95. Panama Canal
Aboard another Carnival ship, we cruised to Panama, then north to Costa Rica, and Belize. In Panama, we took the shore tour, transferring to a smaller ferry to transit the Panama Canal. Did you know that ships travel 48 miles west to east to go from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean?
Most of the time is going up and down – 3 lifts up to Lake Gatun, a single flight down at Pedro Miguel, and a two-step flight down at Miraflores on the Pacific side. Twenty-six million gallons of water have to flow by gravity into the chambers to lift a ship.
We saw a ship loaded with Hondas from Japan going the opposite direction in the parallel lock. It was going very slow because there was only 2 ft of clearance on the sides. An expansion project to accommodate larger ships began in 2007, and opened for commercial use in 2016.
Ahead of us, sharing the chamber, was a small sailboat, perhaps 32-35’ in length. I imagined they were on a round-the-world cruise like I dreamed of when I was young.
Once on the Pacific side, at Miraflores, we transferred to buses for the ride back to the Caribbean side, and our ship.
There was a short cruise to Costa Rica, then on to Belize. At both stops, we did not take shore tours. At Belize we rode the tender ashore and sat on the dock to get a closer look at the colorful storefronts prepared to attract tourists.
A year later, we had our last cruise, going to Montego Bay at Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. Well, we hope it will not be our last cruise; only a pause to get ready for another. Cruises are too much fun! Betty enjoys not having to cook or do laundry, and I enjoy eating. Maybe we can justify going on another cruise so I can gain weight!
Next week is Halloween, so for a change of pace, I’m planning a surprise!