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.
SAN BLAS ISLANDS
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.
FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC
VIA THE PANAMA CANAL
Our transit through the canal started at 6am with the arrival of the
Richard watching the transit from a comfortable chair beneath the
Canal Flag, a signal the Panamanian Pilot is on the bridge.
Mechanical “Mules” attach cables at $3,000 each and pull the ship along.
The Wind Star required two.
The Wind Star carried us along under beautiful bridges
past the tropical prison digs of General Manuel Noriega, deposed dictator of Panama and former powerful Drug Lord.
In 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
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.
PACIFIC PORTS OF CALL
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.
In Drake Bay, Costa Rica, Richard found the ground covered with tiny fuchsia flower petals…like a Buddhist’s prayer…
and tropical blooms right out of a dream.
While ashore, we enjoyed distant views of the Wind Star.
As 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.
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