Navigating this narrow canal of 196km running between the mediteranean and red Seas is only part of the difficulty of making this unique journey.
Coordinating the many massive freight ships that make the journey each day is a task in itself. All the ships including ours assembled in the bay out from Port Said at 1am and enter the canal in convoy leaving approximately one km between each huge vessel.
Approximately two thirds of the way along we assemble on a huge inland body of water known as Bitter Lakes. A pilot radios the exact position each vessel should take anchor on the 250 square km lake while we wait for the convoy of ships from the opposite direction to pass. This takes about 4 hours before we set off again single file to snake our way down the remainder of the canal.
It literally feels as if you are travelling on land as the ship moves along with only vast expanses of desert on either side.
There are occasional signs of civilization at the few barge crossings as well as soldiers posted in the middle of no where ready to defend the canal.
The canal can accommodate ships with a draft of 16m and loaded weight up to 150000 tonnes.