These nice folks were all dressed up to meet a cruise ship, so we took a picture of them, too.
We had a crossing of the canal a few days after we arrived.
This is the first lock, filling with water from Lake Gatun above.
The different colors are due to fresh water mixing with sea water.
We crossed the canal at about the same time as the large cruise ship seen here.
The Pelicans seemed to like the first lock; I think the mixing of fresh and sea water probably brought fish to the surface.
The lock chambers are huge; our little ship crossed with 5 other small ships, including several working tugs moving to a different part of the canal.
After the water has brought our ship up to the level of the
next lock, the gates open and we move in.
Then the gates close behind you and the process starts again.
While moving through the Culebra Cut, the narrowest and most
difficult to build part of the canal,
we were passed by this tug practicing its fire fighting skills.
This is a Panamax Ship (built so big that it barely fits in the Panama Canal's locks) getting ready to be lowered to the Atlantic side of the canal. This is the ship at the level of Lake Gatun, about 80 feet above sea level...
... and this is the same ship, lowered, and ready to move into the next lock chamber.
This building is called the Canopy Tower. It was built by the US Air Force as a radar station; when the USAF didn't want it anymore, they sold it to a Panamanian who turned it into an expensive resort. This hotel appeals mostly to bird watchers and other nature lovers, because it is on a hill in the middle of the jungle, over-looking the canal.
Here are Angela and Kyle, sitting on the viewing platform near the top of the tower.
This is how people spend their days near the canopy tower, seeing...
a White-necked Jacobin, and...
a Snowy Belly Hummingbird, and...
a Turkey Vulture, and...
a Spectacled Owl (taken with our small digital camera through a spotting scope, in a process called Digi-scoping), and...
a Geoffroy's Tamarin Monkey jumping from one branch to another, and...
an iguana (look closely, behind the out-of-focus branch in the foreground), and...
three turtles. We took many more bird pictures, but most of them didn't turn out very well.
After spending time on the mainland, we flew to Isla Contadora
for two days of snorkeling and tropical relaxation.
Yes, this is a real picture, it just looks like we made it up.
While we were there, the newest version of Survivor (Exile Island) was being filmed and that kept us from using a quarter of this fairly small island.
Our final stop was in Boquette, in the northern highlands. The fun thing we did there was to do a Canopy Adventure (the company calls it a Tree Track Adventure). You zip from tree to tree in the rainforest on metal cables. It was raining a bit that day, but it was still a great time. The tour went a total of 3 kms! This is Kyle approaching one of the trees on the tour, and the last picture is Angela's reaction to the entire experience.