THE CURSE OF THE CORINTH CANAL
I remember the day we sailed Exit Only through the 4 mile long Corinth Canal that joins the Ionian Sea with the Aegean Sea. The canal turns what would have been a five hundred mile voyage into a four mile trip.
The canal has a long and storied history taking nearly 2000 years to construct.
Ancient emperors expressed an interest in building the canal, but tradition has it that there was a curse on emperors who took an interest in its construction.
The canal had its first inauspicious start by Tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC, and it went downhill from there. The history reminds me of the popular TV show - The Curse of Oak Island.
This is the history as reported by Wikipedia:
“Several rulers of antiquity dreamed of digging a cutting through the isthmus. The first to propose such an undertaking was the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC. The project was abandoned and Periander instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland portage road, named the Diolkos or stone carriageway, along which ships could be towed from one side of the isthmus to the other. Periander's change of heart is attributed variously to the great expense of the project, a lack of labour or a fear that a canal would have robbed Corinth of its dominant role as an entrepôt for goods. Remnants of the Diolkos still exist next to the modern canal.
The Diadoch Demetrius Poliorcetes (336–283 BC) planned to construct a canal as a means to improve his communication lines, but dropped the plan after his surveyors, miscalculating the levels of the adjacent seas, feared heavy floods.
The philosopher Apollonius of Tyana prophesied that anyone who proposed to dig a Corinthian canal would be met with illness. Three Roman rulers considered the idea but all suffered violent deaths; the historians Plutarch and Suetonius both wrote that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar considered digging a canal through the isthmus but was assassinated before he could begin the project. Caligula, the third Roman Emperor, commissioned a study in 40 AD from Egyptian experts who claimed incorrectly that the Corinthian Gulf was higher than the Saronic Gulf. As a result, they concluded, if a canal were dug the island of Aegina would be inundated. Caligula's interest in the idea got no further as he too was assassinated before making any progress.
The emperor Nero was the first to attempt to construct the canal, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil in 67 AD, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards. The Roman workforce, consisting of 6,000 Jewish prisoners of war, started digging 40–50-metre-wide (130–160 ft) trenches from both sides, while a third group at the ridge drilled deep shafts for probing the quality of the rock (which were reused in 1881 for the same purpose). According to Suetonius, the canal was dug to a distance of four stades – approximately 700 metres (2,300 ft) – or about a tenth of the total distance across the isthmus. A memorial of the attempt in the form of a relief of Hercules was left by Nero's workers and can still be seen in the canal cutting today. Other than this, as the modern canal follows the same course as Nero's, no remains have survived.”
So there you have it.
Maybe there should be a TV show called “The Curse of the Corinth Canal” with the premise that the Knights Templar hid the holy grail and the arc of the covenant beneath the floor of the canal.
I am sure the TV show would be a resounding success. It has all the elements necessary to appeal to the masses. A curse, Knights Templar, the holy grail, the arc of the covenant, and most important of all - an ancient conspiracy that goes back more than 2000 years.
The Corinth Canal was a great idea as far as I am concerned. It only took an hour to motor from the Aegean Sea to the Ionian Sea, and so I count it a success.
Unfortunately, the canal is too narrow to be used for commercial shipping, and landslides, earthquakes, and wars have prevented it from being a commercial success.
Now you know the curse of the Corinth Canal.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.