CHANGES IN LATITUDE CHANGES IN ATTITUDE

Feeling every bit like Dorothy as she stood holding Toto and staring in amazement at the sparkling Emerald City of Oz, Richard and I were enchanted by our first glimpse of the stunning skyline of Panama City, Panama.

IMG_0002IMG_0011Beautiful people.
IMG_0017Exotic fauna.
IMG_0009Brilliant flora.
IMG_0044

Once we boarded the four-masted  WIND STAR
IMG_0151
settled into our state room
IMG_0136and watched from the deck as the ship sailed from Puerto Colon into the Caribbean Sea
IMG_0021we knew we weren’t “ in Kansas anymore”.

SAN BLAS ISLANDS

IMG_0050IMG_0052

Viewing the San Blas Islands from the bridge with our new friend, England-born
Second Officer, Stephen.
Small World…turns out he lives practically next door here in New Mexico
when not navigating the high seas.

Once ashore,  we found molas, more molas and achingly beautiful beaches.

IMG_0042IMG_0043IMG_0048

FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC
VIA THE PANAMA CANAL

Pm-mapBecause of the “S” shape of Panama, the canal opens North into the Atlantic
and South into the Pacific Ocean.

IMG_0118Our transit through the canal started at 6am with the arrival of the
Panamanian pilot.
IMG_0078Richard watching the transit from a comfortable chair beneath the
Canal Flag, a signal the Panamanian Pilot is on the bridge.
IMG_0068Mechanical “Mules” attach cables at $3,000 each and pull the ship along.
The Wind Star required two.

IMG_0060Tug Boats, like floating bumper cars, scoot around herding boats into proper position.

IMG_0076The changing water level within the locks raises or lowers the ship.
When the lock gates open, the tug escorts us forward into the next lock.

The Wind Star carried us along under beautiful bridges
IMG_0091past the tropical prison digs of General Manuel Noriega, deposed dictator of Panama and former powerful Drug Lord.
IMG_0089In the canal we meet enormous cargo ships that reduce their voyage by nearly 8,000 miles by taking this shortcut across the Isthmus instead of sailing around
Cape Horn.

IMG_0107DSC00821This container ship passing through the Miraflores locks requires $12,000 dollars worth of cables. With canal tax (calculated by weight and size), the total cost must be astronomical.

PANAMA CANAL FACTS
(JUST A FEW)

 *Less than 500 years after VASCO NUNEZ de BALBOA slogged, chopped and floated a path across the snake infested, mosquito ridden Isthmus of Panama to become the first European to gaze upon the Pacific Ocean, more than 40 cargo and pleasure craft a day move through the 12 locks to travel the 51 mile length of the Panama Canal.

*The French broke ground on January 1, 1880, spent $260 million dollars, lost some 20,000 lives, eventually admitted defeat and sold out to the Americans for $40 million dollars.

*The US started work in 1904. Ten years later, after a cost of $375 million dollars and a loss of 5,609 lives, the first ship passed through the Panama Canal.

*In 2008,The Disney ship Magical Kingdom paid $313,000 for a one way trip through the canal.

**Read “The Path Between the Seas” by David McCullough for the complete story of this engineering marvel.

450px-Anayansi03Homage to Balboa in Panama City

PACIFIC PORTS OF CALL
IMG_0146
The Wind Star anchored off shore several times as we sailed north along the western coast of Panama and Costa Rica. We slapped ashore in Zodiacs to enjoy a day of snorkeling, swimming, hiking, birding or exploring.
IMG_0167In Drake Bay, Costa Rica, Richard found the ground covered with tiny fuchsia flower petals…like a Buddhist’s prayer…
IMG_0176and tropical blooms right out of a dream.
IMG_0169IMG_0170IMG_0165While ashore, we enjoyed distant views of the Wind Star.
IMG_0151As we neared Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, our sail nearly over, we prepared  to leave shipboard life behind. We will forever remember charming crew like Ragam from The Philippines, divine food (Yes, it was a “bloat and float” trip but constant physical activity kept the pounds off.), open ocean sunsets and our new friend and Costa Rican bird guide, Elliot.
IMG_0142IMG_0184IMG_0182DSC00836(1)I wanted to turn around and take the same trip all over again.
I loved it so.
***

To be continued: 
CHANGES IN LATITUDE
CHANGES IN ATTITUDE
COSTA RICA

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4 thoughts on “CHANGES IN LATITUDE CHANGES IN ATTITUDE

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