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Published: January 12th 2008
The Panama Canal and Puerto Amador, Panama
We entered the Canal yesterday, Jan. 9, 2008. It took most of the day to go the 50 miles through all of the locks to the Pacific Ocean. The first was the Gatun locks. We go up a series of three locks from the Caribbean Sea to Gatun Lake which is 26 meters higher. The locks are each 110’ wide and 1000’ long. “Mules” or mechanical engines pull the ships along to guide them through. At the beginning, a Panamanian Captain boards the ship to take control through the whole trip. When we get to the end of the lake, the locks take us down to the Pacific Ocean. At the end, a tug boat pulls along side, and the Captain jumps off, and the tug takes him ashore. We pass under the Celestial Bridge, a beautiful structure, and later the Trans America Bridge. The road over the bridge begins in Panama City and goes all the way to Canada, but the only way to go south is by ferry or plane as no highways go that direction.
Last night we anchored off Puerto Amador, a suburb of Panama City, if you will. Dinner continues to be interesting. Each night Rodger (not sure about the d) rises and asks the other “gents” to toast the ladies. This has become a ritual. He says he does this so he knows his legs still work after sitting for a few minutes. Anyway, it’s a nice gesture. We are having lots of laughs, and we now call her Ladyship, Marie Louise. Who knows what we’ll be calling her by the end of the trip. She has lived in Singapore 22 years, and other countries, too. Quite an interesting woman. Our Canadian friends are fun, too. We are almost always the last ones to leave the dining room.
Today we took a train ride back to the Atlantic Ocean, and saw things from land. We saw the locks, lots of former military bases and housing. We rode back by bus and crossed a large dam on the way. They are building a toll road from coast to coast and we were on it for a while. When it’s completed, the trip should take about an hour instead of three. The Panamanians now run the canal, as you know, and there is no longer any military presence here at all. A lot of condo towers are being built in Panama City, some of them by The Donald. New owners don’t have to pay property taxes for twelve years.
We had a good day and are now under sail again. This time we will be at sea for nine days! Actually, we are looking forward to having some time to relax and settle in a bit more. I think I have finally figured out how to add pictures so we’ll put some on more often now.
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