Tour aboard dredge off Balboa comes to an end

Jan 16, 2008 12:00 AM Ahoy Shipmates! Yesterday, as we were coming into the slip to dump a load of sand, on the bank covered with mud was THE biggest crocodile I'd ever seen. He looked at least ten feet long! I thought of how lucky those kayakers who fell in the water last week were (see my previous blog), not just because they avoided getting hit by the containership, but because that croc didn't see them or they might have ended up dinner! The last few times we've come into Balboa, there was a liftboat in different areas of the port. I asked one of the pilots about it, and he told me the people onboard were doing work in preparation for the canal expansion. A few months ago an official ceremony attended by a number of dignitaries, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, kicked off the project which is expected to take at least six years. When completed, the pilot told me that the maximum size ship which will be able to transit the Panama Canal will be increased beyond the current 985 feet. I'll be finished with my tour shortly, and have started packing my bags for the trip home to Seattle. The Stuyvesant is a hard-working ship, and I'll be glad to catch up on my sleep when I get back. Although I enjoyed this tropical Panamanian weather in January, I'm looking forward to some of that Seattle winter rain! When a sailor gets comes home from sea, reuniting with family and friends always makes returning a special occasion. It'll be great to see my loved ones. I've enjoyed sharing some of my experiences as a professional mariner working on this U.S. flag merchant ship, and I'd love to hear from you. E-mail me at captsweeney@professionalmariner.com. Till next time, I wish you all smooth sailin. Capt. Kelly Sweeney Off Balboa, Panama Edit Module