Fall Cruise on Norwegian Bliss

11/12/18 – Monday

At Sea

I had trouble sleeping, besides suffering from canker sores and a sore throat. This ship’s food is saltier than usual and we’ve been pretty active, so I decided my body needed rest/sleep and more natural foods-uncooked. I started with exercise (the “Morning Fit” program), then breakfast, then I slept until 11:15am when John returned to our cabin after he did his walking and reading of “Hamilton.” He borrowed this book from the ship’s library. It gives the actual lines from the show along with pictures and background information. Excellent. I told John I wanted to read it when he finished. We watched “Moana” on our TV, then had a late lunch (salad for me). We read for awhile on the deck then I took another nap, waking up in time to watch the last half of the Panama Canal talk. John showed up at our cabin, having finished “Hamilton.” He watched TV while I read “Hamilton” until supper at 6:20pm. I had a tortilla salad while John had Prime Rib. We dashed to the comedian/magician (Joe Rochon) show. Wow, he was amazing. Off to bed at 8:30pm.

11/13/18 – Tuesday

Panama Canal

The big day. The ship approached the “Bridge of the Americas” before dawn, but that was too early for us. We did manage to get up on the deck by 5:40am to watch the ship pass through the locks. Unfortunately the cold and fog created a fog on my camera lens, so it was difficult to get a clear photo for the first hour or so.

Side view of a gate in the new locks (for larger ships). These are hollow, self propelling with their own motors because they are still so heavy and even have wheels for when they were installed. At each end of a lock are 2 gates (the extra is if one fails or needs cleaning)

Here the dock workers have thrown a light rope across onto our ship. That rope is attached to a heavier rope, more appropriate for such a huge ship, which is then pulled along until it can be hooked at the dock onto bollards.

The first gate closing behind us.

There are tugs that also have ties to the bow and stern of our ship, guiding it. Note how the gate has now closed and the water level risen.

This bridge connects people of Panama City to the dock area. Note how the earth has been terraced so it won’t fall into the ditch of water.

Panama City from our ship

Two hours later we ate breakfast, returning to our cabin so I could take a nap while John lounged on the deck reading. We then watched a movie on the TV “The 15:17 to Paris”, following that with dinner, then showers and bed. Still suffering that sore throat.

The Panama Canal is actually a waterway, not a canal, because it incorporates a huge lake in its length. They created Gatun Lake by cutting away the meandering curves of a river that flooded enormously, every year. It proved impossible to control that river, so the best solution was to help that area become a lake at that point. Because our ship is so large, it went through the new locks, completed in 2016. One of the special elements of these locks is that they use less water due to water saving basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per transit.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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