Day 73 – At Sea – August 2nd, 2015

Curacao to Cartagena, Columbia

After our single stop in the Caribbean at Curacao, we are back into the sea day routine, bound for Cartagena and then the Panama Canal. before our final ocean transit across the Pacific. Being a Sunday at sea, we experienced our 2nd Brunch, which was served in the dining room. Otherwise, we enjoyed a quiet and peaceful day aboard the Sea Princess. You can also check out my projections for the various times at points of interest through the Panama Canal and I include the website URL where you can access the Canal video cameras to watch our transit.

Temperature: High 27C/81F, Low 26C/79F

Wind/Weather: Gales force E’ly trade winds, Partly Cloudy

Sunrise/Sunset: 05:31/18:18

Clox: Z-5 (cloxs back 1 hour last evening)

 

Navigation

Sea Princess maintained W’ly courses along the Curacao coastline, passing Aruba, at a distance of about 5 miles at 03:00.

 

Activities

My day started on the Promenade Deck about 05:30, where I completed 20 laps or almost 7 miles, before heading back to the cabin. Judi awoke shortly thereafter, so we headed up to Horizon Court, as with the Sunday Brunch, the restaurant was not open for breakfast. After a quick snack we headed back to the cabin, as the Arsenal/Chelsea match and the Rangers match were kicking off shortly. Unfortunately, no channel was running either game, but Sky Sports News had regular updates and all the goals. Great morning, as the Rangers ran out easy winners with a 3-0 scoreline.

We headed down to the restaurant for brunch about 11:00 and as usual our timing was perfect. Seated with a couple from Brisbane, we enjoyed the conversation and the oodles of food. The Sunday Brunch is a major production for the galley and waitstaff, consisting of a buffet and regular breakfast and lunch items prepared in the galley.

Maitre D making the pasta

Maitre D preparing 2 types of pasta, a mushroom ravioli and spaghetti with white sauce and Parma ham. The pasta station was located at the entrance to the buffet.

Ice sculpture

Ice sculpture at the buffet entrance.

Salads  

Salad station with an amazing scallop and shrimp salad.

Smoked salmon

Just a small tray of smoked salmon.

Carved ice sculpture with prawns

Another ice sculpture, which was used as a serving tray for prawns.

Fresh fruits and carved watermellon

Fresh fruit and waffle station.

Desserts

The sweet tooth station.

Wolfgang whipping up pasta

Head Waiter Wolfgang takes over the Pasta Station from the Maitre D

In addition to the buffet selections you could order hot breakfast or lunch items from the galley. I did the buffet, trying the scallop and shrimp salad, which was excellent, smoked salmon, prawns, roast beef and a couple of pieces of fresh crusty bread. Judi really doesn’t like the seafood or deli meats, so she tried poached eggs with the usual trimmings. This is definitely one of the culinary highlights of the cruise, with an almost carnival atmosphere and some great food. We definitely left happy.

We generally relaxed for the remainder of the day, with me working on yesterday’s photos from Curacao. Dinner this evening was an Indian Menu, so our Waiter Santosh was in his element, being from India. The meals we received tonight were a combination of what we ordered plus others that Santosh thought we should try. For starter I requested the fennel crusted salmon, but Santosh also brought his favourite, which was basically onion rings. Bruce ended up getting a portion of all 3 starters. For main course I requested Orange Roughy, but Santosh insisted I also try the Prawns, so he brought both plates. While the sauces had lots of flavour, they were extremely mild curries.

Panama Canal

Tomorrow, Tuesday August 4th we transit the Panama Canal, so I can provide a URL address for the webcam and some approximate timings. Please note that the timing are from my experience of well over 20+ previous transits and are subject to change due to convoy times, etc. I will however, give it my best estimates. Our current time zone is North America Central Time Zone (daylight saving) or Z-6 hrs.

Gatun Locks – are a set of 3 locks on the Cristobal or Caribbean side of the canal. From experience we proceed along the entrance channel about 05:30 and are in Gatun Locks from about 06:00 to 08:00, and when clear of the locks we usually anchor in the Gatun Lake waiting for the opposing convoy to clear.

  • West coast or Pacific Daylight Savings Time (PDST) – 04:00 to 06:00
  • East coast or Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDST) – 07:00 to 09:00
  • UK – 12:00 to 14:00
  • Sydney – 22:00 to midnight

Gatun Lake – once clear of the locks we normally anchor in the lake for up to 3 hours, with the times set that once we reach the end of the lakes, the opposing convoy has passed. We cannot pass opposing ships in the Cut. We normally start moving again between 10:00 and 11:30. The lake transit takes about 1.5 hours. Best estimate for lake transit.

  • PDST – 09:00 to 11:00
  • EDST – 12:00 to 14:00
  • UK – 17:00 to 19:00
  • Sydney – 03:00 to 05:00 (August 5th)

Culbera Cut – this is the section that was dug through the mountains and takes about an hour. My best estimate is commencing the transit of the cut from 12:00 to 14:00

Pedro Miguel Locks – this is a single lock and is on the Pacific side of the canal. My best estimate is arriving at Pedro Miguel about 14:00 to 15:00

  • PDST – 12:00 to 13:00
  • EDST – 15:00 to 16:00
  • UK – 20:00 to 21:00
  • Sydney – 06:00 to 07:00

Miraflores Lake – we transit the short mile long lake to Miraflores Locks, which are a set of 2 locks and are the location of the visitor’s centre. My best estimate for arriving at Miraflores is 15:00 to 16:00

  • PDST – 13:00 to 14:00
  • EDST – 16:00 to 17:00
  • UK – 21:00 to 22:00
  • Sydney – 07:00 to 08:00

Passing below the Bridge of Americas between 16:30 and 17:30.

Again, please accept these as being very approximate times, based on my previous transits and not on any schedule provided by the ship.

 

Panama Canal Webcam

To view the webcam, copy this URL into your browser.

Webcam – www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html

 

As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.

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