Dear Cruise Diary — Day 22, May 12, 2013

Dear Cruise Diary

Day 22 – Suez Canal and Gulf of Suez

May 12, 2013


Between the long days in Cairo and the head cold I was fighting, I slept through the night and didn’t get up to see us enter the Suez Canal at Port Said at about 1:30 am. This was one time I missed having a balcony cabin, because I could have just slipped out to check our progress. But when I did wake up, I turned right over and went back to sleep instead of dressing and heading up a few decks to see if I could see anything.

By about 8 am when I was up and out, we were simply moving down a long and mostly straight and wide ditch. The east side was mostly sandy desert, with the occasional guard outpost or small cluster of homes. The west side sported large areas of green farms and towns.

Desert and Green

Suez Canal

Lonely Outpost

Lonely Outpost along Canal

When the canal made slight turns, we could see the line of ships ahead and behind, all southbound. By later in the morning, we arrived just over halfway, in the Great Bitter Lake, where we stopped for a couple of hours while the northbound ships passed by. By 2 pm, we were in Port Suez exiting the canal and entering the Gulf of Suez on our way to Safaga, Egypt, where we would dock the next morning.

Southbound Ships End of the Canal

Southbound ships, End of Canal

Even though it was Mother’s Day, the passage through the canal reminded me most of my father. He would have loved the transit (as well as the Middle Eastern ports). I remember how much he enjoyed going through the Panama Canal; he loved actually being in and experiencing places he had only read or heard about. I’m much the same.

This sea day was a nice break between ports, and with the hot weather many passengers spent the day on the outside decks and in the pools.

Pool Volleyball

Pool Volleyball

I caught up on my blog about the overnight trip to Cairo and updating photo files. The latter always took more time than I thought. I could easily take 200-300 photos in a day, but knew that I didn’t need to save most of them. So I went through each day’s shots, culling out the ones that were out of focus or that had too much reflection when taken through a bus window. Then I reviewed the remaining to decide which of the similar pictures were truly the best. I intended to make a photo book of the cruise, so in many cases I kept both horizontal and vertical shots, not knowing yet which would fit best.

That evening I went to the early show with Robin and Helen – Elliot Finkel indeed was a “pianist extraordinaire” as billed. He played his own arrangements of Gershwin, NYC songs, and the music from Lawrence of Arabia to prepare us for Jordan. I thought he was the best performer I had seen on a cruise ship.

We had two full days of tours ahead of us, so I passed on late-night entertainment after dinner and headed for bed.

Tomorrow: Day 23 – Safaga, Egypt, and tour to Luxor/Valley of the Kings