Many say that Panama City looks a lot like Miami Beach, Fla.
Bridge of the Americas (left) is an impressive structure. We had this
wonderful view right off the stern of Quest while staying at the Balboa
Yacht Club in Panama City.
we arrived at the Balboa Yacht Club in Panama we were able to find
mooring close to Lazy Bones. (right) These moorings can be hard to come
by - and the Yacht Club takes NO reservations. They provide water taxi
service around the clock. This is a good idea since the currents coming
out of the canal can be tremendous.
we are at TGIFriday's in Panama after a successful trip from Costa Rica.
Our first desire was to find a place to have a cool drink and relax.
(Pictured here, left: Harvey, Delia, Scott & Jean.)
arriving in Panama we took a tour of the Canal. Here we are entering the
first of three locks that will raise us to Lake Gatun where we will
traverse the country at its narrowest part. Then we will be lowered by
three more locks to the Atlantic Ocean.
we enter the first lock (left) we can look back at the Bridge of the
Americas and the Port of Panama. Also, check out those large tractors,
called "mules" because they help move the large ships through the locks.
The Chinese have taken over the management of the canal since the
Americans left and have provided this much needed new machinery.
we are (right) in the Mira Flores Lock (the first lock). One of the
reasons we're so happy is that the weather is considerably cooler than
it's been in two months. And the Quest is not a cruise ship, it's a sail
boat. Behind us you see the gates that hold back the water from above.
is a view from the Mira Flores observation building. These large
container ships are called "Panamax" ships because they are built to fit
inside the locks of the Panama Canal with only a few feet to spare.
These electric locomotive engines keep the ships in the center of the
locks by means of large steel cables. The ships themselves go through
the canal on their own power. The water entering and leaving the locks
creates tremendous turbulence which can be problematic for small boats.
are lucky that our tour boat can raft next to this tug boat. (right)
It's much cleaner than having your boat against the dirty wall of the
is a new bridge for crossing over the canal (left). You can see the new
range marker that tells whether you need to steer your boat to port or
starboard. A green light would tell you that you're a bit too far to
this cut (and other dredging) was made the causeway was built to the
south of the entrance of the canal on the Pacific side. Not only does
this provide a place for depositing all the dirt and rock from the
canal, but it also protects the canal entrance from ocean surge from the
water and dammed up lakes keep Lake Gatun full. (left) It is this water
that allows the locks to raise and lower the ships. This spillway is
opened when water is needed in Lake Gatun.
was pretty amazing to come this close to these huge ships as we
traversed the canal. Our tour guide was terrific, giving us lots of
history and interesting facts about the canal.
are many islands in Lake Gatun. Some of these islands provide
recreational spots for the Panamanians who have boats.
and widening is constantly going on in the canal as seen on the right.
along the lake and throughout Panama the rain forest was exquisite with
flowering trees and plants.
Gatun was created by a dam which keeps the lake at a constant level.
how cruisers "gussy up" for a night on the town. Panama City had
numerous attractive and delicious restaurants from which to choose.
visited Old Town Panama City on a Saint's Day. It is common to have
religious parades through the streets of Central American countries.
view of the church from across the square. This "Old Town" area was
built during the French influence in Panama.
are various views of the buildings of Old Town, Panama City.
Is Tony in trouble?? (right) Stay tuned to find out.
More shots of Old Town Panama.
are also many government buildings in this area.
view across the bay is of downtown Panama City. It looks a lot like
Panama is a very poor country with many dwellings similar to the
multistoried aqua building you see here. The poverty has intensified
since the Americans have been asked to relinquish the Canal and abandon
their large army and navy bases.
ruins come from the era of Spanish exploration. There was a very large
population living on this site! The Panamanians are in the process of
restoring these fabulous structures.
were many ruins that told a story of the early settlers. Thousands of
people lived in this area.
structures were incredibly large. I think that I'm fascinated by this
site because we forget about the Spanish presence here in Panama. This
site told a story of quite a thriving community.
Neat arch! Don't you think? (Tony's Photo)