Co-ordinates: 08° 54’41”N, 79°30’34”W
Weather: Very warm and partly overcast with rain showers
Air Temperature: 33°C
Sea Temperature: 24°C
Today some of our guests departed very early in the morning to take a birding tour in Soberania National Park, some 25 km off Panama City. But for me the plan was an exciting tour to the ruins of old Panamá, the “Casco Antiguo” and the Miraflores Locks in the actual Panama Canal.
The morning started with a quick Zodiac ride from Fuerte Amador where the Silver Explorer was anchored to the “Flamenco Marina”. Buses were waiting for our guests and just after 09.15h the first of six buses departed towards Old Panama. The ruins are the remains of the former settlement back in the 1600s. Very interesting pieces of Panama’s ancient history were provided by our guide Joshua. (He was so enthusiastic while talking about the life of the pirate Henry Morgan!)
By mid-morning we moved to the “Casco Antiguo”, the oldest and colonial part of Panama City, which was nearby a small commercial harbor and fish market. This part of the town is under a complete restoration process and will likely stay like this for a couple of years. Roads were blocked here and there and it was a real adventure to walk from one historic site to the next, while negotiating the crowd, the busy traffic and the hot weather. It was worth it though since it is an incredibly picturesque part of the city. Along the way we also had the opportunity to buy some souvenirs and to appreciate handicrafts made by the Embera as well as the “molas” made by the Kuna people.
By the time we finished with the Casco Antiguo I was ready for lunch. We boarded the bus and soon after stopped for lunch in downtown Panama. By then the sky turned dark grey and soon after we had rain showers. Good timing! For some 30 minutes it didn’t rain while in town. At 14.00h I quickly gathered my group of guests in order to move to our next destination, the Miraflores Locks in the actual Panama Canal. This was certainly a highlight of the tour, watching a very large container vessel moving with the help of a lot of machinery through a narrow channel towards the Pacific Ocean. An interesting view from the land indeed, considering that tomorrow we’ll be doing exactly the same aboard the Silver Explorer, but in our case moving northbound from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribe in the Atlantic.
It was a very busy day. All guests were back aboard before 18.00h and had just time to get ready for the Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner offered by Captain Adam Boczek. However, this is not the end of the adventure. Tomorrow we’ll be lifting anchor around 04.00h in the morning and heading towards the Caribe via Panama Canal. Another early start, but this is something I wouldn’t miss.