Tour and Panama Cruise with CruiseWest
Cruise West's Pacific Explorer,
100-passenger ship * Photos and text by Jack
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The ship, built in 1995 and remolded in 1998, is 185 feet long and
40 feet beam. The cabins (about 10x12 feet) are air conditioned with
private baths and hot water showers. The ship cruises at about 10
knots and has accommodations for 100 guests. There is a crew of 25
including expert naturalists in the local ecology. All guests are
served at one sitting. Transportation to shore activities is provided
by "Zodiac" type rubber boats and requires a certain amount of "dexterity"
to get in and OUT of them.
After the CRT tour, the ship is boarded from the resort city
of Herradura on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Click on the following
thumbnails for larger views
The first order of business was to serve
After dinner, guests gathering in the Lounge
for a slide show of upcoming events.
The crew briefing on tomorrow's activities.
Sometimes meals were served on the Sun
The bar is also on the Sun deck.
(They never ran short of fruit punch!)
Exploration Leader, Rudy Zamora, explains
the extensive effort made in conserving plant and animal diversity.
The Pacific Explorer at anchor near the
Manuel National Park.
A Garmin GPSmap 76C (in the window center)
is powered from a wall jack, so that tracks could be recorded 24 hours
a day for the complete cruise. An active antenna is suction mounted
to the glass.
Captain Hernán Lara at the helm.
The ship's depth finder reads 655 feet
agreeing with the depth notations on the nautical chart.
The ship's nautical chart with a ship-position
symbol. "Purple" is the radar return superimposed on the navigation
A Garmin GPSmap 230 GPS provides the navigation
position and speed. Here the ship is slightly to the left of course
traveling at 10.9 knots and 9.2 miles from the next turn.
Here we can compare the ship's nautical
chart (left) to the CenRut map. There is in remarkable agreement
with the nautical chart. The dashed line is the ships' projected
path and the pink are tracks recorded as the ship went along. The
ships position has been spotted with an icon at the coordinates seen on
the ship's GPS. Other icons are placed where the ship stopped for
On the way back from the San Blas Islands,
the Atlantic seas were somewhat rougher.
However, the Pacific Explorer is a sturdy
ship, and nothing untoward happened on the trip.
A big wave approaches the ship.
The wave gets a little closer.
Ooops! That was a pretty good one!