Poor, poor Dominica

emerald-poolTouted a “The Nature Island,” Dominica was a joy to visit, pretty much “unspoiled” old Caribbean, almost like St Thomas was before it was overrun by cruise ships and tourists. With 365 rivers, the island had beautiful waterfalls, great whale watching off -shore,   and was a delightful change from the typical duty-free-shopping-mall Caribbean island most ships go to.  The little capital town of Rosseau was basic, Caribbean-island quaint, typical of what things were like before the invasion of gigantic cruise ships.


Year after year you’d watch the slow progress of restoring the old cathedral on the hill that had been heavily damaged by the last hurricane.


Well, it is no more.  There is no communication and no way for planes to land as of this morning.  But it appears that the island is devastated and everything is pretty much … gone.  All gone.


Hopefully, soon, planes will be able to get in, and, give them credit, the cruise lines have been shuttling survivors off many of the hardest hit islands, but what kind of future is there for an independent island nation, as if one can build an independent island nation based on a population of only 72,000, and an economy of bananas ((now all gone) and tourism (ditto),

Our thoughts and prayers and hopes go out for all those devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes and tropical storms over the past month, but especially to the poor people of Dominica.  It is estimated now that the damages are in the billions of dollars, not that anyone would assume that much damage was possible in little Dominica, and that every person living on the island has been affected.

Best Videos About The Panama Canal

If you’ve transited the Panama Canal, or are planning a Panama Canal Cruise, you will definitely want to get a copy of my book PANAMA CANAL DAY.  The book is loosely based on the commentary I give from the bridge on ships transiting the Canal … but much expanded.  It’s great background, not just about the history of the Canal, but  how that history fits into the history of Panama and the Americas.

Most of the ships I’ve been on transiting the Panama Canal show old, outdated videos about the Canal, typically telling only the part of the story about the US construction, even, as in the case of the David McCullough video, questioning if Panama will be able to successfully manage the Canal! The gigantic mass-market cruise ships happily use the Canal as a sales toll to generate bookings, but once they get you onboard treat the Canal and Panama Canal day as a giant inconvenience to the main goal of getting you to spend money. Sometimes I think they forget the reason why people booked a Panama Canal Cruise in the first place.

So, first, buy my book and second watch these two great videos! The first is the best history of the Canal from the inception to the US turnover of the Canal to Panama. And the second is all about the Panama Canal Expansion program that was completed last summer, and what it means for the future of not just the Panama Canal but for worldwide shipping and the international economy. You’ll get to see behind the scenes of the construction and actually see inside the giant tunnels that feed water into the new locks.

These are the videos the cruise lines should show onboard. They are by far they far the best comprehensive videos about the Panama Canal.



This is information you won’t get on most gigantic cruise ships, but it will make your trip through the Canal so much more enjoyable!

Largest Vessel Yet Fittingly Named

The largest vessel yet to go through the Panama Canal using the new megalocks is fittingly named CMA CGM THEODORE ROOSEVELT.

Panama City, Panama, August 22, 2017 – Today, the Panama Canal welcomed the largest capacity vessel to ever transit the Expanded Locks, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt. The Neopanamax containership, which began its voyage from Asia, will be making stops along the U.S. East Coast.

The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt has a Total TEU Allowance (TTA) of 14,863 and measures 365.96 meters in length and 48.252 meters in beam. To put the scale of this enormous ship into perspective, its length is roughly the equivalent of laying end to end two Great Pyramids of Giza, four Big Bens, or eight Statues of Liberty.

“Today’s transit not only represents the growing success and adoption of the Expanded Canal, but also its impact on reshaping world trade,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt is deployed on the new OCEAN Alliance’s weekly South Atlantic Express (SAX) service, which connects Asia and U.S. East Coast ports via the Panama Canal. The SAX service is composed of 11 vessels ranging in size from 11,000 to 14,000 TEUs, including vessels which also transited the Expanded Canal earlier in May becoming the largest capacity ships to do so at time.

The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt began its voyage in Shanghai and will soon call on ports along the U.S. East Coast. Stops will include Norfolk, Savannah, and Charleston, all of which have seen strong growth and record-breaking tonnage, following investments made to accommodate the larger vessels now able to transit the Expanded Canal. For this voyage, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt will also call on the Port of New York and New Jersey, which recently completed a four year, $1.6 billion project to raise the Bayonne Bridge to 215 ft. The move will allow the nation’s third-largest port for the first time to accept ships larger than 9,500 TEU to reach three of its four main terminals.

In addition to the vessel’s record-breaking capacity, what’s notable about the transit of the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt is that it also highlights the Panama Canal’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions compared to alternative routes. By traveling through Panama, the vessel saved 29,561 tons of CO2 in bypassing the Cape of Good Hope.

Emission reductions have been a key focus of the Expanded Canal, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in June. In its first year of operation, the Expanded Canal contributed to the reduction of 17 million tons of CO2 thanks to the shorter traveling distance and larger cargo carrying capacity that it offers to customers.

Looking forward to the 2018 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, the Panama Canal Authority is projected to accommodate approximately 13,000 vessels, including 2,335 Neopanamax vessels for a record tonnage of 429.4 million Panama Canal tons (PC/UMS).