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ex HARALD JARL ::: ex ANDREA ::: SERENISSIMA :::

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    Day 15 - 5th February 2017 - Isla Coiba, Panama.

    Sunrise in new country and the clock forward by an hour to Panama time!





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      We made an early start when Serenissima had anchored off Isla Coibra. It is the largest island in Central America, and the largest among a group of smaller islands and reefs that were separated from mainland Panama some 12 to 18 thousand years ago at a period of rising sea levels. This isolation resulted in a divergence of plant and animal species, in a similar way to the Galapogos, but it is estimated that a high proportion of species remain unknown to science. The island's undevelopment and continuing isolation was ensured by its role as a notorious penal colony, and, during the period of dictatorship, a political prison with a fearsome reputation for brutal conditions, torture and killings. After reverting to use as a criminal prison, it was finally closed down in 2004, the remaining buildings in the south of the island left to be reclaimed by jungle. Much of the forested interior is impenetrable and unexplored.

      The island and surrounding waters is now a national park and UNESCO designated Special Zone of Marine Protection. A number of tour operators on the mainland now offer 'ecotours' and scuba diving trips, and the visitor numbers and permits are strictly controlled by ANAM – the National Authority for the Environment. We had the necessary permissions to land our zodiacs at the ranger station in the north of the island.


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          Lunch aboard Serenissima






          The chef offered a special of the day...




          ...but first I enjoyed at least two helpings of this delicious and refreshing soup.

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            During lunch the ship departed for the 237 nm journey to our next destination.

            There was a lecture on "Neotropical birds" ...and then the guest lecturer spoke about "The Dramatic Construction of the Panama Canal".

            ...and although it isn't quite the last night yet, we have the Captains Farewell Dinner.

            Last edited by Seagull; September 6th, 2017, 21:43.

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            • Tommi
              Tommi commented
              Editing a comment
              Du borde banta! :-)

            Day 16 - 6th February 2017 - Panama City, Panama.

            There could hardly be a greater contrast to the early morning views of the previous days!



            From our anchorage, we transferred by our zodiacs to a pier at the Flamenco Marina. Some guests were taking a morning excursion to see the city, particularly the old French quarter from colonial times. For those wishing to stay ashore independently in the city during the afternoon, or simply visit the shops, cafes and restaurants at the marina, there was a zodiac shuttle service back to the ship.

            I had chosen to take a full day excursion, crossing the isthmus by coach to visit the Canal Expansion Observation Centre in Colon, as well as the visitor centre at Miraflores locks on the return to Panama City.
            The link to my account of the new canal: -
            http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.com/...954#post203954




            Here is the view from Serenissima when I returned later that afternoon.
            Last edited by Seagull; September 11th, 2017, 12:22.

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              What an amazing journey - I find it so wonderful that the ship seems to be doing so well. Imagine her past life as a coastal steamer in Norway, sailing north and south... then at her retirement, she is sailing to exotic lagoons, bays and ports all over the world. The ship could have met her end after the bankruptcy of Elegant Cruises, but thankfully someone saw that she had a lot more life to give. !

              So thrilled to be looking at these images and thinking about the history of the ship at the same time.
              With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

              Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
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              • Clipper
                Clipper commented
                Editing a comment
                Agreed. We were quite pessimistic during the Split arrest period ... then a miracle happened.

              • Seagull
                Seagull commented
                Editing a comment
                Pakarang, Clipper - such heartfelt comments - we are in love with this ship I think.
                Next I have a particularly thrilling day for you to see!

              To save me looking back at several dozen pages, have we ever had a report on Serenissima's stabilisers?

              At our first sniff of them, we speculated on how effective they might be, but I don't recall reading anything since.

              Seagull?
              ---------------------------
              Harald Jarl, Honningsvag to Svolvaer, Summer 1985.
              Deck plan geek.

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                Well, Clipper, the last mention on the subject of stabilisers was in discussion with yourself in #658 !
                Start reading in #655 here down to my comment in #658.1

                I really should have asked on later voyages about how often and in what circumstances the stabilisers have been typically been deployed. If I get further info I'll be sure to let you know

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                • Clipper
                  Clipper commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Cecilia, sorry for re-covering old ground. I confess I had completely forgotten about #655 etc. November 2014 was during "the difficult years" when I was looking after my mother.

                  It would indeed be interesting to know the circumstances under which the stabilisers get deployed, and maybe the captain would be prepared to offer a verdict on them.

                • Seagull
                  Seagull commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Goodness Clipper, it's ME who should be sounding apologetic!
                  With three voyages since that discussion, it's hardly an excuse that there was not really 'at sea' time giving opportunities to talk to the senior officers on the bridge on this most recent action-packed voyage (and of course not in the Panama Canal). But when I do have more info you can be sure you'll be the first to hear .

                • Clipper
                  Clipper commented
                  Editing a comment
                  A crazy thought just winged out of left-field. How about fitting Sea-Troll out with a dictaphone, then go round doing "Sea-Troll interviews"?

                Day 17 - 7th February 2017 - The transit through the Panama Canal

                Early morning on the aft deck - a feeling of excitement and anticipation - lots of shipspotting opportunities with many vessels waiting at go through the canal!







                At 06:30 the pilot arrived. I thought it was delightfully appropriate that he arrived aboard L.M.Andrea, as Andrea was a former name of Serenissima!

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                  Miraflores Locks




                  As I head for breakfast, Serenissima moves off ready to take up her alloted position in the queue for entering the canal.




                  Here is a view looking back as Serenissima passes beneath the Bridge of the Americas that spans the Pacific entrance to the canal.

                  I had seen Rotterdam pass ahead of us and realised that she would be transiting the canal at the same time, but in the other adjacent 'lane' This turned out to be a good pairing given the difference in the size of the ships, with lots of photo opportunities. I hope her passengers also appreciated watching us! Sometimes Rotterdam would be ahead of us and sometimes behind, and it was fascinating to observe the operations for the very different cruise ships. I watched as two tugs were required to assist the Rotterdam's arrival and alignment at the canal entrance. Meanwhile Serenissima now had linesmen aboard, and were simply waiting for the locomotives, or 'mules' as they are called.



                  Our crew member, on the right, watches as the Panama linesmen take over on the foredeck.



                  Waiting for the mules

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                    We are soon in the first section of the locks and have moved directly along to the lock gates which you saw as we entered the canal. Having caught up with Rotterdam in the other channel I turn round to include her on the photo.



                    On our starboard side there is the Miraflores Locks visitor centre (which I had visited on the way back from the previous day’s excursion, and is where the webcam is situated).



                    I had decided to quickly relocate to the aft deck to see what else has entered this section of the lock with Serenissima, watch the entrance gates close behind us, and the water level begin to rise. I am sure I wouldn't have managed to see all that had I been aboard a big ship like the Rotterdam!

                    And that's not all, for soon I wander back to the foredeck observation platform to watch the lock gates open, and we move into the next section.

                    Last edited by Seagull; September 14th, 2017, 18:35.

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                      The lock gates at the exit from Miraflores Locks




                      A view looking aft from Serenissima’s deck 4 starboard.

                      It was shortly after this, when the water level had risen and Serenissima moved on, that Azimut captured a wonderful webcam picture, here at post #1081, showing Serenissima on her way, ahead of Rotterdam and followed by two sailing boats, an excursion boat, and a pair of tugs.

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                        I like these pictures a lot, Seagull
                        Interesting to see these photos from the trip through Miraflores Locks from the deck of "Serenissima"
                        I sat and watched via webcam when the ship passed through Miraflores Locks that day as mention above by you.
                        As usual, the pictures are excellent.
                        Best wishes from
                        Bengt Domben

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                        • Seagull
                          Seagull commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Great to think you were following me in real time via the webcam!

                        Pedro Miguel Lock and the Culebra Cut

                        When I took that last photo from Deck 4, I was actually making my way to the lounge where drinks are available and had a mid morning coffee. Forty five minutes later Serenissima had reached the next single-step lock at Pedro Miguel. If you look at that webcam view Azimut captured and which I linked to in the last post, you can see in the distance where this is relative to Miraflores.



                        The entrance lock gates were open and it was just a matter of attaching the lines to the mules, so I am once more on the observation platform to watch the linesmen at work.






                        The job of the linesmen involves intense activity interspersed by periods of inactivity. They had set up an area for themselves at the port side of the observation platform deckhouse.



                        Here they are during their rest period. It is an amazing job that they do, and on a small ship one feels closer in touch with their work than would be possible on a larger ship. It really feels a privilege. And although we are small we still get an official Panama Canal Guide like the big cruise ships do. The commentary on interesting facts and places we pass during the transit is transmitted on the decks and lounges.

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