, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Sailing Boats of the Nile, 1819 | Walking Through Egypt ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

May 3, 2012

The Sailing Boats of the Nile, 1819 | Walking Through Egypt

The Sailing Boats of the Nile, 1819
John Fuller

Boats of the Nile
Three different kinds of boats navigate the Nile. The largest are called Germs, and are used exclusively for the conveyance of com and merchandise. The Cangia is used for passengers only, and almost every person of consideration possesses one of his own. The Mahash is an intermediate rate, capable of carrying a considerable cargo, but fitted up with a large cabin for the accommodation of passengers also. A vessel of this class being on the point of sailing for Cairo, we engaged our passage on board. The cabin was sufficiently large for my companion and myself, and a temporary awning erected on the deck for Nasr-Allah and the servants.

Lake Manzala, 1908
Elbert Farman
It was a beautiful morning with the cloudless sky of an Egyptian summer. The deep crimson that heralded the sun, the yellow light that accompanied it and the clear soft atmosphere, free from the dust of the land, made this early morning sail most enjoyable. It was the more so because there were no waves, although the wind was sufficiently strong to have made an ugly sea, had the water been sufficiently deep to permit an undercurrent.

The lake is very irregular in form, but is approximately forty miles in length and twenty broad and covers an area of eight hundred to a thousand square miles. It is so shallow throughout its whole extent that it is said that one could wade from one side to the other were it not for the miry bottom .... The bottom of the lake is covered with a thick matting of coarse grass, which in many places grows to the height of a number of feet. . . .

As we glided quietly but swiftly over the grassy waters, fish were darting from under the bow of the boat, showing that they were very abundant. We passed between Matariyeh (situated upon a point of land projecting from the west many miles into the lake) and a group of islands opposite, on the east. . . . Matariyeh is a town of fishermen. It is all fish and fishing. There is no other business. The occupation of the father has been transmitted to the son from the earliest historic periods. These people, with others about the lake, form a race of fishermen.


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