Ships on the Panama Canal

In March, we took a cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego, passing through the Panama Canal. Besides the amazing engineering that went into construction of this series of locks and lakes through the Isthmus of Panama, there were a variety of different types of ships passing through.  My first career was in export shipping and freight forwarding so the loading and passing  of container ships still holds my interest to this day.

Therefore, it was the perfect opportunity to participate in Nancy Merrill’s Photo A Week challenge with this week’s theme Boats and Ships.

First, let me introduce you to the ship we were on, the M/S Veendam, a smallish member of Holland America Line’s fleet.  Our first stop after sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was at an island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay.  The small boat off to the right is the tender, the boat that shuttles people back and forth from the ship, as there is no place for a cruise ship to dock at Half Moon Cay. Most impressive is the color of the water as it changes from turquoise near shore to dark blue where our ship awaits.


When we entered the first stage of the canal, alongside us was the much larger cruise ship, the M/S Norwegian Pearl. It was fun to watch as that ship was lowered into a position below that allowed it to enter the first set of locks.

Panama Cruise C 258

In the middle of the isthmus is a large man-made lake, Lago Gatún.  This lake was created when the Gatún Dam was built between 1907 and 1913. This lake forms 33 km (21 mi) of the transit through the canal.


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Another cruise ship and a cargo ship on Lake Gatun


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Cargo ship being towed by a tug boat

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NYK is a major Japanese cargo/container ship company. 


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This Maersk Line ship seems to be overflowing with containers!


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Maersk Line is a Danish owned carrier which operates many container ships throughout the world.


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Loading or unloading at the port of Colon, Panama



The small vessel alongside this massive cargo carrier is probably a pilot boat. When a large ship approaches or leaves a port, local pilots are brought out to board the ship to assist the ship’s captain in navigating into or out of the port. This is helpful because local pilots are the most knowledgeable about their local waterways.

Stay tuned for more on the Panama Canal in a future post!








Capitol Doors (St. Paul, MN)

KODAK Digital Still CameraIn May, my husband and I visited St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, where we took a look at the state capitol building, which has recently undergone some renovations in order to create more meeting room space and facilitate handicapped accessibility.

The building was completed in 1905 and was modeled after Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The architectural style is Italian Renaissance and Beaux-Arts.



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Looking across the rotunda from the 2nd level is the entrance to the Senate chamber.

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There are a variety of different types of marbles used in the pillars and stairways.  In the rotunda, on the floor is the eight pointed star which is the state symbol of Minnesota. Look up and see the dome rimmed with small windows. The dome is smaller than the one at St. Peter’s, but preserves some of the features of its design. (Source: Wikipedia)


The Minnesota State Capitol was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Guided tours are available daily. The building is open weekdays from 8:30 to 5 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Thursday Doors 6/15/17

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CFFC: President Harrison’s House

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is “Dishes, Pots, Pans, Silverware.” When visiting Indianapolis a year ago, my husband and I toured the home of PresidentBenjamin  Harrison, the only president from Indiana that established residence there. Guided tours take visitors through the house.


The formal dining room might have looked like this with the table set for dinner.

Benjamin Harrison (grandson of president William Henry Harrison who died after one month in office( was a Republican, the 23rd president, serving from 1889 to 1893.  He married twice, first to Caroline Scott, who died in 1892 and with whom he had two children, Russell and Mary.


First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison was a talented artist, who painted these plates with images of different bird species.


On some of them, she painted short poems about the bird species.

Another set painted by the former first lady.





Official presidential dishware
Dishes with the official presidential seal

He married his second wife, Mary Scott Lord, in 1896 and they had one child, Elizabeth. Harrison served only one term as president. He lost his reelection bid to Grover Cleveland, due to the unpopularity of high tariffs and high government spending.

Harrison was a conservationist and he created a number of national forest reserves. Six states were admitted to the Union during his tenure as president. (Source: Wikipedia).


Flower of the Day: Tulips

I took these photos in my garden last month.  Most of the tulip bulbs I bought in Holland, Michigan, in the fall. I planted them not knowing what species of tulip would appear!


When I planted these two years ago, they were lavender in color. Now they are pinkish-red!


Likewise, these tulips, which I planted along a fence, used to be yellow with red stripes – now they all come up white and red!




“April showers bring May flowers!”


“Tiptoe through the tulips with me!”


Cee’s Flower of the Day 6/14/17