National Geographic : 1965 May
had exaggerated the Nile's changeable nature. "It's 200 miles to Cairo," he had told Irving, as he rapidly drew a rough chart. "It looks easy enough, doesn't it? A good deep channel with a bridge now and then, a lock or two, and you're in Cairo before you know it." He grinned. "Only you aren't, because this is the Nile, the world's longest-and craziest -river. To begin with, there's the river traf fic-unlike any you've ever seen. But you'll find Egyptian barge pilots helpful. They're always ready to pull you out of the water, after they've accidentally stove a hole in you. "Then there's the night travel. Most draw bridges open only after dark, and you have to move when you can. But don't expect many lights-Egyptians don't go in for frills. "Too bad the flood is past. Now you must 586 Balanced burden, an olive-oil can filled with water rides on a doughnut-shaped head pillow covered with black cloth. This Cairo woman wears the traditional dark dress, but bright cotton dresses in Western style appear frequently. Masts lowered, Yankee slips into a lock at the Delta Barrages, man-made bar riers to divert Nile waters into canals for irrigation. Craft's aluminum ladder, rigged as a derrick, will raise the spars again. This Barrage, built in 1939, replaces one begun in the 1830's by Mo hammed Ali, Pasha of Egypt. The origi nal Barrage now carries highway traffic. take the 'emotional route,' by canal, after en tering the Delta through the Rosetta Mouth." He put out his hand. "Bon voyage, or as Egyptians say, 'Inshallah'-As Allah wills." It was hardly a reassuring start for a voy age of a thousand miles up a strange river into Africa (see Atlas Supplement Map, Nile Valley, Land of the Pharaohs, distributed to members with this issue). To be sure, Yankee was as ready as any boat could be. She was built to our design, with a hull of reinforced steel drawing only 4'/2 feet of water with centerboards raised. Her 16 foot beam and fold-down masts fitted her for locks and bridges, and her ketch rig and stur dy diesel made her easy handling for two. Moreover, Yankee had been seasoned the year before on a 2,500-mile maiden voyage © N.G.S.