26 Jan 2013
Left ship is in lock where water level has not changed. Right ship is higher water that will be same as when she exits.
Costa ship now has been lifted to the higher water level.
Right hand lock is now draining water to lower level to get ready for the next ship
Gate is closing behind cruise ship as it departs lock.
Left lock now draining to left side to drop to same level as right side. The little bridge is moved aside every time the gate opens. It takes a while to maneuver the ships so the little bridge is available probably 90% of the time.
25 Jan 2013
Cruise the Panama Canal with us? Click here. We are scheduled to enter the first lock at 7:30 AM EST Friday Jan 25, and be through about nine hours later.
Our ship has three webcams, facing straight and left and right.
Alternatively the canal has its own webcams in case you want to see us moving along.
I was deluged with facts and figures all day about the canal. It’s big, took lots of lives, time and money and moves lots of water and big boats. I will have forgotten all the numbers by tomorrow so I won't bore you.
However the one item that will stick with me is that in parts of Panama itself, the sun rises in the Pacific and sets over the Atlantic Ocean. Now that's cool.
24 Jan 2013
Cartagena, the fifth largest city in Colombia (behind Bogota and three I never heard of) is surprisingly lovely and clean. I expected third world.
It was the first mainland port ever in South America. That made it a hub for shipping out precious medals to Europe that were ripped off of locals.
Consequently, that in turn made it a mecca for pirates and other bad guys.
And, consequently to that, they built the biggest walled city in the Americas. It still stands and is used today.
We toured via horse-drawn carriage.
Cartagena Pronunciation Prediction – Probably you (like I was) pronounced the last syllable nya whereas it is na (hard n; no y sound). That is not as interesting as to why most of us are wrong. The reason is that Michael Douglas pronounced it wrong in the 1984 movie Romancing the Stone and it has stayed with us since then.
23 Jan 2013
Today was Aruba. Been there; done that. In fact here is one of my Mom and boys there circa 1977.
Aruba is so far south in the Caribbean that it is only 15 miles from Venezuela.
It is always windy in Aruba with trade winds blowing from the northeast.
The island is full of pretty divi divi trees always pointing southwest. The constant winds are extreme enough so that the trunk is either at a 45 degree angle or parallel to the ground instead of vertical.
22 Jan 2013
Within the last few years the Netherlands Antilles has split up and now Curacao is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The pastel painted buildings of Curacao are world famous. A 19th century Governor had migraines that he attributed to the reflection of the bright sun on the white buildings. He had a decree issued outlawing white buildings.
Sephardic Congregation, Mikvé Israel, completed in 1732, is the oldest continuously active Jewish congregation in the Americas. As is often the case in old synagogues, it was founded by Jewish families originally expelled from Spain and Portugal. In this instance they fled to Amsterdam and then to Curacao. They have 18 Torahs over 300 years old.