SUEZ CANAL - April 5


(Written by Steve)

I will just give you a little info about this little stream we are floating up today.  The Suez Canal is 195 km (121 mi) long. The minimum bottom width of the channel is 60 m (197 ft) and ships of 16 m (53 ft) draft can make the transit. The canal can accommodate ships as large as 150,000 dead weight tons fully loaded. It has no locks, because the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Suez have roughly the same water level. The canal utilizes three bodies of water—Lake Manzilah, Lake Timsah, and the Bitter Lakes (the latter is actually one continuous body of water)—and is not the shortest distance across the isthmus. Most of the canal is limited to a single lane of traffic, but several passing bays exist, and two-lane bypasses are located in the Bitter Lakes and between Al Qantarah and Ismailia. We did not see any other ships waiting or going the other direction, just the QE2 and another freighter about a half mile behind us. A railroad on the west bank runs parallel to the canal for its entire distance.


Suez Canal History – sent by Steve 

In 1854 the French diplomat and engineer Vicomte Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps succeeded in enlisting the interest of the Egyptian viceroy Said Pasha in the project. In 1858 La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez (Universal Company of the Maritime Suez Canal) was formed with authority to cut a canal and to operate it for 99 years, after which ownership would return to the Egyptian government. The company was originally a private Egyptian concern, its stock owned chiefly by French and Egyptian interests. In 1875 the British government purchased Egypt's shares.

Excavation of the canal was begun on April 25, 1859, and the canal was opened to navigation on November 17, 1869. The cost totaled about $100 million. About three times that sum was spent on later repairs and improvements.

Six-Day War, armed conflict in June 1967 between Israel and the Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In six days, Israel conquered the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights, which became collectively known as the Occupied Territories.

Israel and its Arab neighbors had been hostile toward each other since 1948, when Israel became a nation in an area that Palestinian Arabs claim as their homeland. After Israel declared its statehood, several Arab states and Palestinian groups immediately attacked Israel, only to be driven back. In 1956 Israel overran Egypt in the Suez-Sinai War. Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser vowed to avenge Arab losses and press the cause of Palestinian nationalism. To this end, he organized an alliance of Arab states surrounding Israel and mobilized for war. Israel preempted the invasion with its own attack on June 5, 1967. In the following days, Israel drove Arab armies from the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights, all of which it then occupied. Israel also reunited Jerusalem, the eastern half of which Jordan had controlled since the 1948-1949 war. The Six-Day War was viewed as an enormous victory for Israel, but the territories it gained did not stop future fighting. The peace process throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s has in large part been an attempt to resolve the land disputes created by Israel’s military success. We could see many blown up car's, tanks and bridge of both sides of the canal, you can see them in the photo album. In short, just a very relaxing day.