Distance from Panama Canal to Colon: 52 Nautical Miles
Now that we have transited two of the three Locks systems, the Infinity will anchor in Gatun Lake to allow passengers on excursions in the Canal area to tender to shore. Below the tenders are running their 5 minute trip.
We are on the “Gatun Lake Eco Cruise” excursion today so we are leading (at least Ellen is leading) passengers to the two tender loading areas.
Celebrity Infinity from the Tenders
The Tender Port (Yacht Club? Really?)
After some initial confusion about bus assignments, we are on our way. Our first stop is the Gatun Locks. There we meet some locals, a group of Coatis, that are members of the raccoon family. While they looked cute, I stayed away from them.
Ship in the Northbound Lane of the Gatun Locks
The 74 step climb to the viewing area was worth the burn since the location offered a pretty good view of incoming ships including our very own Celebrity Infinity. Many of the Infinity crew members are there in their civilian clothes enjoying the arrival of the Infinity. The video crew is also to capture this for the Cruise Video.
The shots taken below were shot in real time as the ship made its way into the Gatun Locks. Twenty six minutes elapsed between first and last shots.
Passengers were allowed to stand on the Helipad to get a good view of the passage through the Gatun Locks. Below, one of the locomotives is tugging our massive cruise ship through the locks.
Celebrity Infinity in the Gatun Locks
The transit of the Infinity cost the line $293,000. This is based on the number of beds ($100 per bed) and people ($50 per person). Not sure if that works out but that was the fee per canal personnel. It was great watching the ship from the perspective of the locks.
Our tour left before the Infinity was able to transit the Gatun Locks.
Our next stop was the starting point for our Eco Cruise. Along the way – all on small roads (one lane each way) – we passed some new homes ($250,000). A tract of these homes is shown below.
I had thought that the Eco Cruise would be in the out of way portions of Gatun. Instead, the cruise is on a lake-lagoon which is part of the Melia Panama Canal hotel.
Melia Panama Canal Hotel
Hotel Interior (above) and Pool Area (below)
The boat is nice – plenty of room, open sides, and a deck in front perfect for shooting fauna and flora.
The lagoon dock at the Melia Hotel
Leaving the dock, we are off to explore the lagoon (I believe the guide said it was 64 square miles of water)
No wildlife jut a pretty sky
The vegetation (above) was rainforest type with many different kinds of plants. Everything was incredibly green.
In the center of the picture below, there is a sloth (perhaps a mother and infant). They are usually well camouflaged but this sloth picked a tree with few leaves.
The next two pictures are just examples of the incredible amount of foliage in this lagoon.
Clean your glasses – there is toucan at the top of the tree below.
Giant Egrets at the top center of the tree
I took the picture below of a single small tree sticking out of the lake. It just seemed interesting and out of place.
Another sloth in this tree – look closely
The tour ended in Colon, Panama. We actually beat the Infinity there by about 10 minutes. I met up with Ellen and we borrowed some internet access from a nearby hotel to touch base with everybody.
While Colon may not have been an official port of call, it turned out to be one with the ship not departing until 10 PM. There has been a lot of new business created in Colon since we were here a couple of years ago. Let’s hope that continues.
Celebrity Infinity docked in Colon, Panama
Had a late dinner and were just too tired to see the show tonight. (Guest entertainer: Chilean Rock Star Peter Rock).
It was a very different kind of transit and a very nice day in Panama…