Panama and the Canal

Panama City was bigger than I expected and one thought I take away from both there and Colon (the other side of the canal), traffic and driving is unreal.  Fear for your life or shut your eyes.  Could be I haven’t been in any traffic lately and that’s my problem.

Panamanian Meal. The drink was sugar cane.

Panamanian Meal. The drink was sugar cane.

Somehow I am always ready to eat!

Panama City in the background as we gather to raft up with Derry and UNICEF

Panama City in the background as we gather to raft up with Derry and UNICEF

The Pilot boat is moving to deliver our pilots, fixing to get serious here.

The Pilot boat is moving to deliver our pilots, fixing to get serious here.

We rafted up 3 abreast and each boat had a pilot that rode with us and worked with the Skippers on what they needed to know.  They stayed with us til afternoon and then we were left to wait for the next pilot to appear.

Here comes our guy!

Here comes our guy!

Giant step!

Giant step!

Through the bridge and away we go!

Through the bridge and away we go!

“The Panamá Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is a man-made 48-mile (77 km) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 metres (85 ft)above sea level. The current locks are 33.5 metres (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016, and is due to open in June 2016.”  Taken from Wikipedia.  It has some great information on the canal.  We went through the original locks.

Moving into position behind the big boat Val Rossa.

Moving into position behind the big boat ValRossa.  If you look carefully you can see her already in the lock ahead.

We have a man up on the side that is going to throw a line to us. Actually one for the bow (front) and for the stern (back) of the boat

We have a man up on the side that is going to throw a line to us. Actually one for the bow (front) and for the stern (back) of the boat

Han attaches the line that is thrown

Han attaches the line that is thrown

Then the two men walk us through to where they then secure us as the water floats us up or down depending which part we are in.

Then the two men walk us through to where they then secure us as the water floats us up or down depending which part we are in.

Tied on and ready to go!

Tied on and ready to go!

The locks are closing behind us.

The locks are closing behind us.

Yes, we have a pelican watching us closely. I am thinking that we have a strange relationship with birds.

Yes, we have a pelican watching us closely. I am thinking that we have a strange relationship with birds.

We are now safely locked in??

We are now safely locked in??  Hmmm, has any boat ever wanted to escape?

The water is starting to rise

The water is starting to rise

We are now at top part of the lock

We are now at top part of the lock

Amazing the view from up here.

Amazing the view from up here.

Moving forward through the lock.

Moving forward through the lock.

Another feathered friend keeping an eye on us. The big equipment behind the bird is what moves the big boats through.

Another feathered friend keeping an eye on us.
The big equipment behind the bird is what moves the big boats through.

If you looked carefully at VALROSSA in front of us you probably noticed there was not much space between them and the sides of the lock.

We did have a person on each boat go up to try to wave to the webcam.

We did have a person on each boat go up to try to wave to the webcam.

No I did not go up for this.  Sean, who likes to be in pictures went up for the ride through.  How did the idea to go up the mast start?  One of my friends from Holland on UNICEF wanted to wave to folks back home like someone did in the previous race.

View from webcam as our raft of three came through. We are on the right .

View from webcam as our raft of three came through. We are on the right .

They actually measure each boat prior to rafting them.  Not sure why because I don’t think boats can get fatter in two years (previous race was 2013-2014).

Getting the awning out so that sun and you got it, rain will not hurt us!!

Getting the awning out so that sun and you got it, rain will not hurt us!!

This turned out to be a great move as we had rain, lightening and thunder as we went through.

The next lock shows the track the auto motive takes to pull the BIG BOATS through while we have the man!

The next lock shows the track the auto motive takes to pull the BIG BOATS through while we have the man!

You might also notice the rain has started.

There were 3 locks going up and 3 going down.

There were 3 locks going up and 3 going down.

 

Scenery as we go through the lake area.

Scenery as we go through the lake area.

Get to pass some BIG boats also.

Get to pass some BIG boats also.

You are lucky that I did not take pictures of all the boats we saw.

And guess what the panama Canal has that I love?

And guess what the panama Canal has that I love?

You guessed it!

You guessed it!

Just gorgeous!

Just gorgeous!

Preparing to enter the locks to start our downward journey.

Preparing to enter the locks to start our downward journey.

First we get to pass a BIG BOAT!

First we get to pass VALROSSA!

They close the locks on us. Actually I liked seeing this in the night time best with the lights.

They close the locks on us. Actually I liked seeing this in the night time best with the lights.

Checking out VALROSSA from another viewpoint

Checking out VALROSSA from another viewpoint

We started at this level, 64 feet.

We started at this level, 64 feet.

Then the locks opened.

Then the locks opened.

Cool how they just fold into the walls.

Cool how they just fold into the walls.

And they let us out at 44 feet.

And they let us out at 44 feet.

Seeing the inner part of the locks

Seeing the inner part of the locks

Very interesting journey.

Very interesting journey.

Once we were at the fuel dock in Shelter Harbor, guess what found us again! Birds!

Once we were at the fuel dock in Shelter Harbor, guess what found us again! Birds!

Met a lady here that sailed out of Waterford in Houston in ’98 with her husband and they never looked back.  Still out on the water enjoying life.

A few dessert items at our hotel in Colon.

A few dessert items at our hotel in Colon.  They were all good!

We took a day and went to Portobelo for a bit of history>

“Portobelo is a port city and corregimiento in Portobelo District, Colón Province, Panama with a population of 4,559 as of 2010.[1] It is the seat of Portobelo District.[1] It was established during the Spanish colonial period. Located on the northern part of the Isthmus of Panama, it has a deep natural harbor and was used as a center for silver exporting before the mid-eighteenth century and destruction in the War of Jenkins’ Ear.”  From Wikipedia.

Went to a small town, Portabello

One of the forts that guarded Portobelo.

Just going to show you pictures of the fort.

Just going to show you pictures of the fort.

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Real old rusty canons.

Real old rusty canons.

View of the water and harbor they were protecting.

View of the water and harbor they were protecting.

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Not going to let anyone by!

Not going to let anyone by!

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?Working on my balance?

?Working on my balance?

Steps made of shells (as in sea shells). At least that was what we were told.

Steps made of shells (as in sea shells). At least that was what we were told.

 

Gruesome foursome Neil, Justin, Sean and John.

Gruesome foursome Neil, Justin, Sean and John.

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Butterflies are good luck and look what I saw!

Butterflies are good luck and look what I saw!

Church in Village up the road

Church in Village up the road

Animals and they are not sea life. Go roosters!

Animals and they are not sea life. Go roosters!

Second fort, Fort San Geronimo

Second fort, Fort San Jeronimo

Interesting

Interesting Guardian of the fort

Much bigger view of the harbor and further down from the entrance.

Much bigger view of the harbor and further down from the entrance.

My guess is a water well. What is yours?

My guess is a water well. What is yours?

Not sure about this.

Not sure about this.

? Pen for stock?

? Pen for stock?

Local boats still being used

Local boats still being used

I just liked this gazebo.

I just liked this gazebo.  Wonder if they have music in the park days.

This was in front of their museum which appeared to be an old armory.

This was in front of their museum which appeared to be an old armory.

A side trip to an island with beautiful beach and lunch!

A side trip to an island with beautiful beach and lunch!  This was the departure to island spot.

10 of us piled into a little boat and made our way over.

10 of us piled into a little boat and made our way over.

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Craig and Jen looking for shells.

Craig and Jen looking for shells.

Working to get a ride back.

Working to get a ride back.

Elaine, it is a bit tippy!

Elaine, it is a bit tippy!

Commander in charge of life jackets!

Commander in charge of life jackets!

Was this LMax stranded on the beach? Nah, couldn't be that was in Rio.

Was this LMax stranded on the beach? Nah, couldn’t be that was in Rio.

Sean.....

Sean…..

My favorite!

My favorite!

And there you have it, our trip through the Panama Canal and a bit of sightseeing!  Fun time even in the hot.

Don’t forget to check out the donation page!!  Just click on DONATE link.  I found out that if you prefer to donate to the US UNICEF, you can, just send me a copy of the receipt and I can get credit for it.  Thanks for making a difference in young people’s lives.

Back to you when we get to Derry in Ireland in about 2 1/2 weeks.  Check out the happenings on the Clipper Round the World website for where the boats are.  http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Do something for me,  make each day special not only for yourself but also for someone else.  It will make you smile!

 

 

 

 

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