Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Open Sea to Panama Canal

Best to post while the going is good!
Our visit to Panama started by going to anchor a mile off-shore of the idyllic

where the 'locals were quick to greet us in all forms of vessel.
Note - the little girl is baling as quickly as those paddling.
We were invited to visit the tiny community on El Provenir Island where just c10 species of birds were recorded.


This being the home of the KUNI INDIANs
At the end of the airfield runway some newly laid turf, the envy of any 'turf farmer' worth his salt. Take a long look Hugh, this is how to do it properly!
I have spent much of the past couple of weeks with fellow 'birders' Rob and Carol     who's company and knowledge has been much enjoyed.
A few 'good-bye' shots as we headed for the ship and onward to the Panama Canal.

Both INSECTs were found dead on the ship this morning.
We entered the GATUN LOCKS at 05:30 this morning
and took the one hour voyage to the lake of the same name.
During this period, leaving the Caribbean (Atlantic Ocean) behind us,
along with the Chemical Tanker 'SPRUCE', registered in Bergen, Norway,
we passed through the 3 locks from sea-level to 85 feet above that, under our own power
but being kept level by these mechanical devises still known as MULES
as it was these animals that performed the task in the early days of the Canal.
Entering the GATUN LAKE
One for 'The Wingers' get your Motor Home down there Matey!!!!

There is a very simple equation that relates to the working of the Panama Canal,
No Fresh Water No Panama Canal,
No Rain Forest No Fresh Water,
Chop down the forest, loose the vital trade link between 2 mighty oceans
Lowering the ships Tender. 

ll Canal photographs © Jacqui Kempson
As if flicking a switch the cruise has, at least for the time being, come to an end. Seven weeks of what I have enjoyed as ‘luxury’, comprising ‘top quality’ food and drink, comfortable accommodation, the very best of service and in part the good company of fellow passengers. Add to this the great geographical interest en-route, it is an experience I would strongly recommend to those who wish to see a good proportion of the world (for much less than a King’s ransom) in a relatively short time in safety and comfort. For the next leg of my journey I doubt there will be much of the latter, but a continuation of the ‘Great Game’ doesn’t necessarily rely on that!
During my 48 years as a mariner I had been privileged to serve with some of the ‘best in the game’, so it was refreshing to witness that the profession is still in the safe hands of the crew of M/V Voyager. Captain Neil and his Officers kept us safe in all respects, updating us on a daily basis (course, speed, distance covered, weather etc) and afforded us a rare glimpse into the workings of the bridge of a ship at sea. What I might describe as the Corporate Department was, in every respect, totally committed to resolving any and all passenger issues, while my highest accolade has to go to Catering and Housekeeping Departments. All worked tirelessly to provide the highest standard of menu and restaurant service, an immaculate cabin service all in the most cheerful and respectful manner. Never at any time did I feel that anything was ‘too much trouble’ for any member of this fine team.

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