Panama Stopover – 4 days

Going through the Panama Canal, surprisingly, only takes 1 day.  We went in convoy with DLL and Jamaica, rafting through the main lock gates.  Its a unique opportunity if you get the chance as the pictures don’t really capture the engineering achievement to build this (its little surprise that so many died in its making) and also the greenness of the rain forest around.  Our pilot was a wealth of knowledge and answered the barrage of questions from the crew.  Team Garmin got into the spirit and looked smart in our black t-shirts and newly purchased Panama hats.

We had the company of a few vessels which made for fantastic photo opportunities.  One was an old style square rigger and the second a huge cargo ship.  The larger vessels are guided through with the help of either the barge boats or the trains on the side of the canals.    We did manage to get into old town part of Panama city, which reminded me a lot of the french quarter in some of the old colonial countries.  There is obviously a lot of proverty as the buildings are badly maintained but there seems to be a programme of renovation going on.  It provided a great place to walk and some stunning venues for cocktails and dinner.  Eating alfresco was a real treat.  With access to wifi, I always try and catch up with family and friends so the break, as we waited for the rest of the fleet to pass through the Canal, was put to good use.  We had the welcome return of Carter in Panama.  It was a relief to see he had fully recovered from his operation and able to continue the journey with us.

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