Convoy of container ships transiting the Suez Canal loom through air thick with desert sand, Great Bitter Lake, Ismalia, Egypt, Northeast Africa
Eleanor Scriven/© Eleanor Scriven
The Great Bitter Lake and the Small Bitter Lake are saltwater lakes that exist today as parts of the Suez Canal, but were originally dry valleys before the canal flooded them. The lakes have seen their share of the effects of warfare in the region. During World War II, the lakes were put to strategic use when the Allies used them as a place to mothball captured Italian warships. In 1967, during the Six-Day War, the entire canal was closed, which left 15 ships trapped in the lakes until 1975. Because of the desert sand that covered their decks, these ships became known as the Yellow Fleet. The fleet became a community over time, with the crews sharing resources and even setting up their own post office and movie nights.