Through the Panama Canal

Now I have always said that transiting the Panama Canal is a “guy thing” but honestly, the history is fascinating and I must thank Nicki Sepsas, our Seabourn onboard lecturer, who

Seabourn Odyssey entering the locks

took us through the trials and the tribulations of the building of the canal. After the French effort of the late 1800’s failed miserably with thousands dead of tropical diseases and millions of dollars of investors’ funds lost, the United States stepped in to complete the project.

For anyone planning to do this journey it is worthwhile to read the story and also to make sure to attend the lectures on your cruise ship. It makes the journey so much more meaningful. Fascinating trivia – did you know Paul Gauguin, the famous painter, actually worked construction on the canal for a short time before being thrown out for publicly urinating in the street? He maintained that the whole place was a sewer anyway – so what was the problem. He left Panama and went to Tahiti and the rest, as they say, is history.

Gatun Lake - right in the middle of the Canal

 We started entering the canal at 6 am – an early start for sure but Seabourn staff were there with coffee, breakfast, mimosas etc. After going through the first two locks and upon entering Gatun Lake we all dashed off en masse for breakfast. You would think we have been feed on bread and water over the last few days! After that – compulsory bed rest for two hours until we started the transit through the next set of locks. Boy this Panama thing sure takes it out of you!

At the locks

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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