Why are we blogging?

We thoroughly enjoyed the blogs from those on the World Cruise 2010. They were so useful and some were also very entertaining and so we we started our own, late 2010, ready for the 2011 cruise(s).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 74 - The Panama Canal - now crossed off Paula's bucket list August 6th

Paula’s early start proved to be spot on as when we dived out of bed at 6am, we were just about into the first lock on this highlight of the trip, the Gatun Lock.  It was raining quite steadily and after getting dressed, we took a few pics from the balcony then joined many others up on deck.  The anticipated mad rush to the buffet didn’t eventuate, though it was a little busier than normal.  The ship marked time for a while until it was time to move on.
The ship’s photo staff had been happily handing out card posters so that people could write their own messages, hang them over the balconies or from the open deck, in the vague expectation that someone would be able to read them from the lock web cams. We made up our own too!  Several we spied had tiny lettering on and there was no way in the world that anyone would have been able to read them from a distance, but no doubt they felt good about it.
Ours was attached by the ever useful cable ties once the sun had come out again.  There was no dance class so we enjoyed a coffee and  a chat instead.
The second set of locks were the Pedro Miguel set and the ship’s video photographers were on land and one was in a helicopter filming from above.
There is no point in going through the history of this amazing piece of engineering though the loss of 30,000 lives 100 years ago during the building is a sobering thought.  Who knows how today’s safety obsessed bureaucrats would have seen things.  It would probably still be on the drawing board but we are grateful to those who pioneered the project.
Not long before we approached the most publicised and tourist friendly Miraflores Locks, the rains returned and made our poster a little soggy.  Paula took most of the day’s still pics whilst Birdie (Emu) and I concentrated on video and waving to the crowds at the spectator area.
The rear of the ship did clout the side of the lock a couple of times so we are not sure whether any damage was caused.  The ‘mules’, those locomotives don’t tow the ship, they are attached by cables each side (there is only a 30cm clearance!) and they are there to stop the ship hitting the sides, so we don’t really know what happened.
Once through the locks we headed out to the Pacific Ocean, passed Panama City in the distance, so we are nearly home now...
The remainder of our team were zizzing rather than quizzing, so we joined Brian, Merrilyn and Roger and helped them to 9/20 instead.  We didn’t win.
The dining room meal was a full table as usual, but we are often somewhat surprised at the different portion sizes and tonight was a classic example. Paula and Ros had “mushrooms stuffed with risotto”. Sounds OK but there were just four tiny button mushrooms and a couple of token pieces of vegetable.  This was remedied by a request for ‘more herbed prawns’ from another main and the usual extra vegetables.
Paula & I skipped the show and took part in Alana & Alan’s general knowledge quiz instead.  We came fourth - equal with all the other losers!
Bed at about 11:35 and yet another hour back for the clocks and devices. We are now 18 hours behind NZ (I think).

A sea day again tomorrow and we are still discussing our plans for next year.  We had booked on the Sun Princess from Dubai to Dover but that may change. Although Air Travel can be frustrating, we tend to overlook the fact that ALL passengers and ALL crew had to get off the ship in Fort Lauderdale for processing.  It appears that the US is still a place to avoid if at all possible - unless you intend staying there at all.  Los Angeles on Monday August 15th will be interesting.

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