Thursday 6th August
Our ship arrived at Panama city at about 4.45 this morning. We surfaced about 5.15 awakened by the flashing lights from the pilot. We then stood out on our balcony, as did many others watching daylight arrive before we were escorted into the first lock soon after 7 am. We went and had some breakfast just after we went through the last of the entrance locks. After breaky we went back to bed to catch up on a bit of lost sleep. It truly is quite and experience and an amazing piece of engineering. We sailed through the central big man made lake where the ships traveling from east to west wait to travel on. We have seen one or two crocks, considered a workplace hazard, along the way. They are widening the canal to allow big modern ships to pass each other. At the present time the only places they can pass is in the lakes. We also then waited our turn before being guided into the next set of locks about lunchtime to complete our journey through the canal. There are a couple of large bridges that we go under, across the canal. We are now in the Caribbean Sea heading north to our next port of call, Cartagena, Columbia, which we should reach about 8am in the morning. The weather had been very mild, nowhere near as hot as it usually is or as forecast. It’s usually stifling hot at almost any time of the year. It took approximately 9 hours from when we were joined by the pilot on the Pacific side till when we exited the canal on the Eastern seaboard
After dinner, we went to see the documentary on the building of the Panama Canal. It was commenced by the French in the late 1800’s and abandoned due to deaths from yellow fever, before they knew that mosquitoes were the cause, lack of finance and the difficult terrain. The Americans later took on the project and it was completed on Jan 7th 1914.