Suez Travel Guide

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The 2nd quay crane and the 9th and 10th yard cranes have arrived in Port Said East Port.

The 2nd quay crane and the 9th and 10th yard cranes have arrived in Port Said East Port.

Mohamed Tamer

Suez is located at the south end of the canal of the same name. It is a transport hub for travel to the Sinai and a good place to watch big ships sailing through a desert landscape.

Transiting the Suez Canal

On a clear, cool morning, with all signs of the last few days' sand haze blown away, we left Port Suez and lined up behind sixteen other ships for our northbound convoy, and started an enthralling transit of the Suez Canal.  For the next ten hours, covering the 200 kilometres between Port Suez and Port Said, there was always something of interest to see.  On the eastern side the barren Sinai Desert stopped right at the edge of the canal, and a few kilometers away trucks could be seen on the main highway running south to Sharm el Sheikh.  The sand between the road and us was covered with abandoned military posts, burnt out trucks and other debris from the 1967 and 1973 wars.  On the western side, towns and villages lined the banks most of the way up the canal, benefiting from the extensive Nile delta irrigation systems.  On both sides, a strong military presence was in evidence everywhere, with soldiers based in tents, military posts or tanks, and patrolling the banks in ones or twos.  In the Great Bitter Lake we passed a southbound convoy of twenty-five ships, anchored there to let us pass, including a British submarine and minesweeper moving into the Red Sea or around to the Gulf.

Everywhere, construction or development was taking place.  A huge bridge spans the canal at one point; at another a new tunnel takes traffic beneath it.  An ingenious new swing bridge carries a railway track across the water when convoys are not moving past.  There are constant repair and improvement efforts on the canal banks, and it appears that new irrigation works are under way to reclaim vast swathes of the Sinai Desert for settlement.  One assumes the funding comes from the US$2 billion annual revenue earned by the canal – it cost our ship $100,000 to transit.

Finally, in the late afternoon we arrived in Port Said, with the main part of the town on our left.  One of the first buildings we saw was the wonderful Suez Canal House with its striking green domes, built in time for the canal's inauguration in 1869.  The waterfront looked busy and prosperous, and we tied up right outside the new Port Said National Museum.  (Contributed by Howard Banwell)

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