Monday, December 8, 2014

Panama Cruise - Part Three

Through the Panama Canal (Caribbean side)

Up before dawn because we did not want to miss any of the activity when our ship went through the locks.  I think our alarm was set for 5:00 a.m. which for us is so early.  Grabbed some coffee and up on decks 9 and 10 for several hours.  Fun watching the sun come up.  Looking forward to an exciting day.

Before the sun is up we are entering harbor through the breakwater


 Cranes at this busy port

Passengers awaiting the crossing

 Spare lock gates

 Lock boat pulling up to help us get line up properly

 Track that will kept our ship going along straight

 Ships can go through in two lanes, we are in right lane
Ship in left lane is ahead of us in higher lock

 Container ship on left going through, lock almost full and it will be
pulled forward by motor car on tracks

Gate closed and water filling on right 

 Huge container ship, water raising ship up higher.  You can't see ship's name
on this photo, but on another photo you can clearly see name.

 Water emptying out of lock rapidly

You can see how ship has risen up from other photo

Beautiful grounds around canal

  Looking back to the harbor

The end of the Atlantic end locks

 Again, looking back to where we had come from

 They took down lifeboats to transport passengers who were going on day trips.  

I liked that they used the lifeboats.  Good to have those motors
running and know they worked.

 Front view of a ship in the lock

From the Canal we went out into Lake Gatun for several hours and then turned around and came back through again.  Going through the Canal was very interesting, a true engineering marvel.  The cost in money and human life to building the canal was so high, but it has had a significant impact on world trade.  Using the Canal vs. going around Cape Horn, where about 100 ships have sunk has made shipping much safer and saved numerous lives.

An extension in being built in the canal now to hold a third lane, and the Chinese are building a new canal in Nicaragua.

So glad we were able to take this trip and see this for ourselves.  Hope you'd enjoyed our trip through. One more blog to wrap up this trip.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Magnificent Cartagena - Panama Canal Cruise - Part Two

This was my favorite city on our cruise.  From the moment we approached the harbor in the early morning to see the sun shinning on the bright white high rises it took my breath away.  I was shocked as this was not my expectation.  I just could not stop taking pictures and instantly fell in love with this city.

In 1984, Cartagena was designated as a World Heritage Site.  There is truly only one Cartagena, a wonderful and unique city.

Early morning - my first sight of Cartagena

Our little tugboat pulling up along side us

Area while walking out of port

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas
building began 1536, completed 1654

Blas de Lezo, defender of the fort.  Amputated arm and leg.

Las Palenqueras
Fruit basket ladies

It was a tourist madhouse.  You could tell the ship was in
vendors every where selling everything.  Not too aggressive.

View from the Hill at La Popa Monastery

Our cruise ship at the dock

Magnificent city

La Candelaria Convent

Chapel Virgin de la Candelaria

Shakira's Barefoot Foundation just built & dedicated this school 2/14

Marevly - our tour guide

Inside the Walled City 
Beautiful old buildings, narrow streets

Statute "La Gordita" by Fernando Botero

Church of Santo Domingo
Oldest church in the city, 1551

 Fishermen Mimes, put money in their bucket and
they reel in a fish then go back to being still

Plaza Bolivar

Gold Museum
Our goal on the tour

Amazing gold display
Some pre-Colombian antiquities

Left side tribal nose rings

James #10 - Colombia's Soccer World Cup hero

Surprising and fun metal sculptures in a square in the Walled City


An intense chess game

Cathedral of San Pedro Claver
Begun 1575
Interesting story:

Wonderful sculptures all over the city
Father Claver, friend to slaves

One tall wall to protect the city

Statute in harbor of Virgin Carmen to protect navigators

Lands end - Castillo Grande lighthouse buried in between high rises.


It was so hard to leave this city.  There were so many things to see, do, taste.  This was by far my favorite port o'call on the trip and I hope to return some day and give the time due this charming place.  I will never forget how I felt when we started entering the harbor - entranced.