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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

The Panama Canal

This morning it was time to do a bit of shopping at the mall, and then we were off to see the Panama Locks.  We are thinking that we will likely traverse the canal when we return to the boat in October.  So we wanted to see the locks in action.  We’ve done hundreds of locks, but of course this is “THE” Panama Canal.  It’s going to be like huge and scary right?  Wrongo.  Turns out the locks gain less altitude than the Seattle locks.  So while the locks are longer and wider to accommodate larger ships, they aren’t any steeper and the water doesn’t rise any faster than what we are used to.  Should be a piece-o-cake (famous last words).

Here is some video we took while we were there:

The amount of commerce that runs through the canal is mind boggling.  It was incredible to see all the ships awaiting their turn to transit the canal.  Typically 30 large ships make it through the canal every day, representing 300 million tons of cargo annually.  Which led to some interesting discussion about buying retirement houses in Central America.  If we were going to do it, we’d choose Panama because: (1) They run off the American dollar (yeah, with Obama’s spend rate the USD may see hyperinflation here soon, but it’s probably still better than Mexican Pesos).  (2) With so much of the world dependent on the canal, every country in the world has an incentive to make sure Panama remains stable.  (3) You can get any kind of goods and services in Panama City.  (4) Prices are much more reasonable than Costa Rica.

While we were there we had lunch at the restaurant.  The buffet was overpriced but the wine was good, and they gave us the best table overlooking the locks so we could watch as the giant ships went through.  After that we headed over to the Balboa Yacht Club for drinks and dinner with Mike and Holly.  We are going to miss those guys while we are gone!  But it’s nice to know someone can check on the boat occasionally for us!

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