In February 2001, Wes and Judy sailed on the ms Amsterdam from Costa Rica through the Panama Canal and the southern Caribbean, and then wound up in Fort Lauderdale. Here is a rough route followed by some of the pictures that we took.

We flew to San Jose, Costa Rica. After a day of touring and unwinding we bussed to the pier in Puerto Calderas. Our first port of call was San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, then through the Panama Canal to Curaçao, Saint Thomas, Half Moon Cay and debarked in Fort Lauderdale.

Saturday, February 17, near San Jose, C.R. Before boarding the Amsterdam we spent a day in San Jose, Costa Rica and the surrounding area. The highlight was a walk and tram ride through the rain forest on the Rain Forest Arial Tram, a private park adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park. Most of the rain forest action, botanically speaking, is not on the ground but in the treetops. This tram tour is great because you go out at about mid-level and come back at treetop height. Antonio, our guide, was a botanist moonlighting as a tour guide. He had the most amazing ability to hear a bird, whistle back, and have the bird answer. 

 

Sunday, February 18, 8:00 PM, Puerto Calderas, C.R. The Amsterdam waited for flight-delayed passengers before beginning the voyage. The four-masted sailing ship docked behind us caught the sunset well.

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(left) This is the original from which the painting above was created. It is the Amsterdam tied up in Wilhelmsted, Curaçao.

 

 

 

(below). As we and another Holland America Line ship departed Wilhemested we were treated to fireworks.

 
Our first stop was San Juan del Sur.  Nicaragua. The primary attraction as a transfer point for buses to more developed parts of Nicaragua. We opted to walk around on the town which had a beautiful beach and a bar where you could imagine Ernest Hemingway getting loaded and chatting with the locals.
Here is the Amsterdam entering the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean. You can see the ss Prudhoe Bay just departing the lock, dead ahead, and to the starboard, the Mol Thames, which has been raised nearly to the next level.

Here is an odd fact: the general course of the Panama Canal runs northwest from the Pacific side to the Atlantic. (Check the map at the top of this page.) This is one of the few places in the world where the fastest overland  journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic is made by traveling west.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, seen from its highest point. The Amsterdam was the right-most of the three liners in the center of the picture.

That darned clock. A marvelous machine occupies decks 3, 4, and 5 midship, a clock-zodiac-constellation-time zone-earth moon sun-carillon with other features thrown in. Among those carrying cameras, a constant point of discussion was how to photograph the darned thing. See more pix of the clock.
Wes skipped shopping one day to take a tour of the bridge. But he didn't get to blow the horn.
 
 
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