The Suez Canal

At 9am we cast our mooring and steamed out of the Port into the Suez Canal the entrance of which was guarded by a Scottish Regiment.

The Canal ran as straight as die for miles and miles, running parallel to the canal was a railroad.  For miles beyond this almost to the horizon was large tracts of water, the monotony of which was broken by the sight of occasional sand dunes.  There was little vegetation and bushes on the sides of the canal.  Shoals of wild duck and Common Sea Gulls were on this stretch of water.

After leaving the large expanse of water we came to more dry desert land.  At intervals of a few miles along the canal were stations where a guard of troops was in every case, more often than not, the Ghurkas, and sometimes a camel corps was present.

The Ghurkas were dressed similar to a boy scout, they proved very smart what we could see of them. They greeted us in most cordial manner, by signalling their greetings to us, others stood to attention and saluted us as we passed, many cheered their throats most hoarse.

At one place we saw them widening the water way, using camels as pack animals for carrying sand away and mules were pulling small trucks on rails, shifting the debris from the excavations.

We passed many steamers in the canal, all were flying the white ensign, one steamer was manned by Japanese, all these craft had moored into the side of the water way to let the convoy pass.

We saw a native village on the west side, the dwellings were low squatty places and appeared to be made of mud, dried hard by the sun.  At this place [El Kantara] was a large camel corps and a number of engineers constructing a ferry across the canal.

All the British stations along the route were fine picturesque places with verandah running round the outside, good grounds laid out round about the compounds.  Each station had its mast like arrangement with a crows nest on top, for signalling purposes.

We saw a caravan of camels crossing the desert at one place en route [near Lake Timsah].

At all remote native settlements where they seem to be a mixed tribe or Arabs, Egyptians, etc. all the English they seem to know very well was the word “Moneee” and they do drag out the last syllable when they say it too.

At Ishmalia we put a pilot ashore and took a fresh one on board.

Darkness is now falling and the daylight in this part seems to wain very quickly, no evening or between time from daylight to darkness.

8pm see the lights of Suez. The transports all have a very bright light on the bow to show them the way, which is almost a searchlight.

Lights out 9. Retire at 9.30.

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