April 09, 2008

GEOGRAPHY LESSON MEETS VACATION

Cruise South America and the Panama Canal! Travelzoo is offering a 14 night cruise that stops in Columbia, Panama, Ecuador, Chile and Peru. This little jaunt takes off from Ft. Lauderdale and will run you about $1,449 per person. I was just telling Nate that I've added Panama {and the canal} to my list of places to go. No, this does not replace Greece; it just provides options since I'm planning on a long life of travel.














Wikipedia says, “The Panama Canal is a waterway in Central America which joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken; it had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America.

For example, a ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 6,000 miles, well under half the 14,000 mile route around Cape Horn. Although the concept of a canal near Panama dates back to the early 16th century, the first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership. After this attempt failed and saw 21,900 workers die, the project of building a canal was attempted and completed by the United States in Panama in the early 1900s, with the canal opening in 1914.

The building of the 51 mile canal was plagued by problems, including disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever) and landslides. By the time the canal was completed, a total of 27,500 workers are estimated to have died in the French and American efforts.

Since opening, the canal has been enormously successful, and continues to be a key conduit for international shipping. Each year more than 14,000 ships pass through the canal, carrying more than 205 million tons of cargo. By 2002 about 800,000 ships had used the canal altogether.

1 comment:

tim & brandi said...

My mom is leaving this Saturday for Santiago, Chile for a cruise that goes through the Panama Canal and ends up in Boston - It's something like 18 days long. She's excited and I'm jealous.

~b