A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.

On the other or Egyptian side of this gulf, between Toro and Suez, there run certain great and very high hills or mountains appearing over the sea coast; which about 17 leagues above Toro open in the middle as low as the plain field, after which they rise as high as before, and continue along the shore to within a league of Suez, where they entirely cease.  I found the ebb and flow of the sea between Toro and Suez quite conformable with what has been already said respecting other parts of the coast, and neither higher nor lower:  Whence appears the falsehood of some writers, who pretend that no path was opened through this sea for the Israelites by miracle; but merely that the sea ebbed so much in this place that they waited the ebb and passed over dry.  I observed that there were only two places in which it could have been possible for Sesostris and Ptolomy kings of Egypt, to have dug canals from the Nile to the Red-Sea:  One of these by the breach of the mountains on the Egyptian coast 17 leagues above Toro, and 11 short of Suez; and the other by the end of the nook or bay on which Suez stands; as at this place the hills on both sides end, and all the land remains quite plain and low, without hillocks or any other impediment.  This second appears to me to be much more convenient for so great a work than the other, because the land is very low, the distance shorter, and there is a haven at Suez.  All the rest of the coast is lined by great and high mountains of hard rock.  Hence Suez must be the place to which Cleopatra commanded the ships to be brought across the isthmus, a thing of such great labour that shortness was of most material importance:  Here likewise for the same reason must have been the trench or canal from the Nile to the Red Sea; more especially as all the coast from Toro upwards is waste, and without any port till we come to Suez.

During all the time which we spent between Toro and Suez, the heaven was constantly overcast with thick black clouds, which seemed contrary to the usual nature of Egypt; as all concur in saying that it never rains in that country, and that the heavens are never obscured by clouds or vapours:  But perhaps the sea raises these clouds at this place, and farther inland the sky might be clear; as we often see in Portugal that we have clear pleasant weather at Lisbon, while at Cintra only four leagues distant, there are great clouds mists and rain.  The sea between Toro and Suez is subject to sudden and violent tempests; as when the wind blows from the north, which is the prevailing wind here, although not very great, the sea is wonderfully raised, the waves being everywhere so coupled together and broken that they are very dangerous.  This is not occasioned by shallow water, as this channel is very deep, only that on the Egyptian side it is somewhat shoaly close to the shore.  “About this place I saw certain sea foams otherwise called evil waters, the largest I had ever seen, being as large as a target, of a whitish dun colour.  These do not pass lower than Toro; but below that there are infinite small ones, which like the other are bred in and go about the sea[324].”  While between Toro and Suez, though the days were insufferably hot, the nights were colder than any I ever met with.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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