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Old 14-02-2013, 12:22   #1
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sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

I wonder if I can sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo and maybe up to Aswan.
My sailboat got an 18 meter mast and 2 meter draft. Is there some bridges that will not open or be too low, or is there some other obstacles stopping me? From Cairo to Aswan the Nile looks to be more open.
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Old 14-02-2013, 12:54   #2
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Not sure about bridges further up ...but I was a tour leader in the 80's and did probably 20 trips on a felucca from Luxor to Aswan .or sometimes the other way round...
Think your 2 m draft maybe be an issue in places further up ...means u would be motoring and staying right in the channel... the banks can come out a bit in places...is a hell of a long way to take a sail boat..especially as u will be motoring a lot.... the wind tends to be v light...ie 5-10 knots max -often drifting in the upper reaches... so take plenty of fuel!! You would need containers to refuel (no docks) and local supplies may be unreliable...
Besides that ..is a stunning trip...
Good luck..be great to know how you get on...
p.s. have no experience from Alexandria to Luxor but my guess is depth is less likely to be an issue....
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Old 14-02-2013, 13:31   #3
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

This is just some research for retirement. The plan is to sail up the Nile in December/January and spend a month or as long the visa will allow in the Nile. In this period the wind is blowing mostly from North to South, so I can use the wind upstream and the river stream back down. I do not have a bow thruster, but hope the river will not be too strong and narrow. If needed, I will use the small dingy with a 20 hp outboard to help steer in narrow channels between Alexandria and Cairo. This dingy might also be used to transport the diesel from shore to the sailboat. The draft is only 1.8 meters so if 2 meters will be OK, I know I will be fine. Also I got an Ericson 41 with long keel, so it can touch the sand bottom if it is gently without breaking anything. My biggest concern is to find a bridge between Alexandria and Cairo that I will not be able to pass, but I see from Google Earth large boats go up the Nile, and they are sometimes 5 stories high, and most be close to 15 meters high, so that is almost the same as my mast. Are there some taxes or fees for going up the Niles?
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Old 14-02-2013, 13:51   #4
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

It's the east....of course baksheesh is required. Mind you, Egypt currently being in the throes of Arab spring bliss and getting all brotherly lovey-dovey, you sure you want to take your infidel wallet that far into troubletown?

Just as a technical curiosity, has anyone on CF ever strapped a couple of flat-bottom barges to a deep-keeler to get across shallows, or augment close-quarters maneuverability?

1. Load barges deep, eg with water or sand
2. Lighten mainship
3. Strapon barges.
4. Lighten barges.
5. Reload mainship.
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Old 14-02-2013, 13:56   #5
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Might be an idea to look at security too.
At times parts of Egypt can be very hairy for foreigners. I don't know how that would relate to the Nile, and I certainly wouldn't leave my boat unattended which makes it tricky considering all there is to see.

1paulg would have more knowledge I'm sure.
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Old 14-02-2013, 20:47   #6
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Re taxes ..you would have to check with authorities..was a long time ago for me...
Visas used to be 1 month which you would need all of ..but are extendable....
Wind direction can vary but if u were wanting to do as much sailing as poss u will be doing a lot of tacking as the river winds ...current isnt too bad -prob 2 knots maybe 3 max....but u will find when tacking you will need a look out at all times for you will need to keep in the channel.. at nights i guess just anchor up....we used to sleep either on the feluuca or on the sand dunes..was safe but we did have a couple of locals as crew...but generally will be long periods where there are no villages for quite a way....and hence no people ...
Yes - quite big passenger boats go from Cairo to Aswan -tho most go just to Luxor...they are flat bottomed but quite high so mast clearance shouldn't be a problem...
As others have suggested ..politically things are a lot more unstable...but imagine the main problem area would be Cairo....
I was there when Sadat was assasinated (long time ago !) and wasnt bad at all and thats with a military curfew.... etc... but you need to look into that aspect to get a handle on the current situation....
Always be courteous when dealing with authorities( at times it is hard) as if you upset them they can make life a lot harder for you...
Is mainly sand bottom so no problem if you touch lightly ..tho coming into Aswan (which is a stunning place) there are some rocks you will need to dodge....but you should be able to see them...
Good luck
p.s Brings back great memories
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Old 14-02-2013, 23:12   #7
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Safety and bridge clearance might be an issue. I am not going this year and the political situation might stabilize in a year or two, but to stop at Luxor with the sailboat might make sense. If I want to see the Aswan dam depends on the situation, but if I can find a safe place or someone to guard the boat while I take some commercial form of transport the last part of the way. From Google Earth I see a new bridge is made at Aswan Cable Stayed Bridge close to Al Khattarah, and also some pictures of a low bridge at Nagaa Al Akarmah that might be too low. Is there some place one can find this sort of information without buying navigational maps of the Nile? If the Visa can be extended for an extra month it would be nice, because I am partly running from the cold winter in the Mediterranean Sea, with January, February and March a little chilly. Going through the Suez Channel down to the Red Sea is an option for the winter, but it is expencive.
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:01   #8
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Maybe I am pushing my luck a bit, but it would be nice after seeing Luxor, to take two weeks at the Red Sea. As I am planning this Nile trip to stay warm in Dec, Jan and Feb before returning to Greece. Maybe going down to Hurghada and do some scuba diving or paragliding. But leaving the boat close to Qena in the Nile might be risky. I see three options: 1. Stay on the boat the whole time while in the Nile. 2. Hire a guard. 3. Let some other sailors or trusted tourists to come and use the boat while I am away. Has someone any suggestions or stories to tell to make me choose more wisely?
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:33   #9
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Difficulties I see are:

1) endemic corruption
2) Bridges - I dont think I saw any opening bridges, butt here must be?
3) Length of journey

Everyone rips you off even this bloke tried to rip us off and say the food for the horse was not included. OK I just laughed at him and told him if he didnt stop the Egyptian Sulk I wouldnt pay him at all.




The NILE (Its not NileS, just Nile) is the longest river in the world. And you are sugesting a fair slab of it. With no facilities for cruising boats.
Here is the river just north of Luxor, the pic doesnt show the middle of the broidge but I cant remember it being a lift bridge or I would have taken the photo with it in.


It would certainly be an adventure, I thinkwould end in tears, but you would need to do a research trip to see if it could be done.
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:37   #10
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

i knew a couple who did it many years ago,their 37ft boat had a 4 ft draft and a mast in a tabernacle that could be easily lowered.
not sure you would get very far with your draft and mast height.

as far as i know alexandria yacht club used to be able to organise the many permits needed to enter the waterway system,and an agent for EVERY time a foreign vessel moves in egyptian waters.

Yacht Club of Egypt Qalaet Quaitbay Street , El Anfoushi , Alexandria, Egypt
Tel:+20 3 4802563
Located in the eastern harbour, normally allows visitors to use its facilities. There are various workshops known to the yacht club which can undertake engine, electrical and some electronic repairs as well as fibreglass, metal work and carpentry. Small quantities of fuel and water are available. .......source noonsite.com
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:48   #11
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Mark,
Thank you for your advice. I have been warned several times now, and maybe I will take to may senses and drop the Nile trip. In 1927 my grandfather bought a boat in Norway and wanted to sail to China. He spent six months in Egypt before continuing. He ended up in Singapore, but that is another story. He was warned too, and mugged in Cairo.
Maybe it is better to suffer some chill in Crete in January then ending in tears on the riverbank of the Nile.
PS. Nice pictures
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:57   #12
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Quote:
Originally Posted by sveinutne View Post
Safety and bridge clearance might be an issue. I am not going this year and the political situation might stabilize in a year or two, but to stop at Luxor with the sailboat might make sense. If I want to see the Aswan dam depends on the situation, but if I can find a safe place or someone to guard the boat while I take some commercial form of transport the last part of the way. From Google Earth I see a new bridge is made at Aswan Cable Stayed Bridge close to Al Khattarah, and also some pictures of a low bridge at Nagaa Al Akarmah that might be too low. Is there some place one can find this sort of information without buying navigational maps of the Nile? If the Visa can be extended for an extra month it would be nice, because I am partly running from the cold winter in the Mediterranean Sea, with January, February and March a little chilly. Going through the Suez Channel down to the Red Sea is an option for the winter, but it is expencive.
your best bet if you want to get away from the winter in the med is to book into the new hurghada marina,or the luxurious el gouna marina,both are reasonably priced though el gouna may not have space.

then do your traveling inland from there.

visa's you should be able to get 3 months with an extention for a further 3 months.
the vessel can stay for 12 month's once you have your cruising permit.

best agent we have used 5or 6 times was "Prince of the red sea" who for a price can arrange everything.

PRINCE OF RED SEA

not a bad place to spend the winter,year round sailing to the nearby reef anchorages,though the dive boats can be a pita.
lots of good restaurants in hurghada,and less husslers than other parts of egypt.
alternatively ishmalia yacht club in the canal is reasonable,though reports of rioting last week.
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Old 15-02-2013, 06:00   #13
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Atoll,
Thanks a lot for good info. I am thinking of the possibility of swooping boat with one in the Yacht Club. If he got a boat that is very good for the Nile, he could then play with mine in the Mediterranean Sea, but that is a long shot.
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Old 15-02-2013, 06:11   #14
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

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Originally Posted by sveinutne View Post
Atoll,
Thanks a lot for good info. I am thinking of the possibility of swooping boat with one in the Yacht Club. If he got a boat that is very good for the Nile, he could then play with mine in the Mediterranean Sea, but that is a long shot.
according to this blog only 2 or 3 delapidated yachts at alex club,being mainly a dingy racing club so good luck with that!

The Yacht Club of Egypt | A Yarmouth23 Sailing Blog

friends spent the winter recently in El gouna,and including the suez transit ,marina fees and cheap cost of living,6months there cost them less than then it would have to have spent 6months in turkey or greece during the winter in a marina,the big plus was being able to spend time out on the many reefs and islands around hurghada as well.
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Old 15-02-2013, 06:13   #15
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Re: sail from the Mediterranean Sea up the Niles River to Cairo

Before making this trip you might care to read Fatty Goodlander's article on his travel in Egypt. See Suez Canal Corruption.
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