Cartagena Columbia and Panama Cruise transit
Cartagena on Tuesday, January 9th was the second port of the cruise. I chose to tour the fortress of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the greatest Spanish fortress in the Americas. The fortress was built between 1536 - 1767 to defend Cartagena against pirate raids. The fortress was built atop the San Lazaro hill. Walking up the 130 foot steep slope afforded beautiful views of Cartagena.
Tuesday January 10, we entered Limon Bay from the Caribbean Sea, at 6:00 am the specially trained Panama Canal pilot boarded the Westerdam which began our day long transit to the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal. The canal uses a system of locks to lift ships 85 feet above sea level.
At 7:30 am, the Westerdam entered the Gatun Locks, a three-tiered lock system. It was amazing to see and experience the worlds largest and most difficult engineering projects in person. Gatun Lake was created when dams were built to control water flow during the canal's construction. The lake's fresh water is used to fill all of the locks of the canal. After sailing through the Culebra cut, a man-made waterway, the Westerdam entered the Pedro Miguel Lock to enter Miraflores Lake continuing to the Miraflores Locks and Balboa harbor. A canal then allows the Westerdam to sail into the Gulf of Panama, the Pacific Ocean.
The Westerdam produced a time lapse video of our passage through the Panama Canal.