Cartagena

Due to some technical difficulties with internet, I wasn’t able to get photos uploaded until today, so here we go.

Monday, we arrived in Cartagena and I did a tour of the city. We started at the largest fort the Spanish built in the Americas, then went on a walking tour of the old city. The old city has over 10 miles of walls surrounding it and is filled with narrow streets, houses decorated with all types of flowers but especially bougainvillea. Coutagena was also a major shipping port starting in the 1500’s where Spain would ship their gold home, hence the big forts around the city. It was also the home to a number of churches and the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

The door knockers are interesting as they are made of bronze and identify the occupation of the home owner. Above is the lion for military and the fish, of course fisherman.

Silversea hosts several special events for world cruisers and the first one was a party and dinner in the old town. They converted a park area to seating and before dinner drinks and had a show of traditional dancing and music. As that was ending, Carnival started. Cartagena is the second largest Carnival in South America.

People in costumes on stilts and musicians filled the area of our reception then led us on a “parade” down the street to out dinner venue. We were the entertainment that night for any visiting the old town as they lined our reception area then the sidewalks as we paraded down the streets. I have a video but have not been able to get it uploaded.

Panama Canal Transit

We left Cartagena noon Tuesday and sailed overnight to the Panama Canal. We arrived a little after 6:30am and then waited a while to get in our position. You are basically lined up and then start the progression through the first 3 locks each raising the ship about 30 feet. After you leave the locks you then follow the procession through Gatun Lake, which is fairly narrow and filled with ships going each direction until you get to the locks on the Pacific side and are lowered back down to sea level. The trip takes 8-10 hours depending on the speed and conditions. As there is no passing, if things slow down, you all slow down. We made pretty good time getting through in a little over 8 hours.

The “mule” that attaches cables to the ship and keeps us centered in the locks. There are 4-8 mules for each ship depending on the size of the ship.
Transiting Gatun Lake. The ship on the left is following us and the ship on the right just passed us headed to the Atlantic

Tomorrow we will arrive in Puntarenas Costa Rica at 7:00 am. Activity for the day will be an eco-river cruise to see birds, animals and crocodiles.

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