Sailing Through The Suez

Posted by Freddy on Mar-14-2009

I’m quite particular about cleanliness..rather very fond of keeping things neat and tidy. It’s fun sprucing up the place and having things in order. I feel lucky since my better half shares this particular trait. We often embark on spring-cleaning missions during holidays. We have such a gala time tossing and turning things around that Operation Spotless often is a fun period of recreation for the two of us.

Once, when we were thus employed, I was gently dusting a memento presented by a Mariners’ club. It was like a miniature ship. Once done, I couldn’t help but just gaze at it for a while. All of a sudden she chuckled, ‘When you see a ship you forget even me, all you sailors are heartless…Oh I wish there were a world without you.’

‘What? A world without mariners! Honey without us the world won’t progress..it’s we who control trade and commerce, so without us the world’s a big zero!’

‘Hey! That’s not due to your merit alone, it’s surely because there’s so much water on earth…and besides you’ve created so many artificial water ways like, well..like the Suez Canal! Without these what would you be..a big Zero!’ she gestured playfully, moving to the next room..

Well, will have to admit the truth in what she said…man-made canals like the Suez, have contributed tremendously to our growth. In fact, I’ll venture so far as to say Suez is the greatest gift to sailors and traders! It’s really long..163 kilometers..and has changed the face of trade and humanity. Joining the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, it connects the Indian Ocean with the Atlantic, making sea travel so much easier.

According to History books, initially the canal was just a small strip connecting the Nile and the Red sea, which was built in 13th century B.C. Later, it was abandoned in 8th century A.D. and the canal became unnavigable. Just imagine if the Suez were there for Vasco Da Gama, would’ve been easier for him to sail to India. And if it were available for Columbus, well, he mightn’t have sailed to the West but the East. Any way, hard luck guys Vasco & Columbus! I feel so lucky right now, I’ve had the privilege of sailing through that awesome ‘creek!!’

When I navigate through the Suez, I think of its creator who I admire so much..Ferdinand de Lesseps.  I often wonder about the hardships and troubles he faced in convincing the authorities in his own country, France and the rulers of Egypt. Imagine he stayed put in spite of strong opposition from Asian and European countries! Even technical and administrative luminaries criticized him..in fact, the whole project was considered a ‘waste’ of time money and labour! But Lesseps’ answer to all of them was, and still is a water way that boasts of the maximum ship traffic!

I remember Suez has played a very crucial role in several wars as well and yes, wars were waged for the Suez too…Isn’t it worth fighting for! Were it not for the Suez, Japan wouldn’t have defeated Russia! If world wars 1 and 2 shaped history..then history would surely have been different were it not for the Suez!

The tide of appreciation for the Suez is ebbing and flowing in my mind..I can clearly see me sailing solo in the gentle winds, through the magnificent Suez Canal..the setting sun standing sentinel witnessing my peaceful journey onward….

  1. lee Said,

    its interesting to read, i felt like iam in suez..good dude go ahead

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