Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 115 Panama City, Panama

This morning I went ashore with a group of friends to explore a little of Old Panama…. The tender got us ashore around 9:00 where we quickly hooked up with a guide with a van. It held the 9 of us comfortably, aside from the marginal Air Conditioning…. We dove right into parts of old Panama…. It’s pretty impoverished in places. We walked around for an hour of more taking lots of photos of the neighborhoods, people and skylines. It was a bit warm but great fun. We then went to take a photo of the Balboa statue…. I really wanted this photo because for one reason or another, every time I come here you can’t get near it… demonstrations, renovations…. We then toured the newer parts of Panama for a while, including Manuel Noriega’s home before returning to Fuerte Amador. It was then back to the ship for a bit of afternoon sun. Tonight was very special…. Ten of us had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill to celebrate Sandy & Grace’s 56th anniversary…. Great fun! Wednesday I leave the ship for 4 days to go to the Galapagos Islands…. It should be an amazing trip. I leave around 5:00 in the morning on Wednesday. I will catch up on the blog shortly after my return. I’m hoping for amazing photos. Here is an excerpt from an email I received regarding the trip:
DAY OF DEPARTURE
On Wednesday, January 13, 2010 you will gather in the Queen?s Lounge for immigration procedures at 5:00am. You will depart the ship in Manta for the Guayaquil airport at approximately 5:30am. The driving time to Guayaquil is approximately 4 hours. Your flight from Guayaquil to San Cristobal in the Galapagos is scheduled to depart at 10:30am. You are scheduled to arrive into San Cristobal at 12:00 noon. You will transfer immediately to the MV Galapagos Explorer II where you will check into your state room and enjoy lunch. At 2:30pm there will be an orientation meeting in the main lounge on the Columbus Deck (3rd floor). Here you will receive instructions on rules and regulations for the ship as will as the Galapagos National Park. There will also be an emergency drill. Arrangements for the rental of snorkeling equipment will take place at this time as well. Cocktails will be served at 8:00pm followed by dinner and a briefing on the next day?s itinerary.
THE SHIP
The vessel is not exclusive to Holland America Line; the MV Galapagos Explorer II has a total capacity of 90 passengers. Amenities are plentiful onboard the MV Galapagos Explorer II. The Officers and Crew are Ecuadorian. Enjoy the following feature:
Piano Bar
Library
Coffee station/ Play room
Naturalist program
Solarium
Marine life observation deck
Restaurant
Bar in the Jacuzzi area
Boutique
Elevator
Medical Center
Jacuzzi
YOUR SUITE
Your suite is equipped with all the comforts of home.
Convertible double beds
Mini-bar with several local and international snacks and drinks.
Flat TV with three channels
Marble bathroom with shower and biodegradable amenities for you using
Safety deposit box with key inside your suite
Large closets
Satellite communication from your suite
Wireless internet
110/220 volt outlets
Hair dryer
Vanity dresser
Room service
For the use of the passengers on the cruise: walking sticks, beach towels,
MEALS
All meals are included onboard the Galapagos Explorer. Snacks will be served when you return from excursions. Other than water, coffee, tea, drinks are not included. You will be expected to settle your account at the front desk before you disembark. Payments can be made in US Dollars, Visa, Master Card and American Express.
ACTIVITIES/SCHEDULES
The ship?s schedule includes morning and afternoon shore excursions each day. To visit the islands you will board Zodiacs - hard bottom, inflatable boats; there will be landings directly onto the beach (wet landings) or onto a dock or rocks (dry landings). You must be able to climb easily into and out of Zodiacs and walk up to three miles at a comfortable pace over uneven terrain, with frequent stops for nature study. You will be instructed in the procedure for entering, exiting and traveling in the Zodiac during your briefings.
You can participate in the following activities while in the islands: treks, snorkeling, and photography, interpretive or thematic discussions. A highlight of your visit to the Gal√°pagos is the opportunity to swim and snorkel with sea lions and other wildlife.

3 comments:

Mary said...

Your pictures are so beautiful. The colors are amazing. What kind of camera are you using? As always, thanks for taking us on your adventure.

W3 said...

HEY JEFF,

READ YOUR TIMETABLE RE THE GALAPAGOS, SO JUST WANTED TO TOUCH BASE WITH YOU, AS I AND 11 FAMILY MEMBERS ARE HEADING TO CUBA ON THURSDAY....SUN, SAND AND SURF...IT HAS BEEN SO LONG, I WONDER IF I REMEMBER HOW TO GET A TAN!! LOL

SO LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOUR PHOTOS FROM THE GALAPAGOS.

W3

TMW said...

Neat to see the lady selling the molas - how much was she asking?