Come Sail Your Ships Around Me

Today we did not have to take any action for shipping the car, so what better way to spend the day then watching boats go by! Panama is an excellent place to see lots of big boats and Patrick had been looking forward to this day for a long time! We drove from Panama City (on the Pacific side) to Colon (on the Carribean side) across the highway. At the first tollbooth we had to buy a prepaid card for $8 to drive on the tollroads and and the second booth they said they don’t accept the card and we had to pay cash. Panama did not score any points with us for that move! On the other hand, you can drive from ocean to ocean in under an hour… where else can you do that?


When we arrived at the ‘Gatun locks‘ on the Carribean side, we could see the canal in action from very close! We could see the biggest ships that fit in the canal (their size is aptly named ‘Panamax‘) go through the locks being guided by the little trains.


We saw one ship actually hitting the side on the locks – and we’re pretty sure that’s not supposed to happen! Business carried on as usual…


We could write a long blogpost about all the interesting facts of the canal, but you have to see it for yourself to appreciate the size of the undertaking. The two boats in the pictures above each paid over $100.000 to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific in about 10 hours. Funny thing is that whereas tourists pay $5 to see the ships go through, the crew on the ships is not nearly equally fanatical about it…


After spending some time on the sunny Carribean side, we drove back to the Pacific side to see the ‘Miraflores locks’. We met Nate and Sarah there as well. We watched the 3D movie about the canal (it’s about 10 minutes long) and then watched the ships arrive. We debated a bit about how the canal actually works and finally settled the argument with ‘gravity’.


In a couple of years the expansion of the canal will be complete and much bigger ships will be able to sail through! We know at least one little boy who will be coming back to see that!

We drove back to the hostel through evening rush hour once more, this time trying to avoid the worst construction zones. Tonight we have to pack our bags for (at least) a week without the car and tomorrow we drive back to Colon to see if Rodrigo fits in a container!
Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history baby
Every time you come around

4 responses

  1. Jullie hebben duidelijk veel beter weer dan wanneer Tanguy door het kanaal gevaren is met de Kaishuu ! Geniet van het zicht. Al naar de Millennium bridge geweest ? Geniet ervan, wij genieten mee. Groetjes, Stéphanie

    1. We hebben de brug gezien vanuit de auto, heel indrukwekkend!

  2. Topsong !

    It’s our Amatorski as you may remember 🙂

    1. We definitely remember! We thought it would fit perfectly! Now we are looking for a song with “container” in it…

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