open their hands, asking for "bakshees", extra money, cigarettes......
Ras Sudr, Egypt, May 17th-18th 2008 (by Dagmar)
Ras Sudr, on the east side of the Red Sea, on the Sinai peninsula. The Sinai peninsula is largely mountainous desert. We got joined by several fisher boats in the bay. Soleil could play with Matthew and Tristan on "Ohana Kai". Bart rowed her over in our dinghy. It was a very quiet bay, calm water, very relaxing after all that hammering against wind and waves coming up from Hurghada. We could tell that we were further North now. The days are still hot, but it was getting quite cold at night. The first time in many months that we were longing for blankets.
Port Suez, Egypt, May 18th-19th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On our way to Port Suez we had to cross the shipping lane several times, watching very carefully the ship traffic around us. Approaching the marina of Port Suez container ships came very close, letting their gangway down to board the pilots for their transit through the canal.
At the Port Suez Yacht Club we got a mooring buoy in the bay, just in front of the entrance to the canal. So we could watch all ship traffic passing north- or southbound.
In the late afternoon the pilot boat dropped off an employer of the "Felix Maritime Agency" to measure our boats. We used this agency to arrange all our paper work for the channel passage, to get diesel and a pilot for the following morning to transit to Ismailia.
In the evening we had dinner at the "Red Sea Hotel". See the kids, Soleil, Matthew and Tristan, at the window, overlooking the anchorage, with "Ohana Kai" and "Luna", and the entrance of the Suez canal in the back.
Suez Canal, Egypt, first part, Suez to Ismailia, May 19th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On Monday, May 19th it was our turn to go through the Suez Canal. At 10am 'Said', our pilot boarded "Luna", and we were ready to go. In front of "Ohana Kai" we left Port Suez towards Ismailia, halfway through the canal. On the top right picture, Lisa from "Ohana Kai" shot, you see us, our two masts on the left side of the tanker, heading towards the entrance. Our boat looks like a toy. We were passing the sand bank were yesterday a huge cruise ship lost his steering, went on ground and had to be pulled off by a tuck boat. That was a close call, for all container ships and freighters lined up behind the cruise ship south bound. We could watch it, because it was right next to our anchorage, when the cruise ship dropped anchor not to be pulled sideways by the strong current.
None of the yachties was really looking forward to have a pilot on board, especially an Egyptian one. They are known for being very persistent with asking for "baksheesh", extra presents and whatever you give will be not enough. They are always complaining. During the whole day we were very happy with Said, apart from that he asked a lot for coffee, cookies, tea, food in general, he steered "Luna" most of the time, what was actually the 50 miles through the canal very boring . But already 30 minutes before he left our boat in Ismailia he asked if we had his presents ready, was not satisfied with the U$20.- we gave him, asked even for extra money for the bus, chips.... But we met some very friendly Egyptians during our time in the country. So good to know, not everybody is like this.
A little bit about the history of the canal: Pharaoh Ramses II was the first one to try to link the Red Sea and the Mediterranean in the 12th century BC. After that several canals were constructed, all these began in the Nile delta and cut across country to modern day Ismailia. In 1854 the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps was authorized by the Egyptian ruler, Said Pasha, to begin excavations. The Suez Canal Company was formed and in 1859 construction work began. In 1976 and 1980 the canal was widened and deepened. Income from Canal fees is a vital source of revenue for Egypt. In 1877 an average of 4-5 ships went through, 100 years later there were 60 a day.
A huge military presence is obvious on both sides of the canal, control towers every hundreds of meters, camps alongside the canal banks, a soldier patrolling on every hill top, tanks in front of pontoon-bridges, rusting away army jeeps in the sand dunes.
Some fishermen made their way rowing through the shipping lane.
Some villages, even resorts were lining the canal as well as mosques. You could tell that the armed forces had some time to kill. They used the rocks from the desert for art work along the canal banks, like heart shapes or writings like "Welcome to Egypt". In the distance you could see the skyline of Ismailia, the minarets always overly present.
Cairo, Egypt, May 20th 2008 (by Dagmar)
From Ismailia we left at 7 am for Cairo. We had rented a mini bus, together with "Ohana Kai", very excited to visit the pyramids and Sphinx of Gizeh, now in the suburbs of Cairo. Already on the motorway towards the pyramids we passed all kinds of trucks and even donkey carts, some overloaded with fruits, veggies or hay.
With the enormous growth of Cairo city, the pyramids are right next to town, overlooking the city. Gizeh, suburb of Cairo, looks like a country village, horses and camels everywhere. We mounted camels.
That was very exciting. All camels had fancy names, like Mickey Mouse, Moses, and California. Mine was named Charlie Brown and was a very naughty one, starting to get up before I was even half on it, but I managed. They were all lined up together, guided by a boy. Our tour guide for the camel ride joined on a horse. My camel was chewing on hay, making it into a brownish disgusting looking paste, running out of his mouth. But he behaved well for the rest of the ride towards the pyramids. Halfway before we entered the fenced in area, we met the crew of "de Pelikaan". They did a 3-day trip to Cairo, now ready to mount horses to get close to the pyramids. It was such an amazing scenery. What a great feeling to ride on a camel towards the pyramids. And there they were....
.....the Cheops and Chephren pyramids came up between the sand dunes, some smaller pyramids in the back, a total of nine in the whole area. The Cheops pyramid was build with over 2.5 million limestone blocks, each with a weigh of more then 3 tons.......We will never forget that ride. What a scenery!!!!!!
We, adults, were as much excited about the whole trip as the kids. The camels were making their way slowly through the dunes. We got closer.
The guide said, that we would turn with our camels now towards the Sphinx statue. But we wanted to get closer, have a very close look.
We decided that we wanted to dismount the camels and walk to the pyramids, to touch them, to stand next to that amazing boulders.
So that was, what we did. We touched them, the kids climbed on the loose boulders laying around.
Most of the other tourists, walking on the site, came by huge busloads up the paved road, just in front of the two major pyramids.
We mounted the camels again and rode down to the giant Sphinx.
The Sphinx statue, the lion body with a human head, is guarding the causeway up to the pyramids.
When we came back to our minibus, Peter was waiting with our bus driver Ahmed. Peter was our tour guide from here on, showing us around "Old Cairo" with its chapels, cathedrals, synagogues and churches; a huge mix of religious beliefs in one town.
At a perfume shop we learned about the different essences, the pure essence in perfume the Egyptians are using and bought a small bottle of the scent "Papyrus", which we shared with Lisa and Bruce. A very fresh scent, which reminded me of Calvin Klein perfumes.
And finally we went to the Egyptian Museum to have a closer look at all the amazing treasures out of Tutankhamens tomb, the golden mask, the coffins, jewelry, statues.....
After the museum we had tea at Peter's hostel "Wake Up!", just 10 minutes walk from the museum. He did an amazing job as our tour guide, very friendly with a lot of knowledge. When you are in Cairo, looking for somebody to guide you or a place to stay, he is definitely the one to contact. We sadly have to say, that we had some rude experience with Egyptians, but he was very different. We offered him some money for all the time he spent with us, but he refused,...for us a new experience in this country. Contact: Peter Karam, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.enjoyinegypt.com
On our way back to Ismailia we stopped in the suburbs of Cairo, to get groceries at the supermarket "Carrefour", a great place to stock up for the trip through the rest of the canal and up to Greece. A young Egyptian women came to me, smiling all over, told me, how nice to meet me, what Nationality I was, and if I would like to hold her 3 month old daughter Habiba. What a great pleasure for myself. I loved to. Her whole family took pictures, they wished us a nice trip. What a warmhearted experience.
Ismailia, Egypt, May 21st - 24th 2008 (by Dagmar)
For some extra days we stayed in Ismailia, doing laundry, cleaning the boat, The kids had lots of fun on the playground or while playing soccer against the Dads Team or enjoying waffles with fresh whip cream, one morning on our boat.
We strolled through town, passed tea rooms offering water pipes on the street...
...past narrow streets were you still find all construction debris next to the houses, lots of garbage in the alleys, modern architecture and in front a copy of an obelisk with hieroglyphics. A strange mixture...
Every dinner we had on the dock in front of our boats. We could borrow chairs and tables from the marina restaurant.
The evening before we left on our last part of the canal, we had a BBQ with all our boat friends from "Ohana Kai" and "de Pelikaan". We all dressed up......
....took some fun pictures. The following one is especially for our very best friend Kelly G from "Moorea". We all tried our best to get the famous "Kelly pose" right. Look at our husbands and the kids, amazing poses.....!!!! Kelly G you can be proud of us. From here all our Love to our friends Kelly G and Kelly B. Fare winds and save travels, see you when you get there, where ever that will be in the future. We will find you!!!
Suez Canal, Egypt, second part, Ismailia to Port Said, May 24th 2008 (by Dagmar)
On Saturday, May 24th we headed out of the harbor in Ismailia for our last stretch of the canal towards Port Said and then into the Mediterranean Sea. 7 boats left the dock that morning. This part of the canal looked pretty much as the first part, long parts of desert interrupted by inhabited green oases with villages at the side, ferries ready to cross the channel when we had passed.
Huge containerships and freighters were passing us, while heading in the same direction, northbound to Europe. Fishermen working on their nets were lining the shore.
Extraordinary for us, that while on one hand the canal is that well protected and secured by armed forces, fishermen are allowed fishing just next to the shipping lane, even crossing it. From towers on shore we were observed with binoculars, they were even taking notes while we passed by.
In the late afternoon we got first sight of Port Said. Huge cranes lined the harbor. Khalid, our pilot left us here. He was a very quiet guy, happy to steer our boat through the canal, very friendly and satisfied with the "baksheesh" we had for him.
The town was built by Said Pasha when work began on the canal in 1859. An imposing green doomed and columned building, palace like, and the towers of the mosque are overlooking the waterfront.
We had an amazing sunset when we left the harbor of Port Said and the Mediterranean Sea welcomed us, ready for our crossing to Karpathos in southern Greece, a trip of at least 4 days beating against the wind and waves.
Bart had a cold and we both caught diarrhea from kebabs we ate for lunch the day before we left Ismailia. As we heard from our friends Lisa and Bruce, they had the same intestinal problems. So far we never had problems in the past. We were always eating local food. So the heavy sailing condition didn't make it easy for us. We were very content, as at the 3rd day the wind went down, the sea got calm and we could recover, ready to see some friends in Karpathos, we hadn't seen in 9 years. See you on our Greece page.
Last modified: September 02, 2008