DATE 1/16 MON
TIME 0700 LT, 1200 GMT
DEPTH 3900 METERS
WIND NE FORCE 6
240 NM NW OF BARRANQUILLA, COLUMBIA
We had a very nice Sunday-At-Sea yesterday. A great deal of food, plenty of
sunshine and only one passing shower. The ship's ride could have been better,
but we are encountering the winter trade winds, and those easterlies just
stand up the swell. The KENNEDY is a good riding ship as it goes, but does not
like the quartering swell. Add to that our reduced speed, and it'll cause you
to bump into a bulkhead occasionally, and learn to hold on.
The NFL Playoffs this past weekend were a hit. About 14 years ago the Board
of Trustees authorized the President to buy a satellite TV system for the
training ship. I recall that it was over $25,000 at the time! But is has been
very useful in keeping the cadets and crew entertained while at sea. We once
thought that it would attract crew so as to watch 24-hour news, weather
channels and movies - yet I have observed that it is under subscribed until a
sporting event is on. Honestly, you can walk by any of the five TVs that have
service and often no one is watching.
We are at our 24-hour notification point for the Panama Canal. When we arrive
at Cristobal tomorrow, we will be subject to a thorough inspection by the
administration to make sure that we are carrying no cargo, nor have we changed
any configurations that would modify our gross tonnage. Then we wait -
although we will be informed as to the approximate time of transit, it is
always a waiting game. We are hoping for a daylight transit one way or the
other, as this does allow a better appreciation of the beauty of Panama, as
well as the marvel of engineering that it is.
To see the massive earthen steps
bordering each side of Gaillard Cut in Culebra is amazing, or the new bridge
built ten years ago with a 270 vertical clearance. And the most exciting thing
to see in daylight will be the new excavations at Gatun and Miraflores where
new 'modern ' locks are being built - over 1200 feet long and 160 feet wide!
By late 2014 some much larger ships will ply the Panama Canal.