Day 31 – Suez Canal (Scenic Cruising) – Jun 21st 2015

Suez Canal Transit – 19:00 June 21st to 04:00 June 22nd

Originally scheduled to commence the transit in the early morning of June 21st, so should have seen the entire canal during daylight, but we awoke to find the ship still swinging on the hook, or at anchor. Due to ongoing engineering works in the canal and delays to the southbound convoy, our departure time was repeatedly put back throughout the day, eventually departing the anchorage shortly after 18:30.

Ships at anchor waiting to enter Port Suez

View from our balcony of ships lying at anchor waiting to enter Port Suez.

Cruise ships, which book transits more than a year in advance and are normally positioned at the front of the convoy, with only warships having a higher priority. Well we picked the same day to transit Suez with the US Navy and a Royal Navy supply ship, which reduced us to spot number 6.

USS Iwo Jimo task force leader

The USS Iwo Jima the task force command ship with Sea Harriers on the stern and choppers up fwd. Being the largest naval unit and task force commander she was at the head of our convoy.

USS New York which has recycled steel from World Trade Towers in her bow

In the number 2 spot was the USS New York, which is notable for the recycled steel from the World Trade Centre towers used in the construction of her bow.

Ships at anchor waiting to join our convoy

Other ships at anchor on our stbd side that will follow behind us in the northbound convoy

Princess house flag

The Princess House Flag at the Stem Jack as we departed the anchorage for our transit of the Suez Canal

Once the 5 naval units passed our position and the pilot was aboard, Sea Princess weighed anchor and took up position about a mile astern of the vessel ahead, at an initial speed of about 9 kts.

Canal transit making the final approach with frigate and MoD ship ahead already in the canal

Rounding the final bend in the buoyed channel on approaching the entrance to the Suez Canal.

Canal transit on final approach to the canal entrance

On final approach immediately prior to entering the Suez Canal

Canal transit MoD ship ahead of us

Entering the Suez Canal with the 2 ships ahead of us in the convoy

Canal transit approaching the first bend

Inside the entrance breakwater navigating along the entrance channel

Canal transit Port Suez headland at the canal entrance

Port Suez at the entrance to the Suez Canal

Canal transit mosque at the entrance channel

Mosque on the banks of the Suez Canal entrance channel

Canal transit approaching the first turn

Approaching the first bend in the Suez Canal with very fresh wind

Canal transit all ships ahead of us

Rounding the first bend with the entire convoy visible ahead and the first of many sets of pontoons to be used as a Bailey Bridge should the military need to bridge the canal.

Canal transit crew on focstle watching the transit

Ship’s focsle with a number of crew enjoying the Suez Canal transit

Canal transit approaching end of 2nd straight in low light and high winds

Rounded the first bend and navigating along the canal in a fresh wind

Canal transit Sea Princess heading through Suez Canal

My final photograph from above the Bridge before returning to the cabin.

Canal transit Judi on balcony after sunset

Judi on the balcony obviously enjoying her first transit of the Suez Canal.

Canal transit with tower holding up setting sun

Setting sun being held up by a radio mast.

Canal transit wit sun almost set

Wide angle shot of the setting sun and our passage along the Suez Canal.

Canal transit with Judi enjoying the transit in failing light

Judi on the balcony enjoying the canal transit and sunset

Canal transit from the balcony looking fwd

Our progress along the Suez Canal from our balcony.

Canal transit more pontoons at sunset

Sunset colours over Egypt as we navigate through the Suez Canal.

The Suez Canal transit continued throughout the night and we cleared Port Said about 04:00, prior to sunrise.

While we are enjoying this extended holiday and the current 104 day World Cruise, we are always thinking of what we are missing at home, especially our grandson Owen, who was 2 months old when we left and is now 5 months old. I will finish today’s post with a photograph received today from our daughter Heather.

Owen at 5 months 2

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