Thursday, January 21, 2010

Panama Canal Cruise

Army’s Panama Canal Cruise Adventure
Jan 2,2010 to Jan 16, 2010
January 1 -Jennifer, her husband Paul and I flew to LA and took a shuttle to San Pedro for the night. Lots of Sail boats. I can’t wait to get on the water. Hey Pat, If this is what Group Therapy is like I am sure we would all like to sign up. Maybe this could be considered for our Division Retreat 2010.

Our stops along the way were Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where we went whale watching. Picture is for our favorite pirate, Phillip.
Acapulco, Mexico - where we watched the cliff divers. I tried playing the marimba and drums with my tail.
Huatulco, Mexico - where we saw Spanish folk dances. The local people loved me. I didn’t have the heart to eat my friends ( grasshoppers) a local delicacy.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - where we visited the museum in the town of Baul to see Myan and Taltec artifacts. I found many new friends here. I also saw lots of sugar cane fields. We stopped in the town of La Democratia and saw several large stone carved heads called Olmec “fat heads”
Puntarenas, Costa Rica - where we took a taxi to church. Brother Gil and his wife from Portland were also at church. They were on another ship and I really felt small between the two ships. He served a mission in Puntarenas 30 plus years ago. First person he talked to as he came into the church was a man he baptized as a young elder. I found the Elders here.
Panama Canal, Panama - We were up about 5 AM as we did not want to miss anything.
Canal facts:
Canal actually runs north and south. It connects the Pacific on the South, and to the Atlantic on the North. Panama City is on the Pacific side and has many high rise buildings. The temple can be seen nestled in the jungle foliage on the hill side just outside Panama City. There are a total of six locks, two locks together and then a small lake. One lock and then the Culebra Cut that was dug for the canal. Then we crossed a big lake. Three locks to the Atlantic. It took between 8-9 hours to go completely through. It takes about 26,000,000 gallons of water to move a ship our size through the Canal. Water flows by gravity through the locks. The canal employs over 9,000 people and is open 24 hrs a day 365 days a yr. The toll or fee for our ship to use the canal was about $360,000 paid in advance. As we passed through the Culebra Cut, we also crossed the Continental Divide. Each lock raises or lowers the ship 27 feet.
Cartayena, Columbia - South America we took a sight-seeing tour of the city. We were amazed to find a large city with high rise buildings next to the old city that was very clean and well kept.
We were told by the tour guide to ask for Coca Cola if we wanted a drink. Jennifer got her first Coca Cola here since leaving LA. Boy did it taste good. Ask for Coke and you may end up in jail. Columbia is a main producer of Emeralds in the world.
The Pacific was calm sailing with wavelets (0.5 ft to 3 ft) but the first day and a half on the Atlantic side was rough (7.5ft to 12 ft.)
Some of my experiences on the Norwegian Star:
Lots of food
Over 2,000 passengers
Over 1,200 crew. My favorite was Madi who left me a new towel animal every night.
It was nice to have a new friend to hang with.
Chris Archer - fantastic banjo player
Jon Stetson - Mentalist just like on TV. I personally did not like him
The Second City - Improve comedy show
Ken Groves -Ventriloquist with dummy George and then Howard on another night.
He also used people from the audience
Chris Riggins -great singer - does modern, opera & broad way kind of stuff
Bob Trumell- magician
Dr Scott Lewis - Hypnotist- couple shows and seminar on stress and weight loss
We had a show put on the ships crew and another one put on by the passengers
Live music several different places on ship every night
Miles traveled by water - 4554 nautical miles (1.15 miles) from LA to Miami. Miles flying - 3243 miles. Total - 7797 miles give or take. There are many more awesome pictures that I wasn't able to include in the Blog, so if you would like to see them, please go and talk with Jennifer about them.