Tag Archives: Panama

25 December 2018:
Christmas in the Panama Canal:
The Path Between the Seas

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

There are few sights more astounding than to approach the locks at the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal and see a huge freighter, containership, or cruiseship floating 85 feet above you at the top of the stairs.

I have made the transit of the Panama Canal several dozen times over the years, and it never fails to impress.

Here is our ship as captured by shoreside webcams today:

And a view as longtime Silversea hotel director Norman Rafelson waved at tourists watching us in the locks:

When it opened in 1914, it was a triumph of human engineering and medicine. It still is.

The canal itself runs for about 50 miles. There are three locks at each end which lift ships to the level of manmade Gatun Lake which floods the Continental Divide to permit a crossing.

The new locks, which are roughly in parallel with the original set, allow huge containerships and other vessels to enter the system. Vessels like ours generally use the old locks, and we all meet in the lake for a procession between the seas.

Here are more photos from previous transits:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

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Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

18 October 2017:
Transit of the Panama Canal:
Floating Across the Continental Divide

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Silver Muse arrives at the Miraflores Locks at the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, 18Oct 2017. 

Early Wednesday morning, before sunrise, Silver Muse took her place in line for a trip through one of humankind’s greatest adjustments to the face of the earth: the Panama Canal.

We arrived outside of Limon Bay in the Caribbean Sea and then moved slowly south to the Atlantic Approach of the canal.

Yes, south. Although we are moving from the east coast of the American continent to the west, at the narrow isthmus through Panama the land bends nearly 90 degrees. And so we enter from the north and exit into the Pacific Ocean sailing south.

Map data (c) OpenStreetMap (and) contributors, CC-BY-SA

That’s just one of many things around which mariners and travelers need to wrap their mind. The most astounding is the fact that our ship—for the very first time in her young career—will rise about 80 feet in three steps at the first set of locks and then descend about the same distance at the end of the day as we enter the Pacific.

Silver Muse makes her maiden transit of the Panama Canal. Photos by Corey Sandler

In between, we sailed the fresh water of Gatun Lake, created in the early 20th century by the construction of a dam across the Chagres River.

The Panama Canal itself is nearly unchanged from the way it was when it began operation in 1914. Last year, a new set of wider and longer locks were opened alongside the original ones; think of them as new entry ramps to an existing watery highway.

I have made the passage many times, and it always is a thrill to view the technology and relive the history of its construction.

All photos and text Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

 

21 APRIL 2015
 Our Passage Between the Seas: The Panama Canal

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Early this morning, about 6:30 a.m.,  we arrived in Limon Bay in the Atlantic Ocean.

At 4 p.m., we sailed out of Miraflores into the Pacific Ocean.

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Silver Shadow in the Miraflores Locks, 21 April 2015. (From Panama Canal Webcam)

I have made the transit of the Panama Canal more times than I can remember; it never ceases to impress and excite me. Sign me up for a return trip.

The desire for a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was a driving force for four hundred years: from the time the Spanish first arrived in the dead end of the Gulf of Mexico in what today in Panama.

The alternatives were not good: a months-long sail down and around the bottom of South America at Cape Horn, or an overland passage up and over the cordillera mountains and through torrential rain, raging rivers, and deadly threats from disease and killer creatures of just about any description.

Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps was a national hero, “Le Grand Français,” the Great Frenchman.

He had successfully led the project to build the Suez Canal in Egypt, in the process enriching thousands of French investors.

De Lesseps was a promoter, an entrepreneur, but not an engineer. He was very good at building companies.

But he declared: “The canal will be built.”

And notwithstanding the rain, the rivers, the mountains, and disease, de Lesseps said his project would be en niveau, sans ecluses. On the level, without locks.

APRIL 21, 2015: FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC

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The French project began January 1, 1880. It was immediately obvious they were not in the dry sands of Egypt.

By 1885, extravagance, graft, and the unrealistic design for the canal had emptied the company’s treasury.  After eight years, the canal was only about 40 percent complete, and work on dams and locks barely begun.

And now the United States, led by the charismatic president Theodore Roosevelt was ready to reassert itself. The Americans bought the assets of the bankrupt French effort.

The first challenge for the Americans was not one of engineering but instead conquering disease. Clearing Cuba and then Panama of malaria and yellow fever was one of the great accomplishments of medicine and made it possible for massive effort by the United States to build the canal.

A PANAMA CANAL ALBUM

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Today, the canal is nearing completion of a major expansion.

At each end, the final touches are being put on new sets of locks that will allow much larger ships to take the watery elevator up and over the Continental Divide.

On board ship, I give three lectures about the canal and the politics of Central America.

You’re welcome to join me next time.

All photos copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)