This Chapter describes the harbour called Ebugur

This Ebugur 117 is a broad and excellent natural harbour. Before the harbour there is a tower and four miles exactly northeast of that tower there is an island. There are two channels between the island and the tower. The first is located a mile and a half southwest of the island and the depth is eighteen spans. The second channel is located southwest of the first and its depth is a bit more than twelve spans. There is no passage anywhere else, there being numerous scattered islets of rock here. Some are mere rocks over which sea washes. If big bargias wish to reach Ebugur however, they cannot enter through these channels for they are not deep enough. Instead they should proceed eastward from the north eastern side of the big island and then round to the southeast taking soundings until they come near the shore. After that, a hill of white sand appears to the south by the sea and they set straight for that hill in four fathoms of water. There they drop anchor on two sides and so lie. When proceeding coastwise along here they will pass through six fathoms of water. In the case of galleons and galleys on the other hand, there are two more channels on the east-south-eastern side. In other words, there are two more channels besides the ones near the shore through which big bargias may pass. They are midway between the big island and the channel through which the big bargias pass. Some bargias on the other hand place the island to their northwest and drop anchor there and so lie. The depth where the ship lies is four fathoms. The bottom is fine coral and sand though it turns to muddy sand as one proceeds from Ebugur to Reşid. When approaching Ebugur Adası118 in a big bargia, they should proceed more than a mile along the east-northeast side. The sea all around the island is foul and they should be wary of it. A mile and a half out to sea there is a shoal over which there are three fathoms of water. They should not proceed unless they take soundings all the while. Galleys may approach and enter through the two channels on the north-western side and approaching closer lie opposite the tower. But they should not approach the shore for it is too shallow. Only small craft and caiques may reach the shore.

Now the landmark of Ebugur harbour from the sea is this. First one sees a high place like an island, on the summit of which is a grove of date palms and white buildings. From a distance it resembles a prosperous place. One should approach them and on the seashore of the north-eastern side of those buildings the bastion of Ebugur will become visible. One may also recognise it by Ebugur Island as has been mentioned. Arab seamen call this island Garo119. It is a low-lying island and one should proceed about a mile away from it along both the east-southeast and the southwest sides, for the sea is rocky and foul. From Ebugur it is thirty miles to Raşid Boğazı120. On the way is the mouth of a lagoon they call Uştum.121 There are two mouths to this lagoon but this is not a place to approach in a ship for the sea is foul and full of shallows as far as Nil Ağzı122. On the Reşid side of these channels two miles inland there is a big village that the Arabs call Utku123. On the southern side of that village is a big lake that connects to the Nil river.

Let it be known as such and so much that.

117 Abukir. Bay and village between the Rosetta mouth of the Nile and Alexandria. The site of ancient Canopus, Abukir was the scene of three important battles involving variously the French, British and Turks between 1798 and 1801.

118 Jazirat Gharw. Small island at the entrance of Abukir harbour.

119 Arab name for Abuklir island.

120 Rosetta Mouth. The western branch of the Nile River in the Nile Delta. It was called the Bolbitinic mouth in ancient times.

121 Buhaayrat Idku would appear to be the only possible candidate.

122 Literally “The Mouth of the Nile”. In ancient times the Nile had seven branches in its delta; today there are two principal mouths: Rosetta on the west and Damietta on the east.

123 Idku. Village on the north-western shore of Buhayrat Idku.