Posted by: gardner310 | February 20, 2009

I Forgot to Buy a Hat!

 

Cristobal Port Market, Panama

Cristobal Port Market, Panama

 It is now cruise #2 for the Gardners on the Zuiderdam.  Cruise #1 went as well as can be expected considering we were stumbling our way through procedures, directions and learning things like where the officers’ laundry is.  As in any new job, you feel very unorganized until you actually determine your own system for handling the processes.   I feel better today, having completed the first “End of Cruise” report and a power point presentation we need to broadcast.

 

 

Original Gates

Original Gates

So-my reflections on the Panama Canal.  This is one amazing feat of engineering, especially considering when it was built.  The fact that the gates for the locks are the originals is pretty staggering in itself.  The photo shows one of the gates as we pass through.  Our ship has a clearance of 4.5 feet or 2.25ft on each side.  Doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, does it?  A ship the size of ours pays between $300,000 and $350,000 to make the transit, which explains the high port taxes and fees you pay for this voyage.

 

Our Ship, ms Zuiderdam, transiting the canal

Our Ship, ms Zuiderdam, transiting the canal

 

I was lucky enough to be on the return portion of a shore excursion that stopped at one of the observations points and we all saw the Zuiderdam make the transit back through the locks.  It is very unusual to be able to see your own ship from land. 

Along with the canal, I went on a rainforest walk and boat ride to see the flora and fauna of Panama.  We managed to see a toucan, a very rare event, evidently.  Even the guide had not seen a toucan!  The usual leaf cutter ants, monkeys, butterflies and sloths were sighted to the delight of the passengers.  No crocodiles seen on this boat trip but a lovely ride nonetheless.

Our  River Boat

   

Leaf Cutter Ants 

                                        Leaf Cutter Ants

 

 


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