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Personal disclosure: Twenty-plus years ago I had the opportunity to take a ship on the Red Sea from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Port Suez, about 700 miles. All the daylight hours of this summer 60-hour voyage were a fantastic platform to watch other traffic and look down from the railing beside the bridge. From 50-feet up, I recall seeing the flying fish frightened by our bow wave and swarming sharks at various depths in the clear water. I would not have lasted long had I gone in. It was a simpler time, and the Egyptian passengers (99% of the passengers; there was one Sudanese family, and one American [me], which I know because customs cleared me last.) were most hospitable. Oh, for a return to these friendlier times.


In the green shirt, that’s a very young tugster. As we headed into Port Suez, the southern end of the Canal, we steamed past a cluster of ships waiting for traffic to be northbound. Then, traffic flowed six hours south, followed by six hours north, and so on.



Here is a southbound tanker, in ballast. Unlike the Panama or Erie, the Suez has no locks, so draft is the limiting factor. Suezmax designates maximum draft that can safely traverse; any vessels of greater draft would be Capesize.

Hmm… my pre-digital photos are quite grainy. I wonder where the closest port to accommodate Capesize vessels is.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, back in 1985.

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Documentary "Graves of Arthur Kill" is AVAILABLE again here.Click here to buy now!

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


February 2007