031810 @Sea: Bone & Tom leave TC for Panama City today. 6:30 EST on deck. Cruising at 8.7 knots, 6.51.656N, 80.47.252W, winds 8-9.1 ENE, heading 73. No sighting of a peninsula of Panama to port as I had hoped. Seas calm and beautifully gray blue to match cloud cover. Sun trying to poke through but unsuccessful
. 6:50AM sighted Panama as fog lifted! Unbelievably beautiful mountains outlined by morning sun behind. Much higher mountains than I expected. Started taking anti-malarial pills after breakfast in preparation for Panama jungle expedition on 3/20. No side effects. It was a good feeling to be close to the Panamanian coast in case of an emergency aboard ship.
Captain's Dinner was held in the evening in the dining room. Lobster was on the menu for the first time. Ship's champagne & wine were flowing. Gail, Claudia & I were joined by Herbert (Engineer from Vienna, Austria). We shared lots of laughs. Later, the Tropical Bar Talent Show was put on by crew members and passengers. I have few pictures as I took movies of every act instead. Too funny! What a riot and such great talent! Large groups of folks sang hilarious parodies of our ship's voyage. One funny song was written by Gail about being expelled from Isla del Coco (Cocos Island).."It's a Bloody Mary morning, we left Cocos without warning sometime in the night". It was sung by the Coconut Boobies. And then there was the most funny act produced by Rokie with "Synchronized Swimmers" Rose, Jen, and a last minute surprise by Guernsey Island's Adrian (the odd duck of the lot with quite hairy legs). Having no talent, I took movies. Ha!
031910: 56th birthday
! Pearl Islands sighted. Anchored off beautiful Isla de Contadora and tendered ashore for wonderful snorkeling. Got many underwater pics & movies of corals and fish. Many of the same varieties as Rangiroa but not as friendly. I went back to the ship to shower and change. Then back to the island to walk around and explore. This appeared to be a resort island for the Panamanian elite. Spanish was spoken but my Spanglish proved satisfactory. I bought another t-shirt and enjoyed my short visit on land. Sadly, a very ill German lady had to be taken by stretcher to shore via the Zodiac. She reportedly had cancer and almost did not make it through the previous night. She was extremely dehydrated and was airlifted to Panama City for hospitalization. No word on her status. Coincidentally, I was to change cabins tomorrow into her vacated cabin. Later at dinner, we (Gail, Claudia, Saskia & I) sat at the Officer's table with my former Royal Clipper Captain Klaus & his sweet wife Helena. We had a wonderful dinner but the dessert was delayed. Claudia left for the bar. Then, to my total surprise, all of the waiters and staff came to our table with a beautiful cake with one candle lit and sang 'Happy Birthday' to me. The entire dining room joined in singing as I was serenaded with guitar music. Thank you Star Flyer for the wonderful surprise birthday celebration!
031710 @Sea: St. Pattie's Day. After a spicy BM, had to set clocks ahead one hour to Eastern Standard Time early this morning. Star Flyer had crossed 5 time zones in 32 days at sea! Sent in laundry again today. Went through 3 shirts yesterday due to spicy BMs. Many folks are preparing for end of 34-day voyage in 3 days. Cruise Director Saskia is giving talk about Panama disembarkation process for those leaving. Rumor has it that 40 passengers are getting off and 80 getting on before canal crossing. Looking forward to welcoming Bone & Tom in Balboa on 3/20.