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Waterlooville's Parish Magazine
St George's News

Corinth Canal

Corinth Canal

Whilst on a cruise recently around Greece and the Greek Islands our ship went through the Corinth Canal which separates the Peloponnese from mainland Greece and links the Adriatic Sea and the Aegean Sea. As we approached the canal my first impression was our ship could never get through such a narrow piece of water. The pilot came aboard and the fenders were cast over the ship’s rails in case we bumped into the side of the canal and everyone on board was up on deck watching as we very slowly made our way down the canal, which is nearly four miles long. Our cruise ship, which was a fairly small one, was the largest ship that could use the canal as we had one metre clearance under the ship, the depth of the canal is only around eight metres, and about one metre clear either side of the ship at the narrowest points. At either end of the canal there is a road bridge and when a ship is going through these are lowered to the bottom of the canal to enable the ship to pass over.

As long ago as Roman times Nero attempted to construct a canal and although he had thousands of slaves, he still ran into financial difficulties. Before the Corinth Canal was completed it took ships several days to travel around the Peloponnese and added around 185 nautical miles to their journey. At one time small ships were lifted out of the water and loaded onto wheeled vehicles and taken overland to the other side. In the case of large ships the cargo would be unloaded off the ship and put on wagons and taken overland and loaded onto another ship waiting on the other side.

It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that the project to construct the canal was revived, being based on the Suez and Panama canals, and it was in October 1893 that the canal was finally opened.

There is a bridge over the canal from which you can do a bungy jump but on the day we went through the canal there were no bungy jumpers, just a lot of sightseers with cameras.

Margaret Deal

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