SUEZ CANAL TRANSIT
The Suez Canal, gouged through Africa, is one of the world’s engineering marvels - linking two seas, and drastically shortening boat voyages around this huge continent. Few manmade waterways are so storied and iconic, and sailing the length of it is a bucket list item for many explorers. The construction of the canal started in 1859, and took ten years to complete, with the canal officially opening in November 1869. More than a million people worked on the project, often in unimaginable conditions.
An engineering breakthrough, the canal connected the Mediterranean to the Red Sea - drastically improving global trade's efficiency. A hugely strategic and precious bottleneck, it has inevitably led to conflicts - and been vulnerable to scuttling to block its usage. The Six-Day War closed the canal, leaving 15 unfortunate ships trapped within for eight years. An amazing story, the crew members of the Yellow Fleet - named as their ships slowly gathered desert sand - adapted and created a community within the confines of Bitter Lake.
Sit back and admire the desert views, as you transit the 101 Mile expanse, occasionally interrupted by little villages, with domed mosques and minarets towering into the sky. Look out for the tiny fishing boats that share the canal’s waterway, dwarfed by giant container ships - the plucky fishermen courageously refuse to yield to the massive vessels they sail beside. There is no need for locks in the canal, as the two seas sit at the same level, and passing lanes ensure that ships can travel the engineering marvel in both directions.