I had originally hoped to volunteer as a line handler on a sailboat traversing the Panama Canal. Unfortunately this turns out to be the low season and private boat traffic is rare, maybe one every couple weeks. So I took the train.
The cast for this adventure: Me, Vito, Nero (Vito's brother), and Nir (who will receive a more thorough introduction later).
The train passed by several huge floating cranes:
The train dumped us off in the middle of Colon, a foul (and reportedly quite dangerous) port town with little to interest the tourist. After visiting a few shippers on the docks (Vito is trying to find a cheap way to get his RV across the Darién), we hopped in a cab and headed for the old fort of San Lorenzo.
The road took us *across* the Gatún locks of the Panama Canal!
The weight of water (and ship) being held back by these gates must be enormous. Gulp.
The San Lorenzo fort and surrounding park is beautiful. The fort was destroyed several times (including once by the pirate Henry Morgan) and partially rebuilt, most recently by the US Army during WW2.
Just below the fort was a perfect little beach with crystal-clear water. We jumped in. This was the first time I've immersed myself in the Caribbean on this trip.
On the way back we stopped at the San Lorenzo yacht club for lunch. There is little out there except several ex-US-army buildings and a nice marina filled with HUGE cruising catamarans.
The bus ride back was entirely uneventful.