This was a 23 day Panama Canal cruise on Holland America's Statendam. Built in 1993 The Statendam , in the capable hands of Captain Albert Schoonderbeek, is 720 ft long and 101 ft wide. She carries a crew of 580 with a passenger count of 1260. My Lovely Teena and I departed Fort Lauderdale on April 12 , 2013 and arrived in Vancouver on May 5, 2013. During that time we covered a total of 11648.5 kilometers. Our ports of call were Kralendijk, Willemstad, Oranjestad, Panama Canal Transit, Puerto Caldera, Corinto, Puerto Quetzal, Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, San Diego, Victoria, and finally ending in Vancouver, Canada. So, let's have a look at the Statendam on our first postcard.
Here is my Cruise Log for our voyage.
Friday, April 12, 2013 - Departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida at 4:15 pm
We sailed for 2 days and experienced rough seas on the second day.
Monday, April 15 - Arrived Kralendijk, Bonaire at 2:15 pm
I located the Post Office, it was quite near where the ship docked, so that worked out well. I purchased 10 or so cards of Bonaire in the local shops. On the way back to the ship, we walked to the Post Office and I purchased a number of stamps, all the same, no choice. Stamps cost $1.00 each for international mailing. I posted 7 cards here including 2 to myself . Here they are. Nice KLM DC-10 on the first one.
The only stamp I could get was from the 2012 Sailboats issue .
Tuesday, April 16 - Arrived Willemstad, Curacao at 7:15 am
Willemstad is a lovely place and the Handelskade is even lovelier. It's the harborfront street lined with brightly painted 18th century buildings. It is the most famous picture from Curacao. Few things are more beautiful as this place at night. So my postcard from Curacao gives you a look at Handelskade and the floating Pontoon Bridge.
The stamp on this one was issued this year, 1 of 6 in an Abstract Art set. That sounds easy but there is a story here. The Post Office here wasn't a lot of help. When we arrived at the post office, there were only 2 people ahead of us. I took a number and prepared my cards, all 8 of them. Waited 45 minutes and the same 2 people were still ahead of us. There was about 15 people behind me by this time, but Nothing was happening.. Finally decided to leave without stamps. I had to take my cards back to the ship where I knew that the service desk sometimes had local stamps for purchase. Not this time though. What to do now ?
Well I paid the postage for my cards and left them with the ship for mailing by the ship's agent after departure. It seems to have worked out okay, and of course the stamp was a surprise to me. You never know what you will get when you depend on someone else . More about that later. Oh yes, the stamp.
Departed Willemstad at 10:30 pm
Wednesday, April 17 - Arrived Oranjestad, Aruba at 6:54 am
Not to get caught again, I bought Aruba stamps on board before going ashore this time. Picked up a number of postcards on shore and wrote them out to all the lucky ones.
My card shows an Iguana, Aruba's most exotic island animal resident. He may be the official Bon Bini or Welcome to My Country guy. Iguanarific to say the least.
These 2 stamps are the ones I bought on the ship. The one on the left is a definitive from 2007, it is part of a set of 14 issued over 3 years . The right stamp is from 2006 , 1 of 2 in a set issued for World Cup Football in Germany.
Maybe I should have waited to buy the stamps in Oranjestad. I found a small post office in the tourist area and the lady there gave me directions to the main post office. After getting lost a couple of times I finally found it. A large and very impressive building. I think there were 10 wickets and I was the only person in there. I posted my cards with the stamps from the ship and then made my way to the Philatelic Division. Needless to say I looked at many stamp issues and purchased a fair number. A good day for sure.
Departed Oranjestad at 4:50 pm
Friday, April19 - Panama Canal Transit 5:20 am
7:00 Enter Gatun Locks
I have 2 cards from The Canal. The first one has an oil tanker, situated just alongside the Gatun Locks control tower, headed southbound.
The 2nd card has a container ship , headed southbound and another large ship, headed northbound.A tight squeeze for both.
For the record- Even though this is my 2nd transit of The Canal, I have not yet set foot in or on Panama soil. How did I get postcards stamped and cancelled you ask ? As I wasn't stopping in Panama I bought the stamps from the ship and left the cards for the ship's agent to mail, hoping big time that it would happen. And it did. The stamp on the left is from a set of 7 Tourism set issued in 1998. The stamp on the right shows M Moscoso, a former President of Panama. It was issued in 2000.
12:00 Enter Pedro Miguel Locks
1:00 Enter Mira Flores Locks
2:00 Clear all locks
2:25 Welcome Pacific Ocean
Sunday , April 21 - Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica , Arrival at 5:40 am
This port is about 20 km from Puntarenas, the only real town in the area. There wasn't a whole lot of anything in Puerto Caldera but I did manage to find a good supply of postcards. I wasn't able to locate a post office, not really surprised by that , but I still needed some stamps. I asked the lady who sold me the postcards about stamps and that was a good move. First she tried to sell me the common ATM type sticker stamp , but I passed on that. She then said I have stamps for collectors, so I said bring them out. Sure enough, she had a large supply and she let me pick what I wanted. I love it when that happens. I selected 3 large different stamps for each card.
There were no local Puerto Caldera postcards, so I settled for one showing the National Theater in San Jose. A nice looking building.
Departed Puerto Caldera at 4:25 pm
Monday, April 22 - Arrived Corinto, Nicaragua 8:54 am
Nicaragua's contribution to my postcards is from the small town of El Viejo and shows the colonial-era church of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. It was build in the 17th century.
In Corinto I met a local named Lester who gave me great directions to the Post Office. On arrival , we noticed we had a definite language barrier. With all the jigs and reels I did manage to buy stamps and get a few cards cancelled and mailed. Again the lady had a nice selection and let me pick and choose.
The top left stamp was issued in 1993 and is 1 of 7 in a set issued for the Olympic Games. The middle stamp is from 2004 and is 1 of 2 in a Tourist Places set. The stamp on the right is 1 of 7 in a 1991 set of Orchids. The bottom stamp, issued in 1994 is 1 of 7 in a Modern Art set.
Departed Corinto at 4:53 pm
Tuesday, April 23 - Arrived Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala 7:32 am
Postcards and stamps were readily available in Puerto Quetzal so I purchased a bunch of each. It was quite hot out there, 35 degrees, while looking for a post office. In total I mailed 12 postcards from Guatemala. My first card from there shows a small lad at play, rolling some sort of wheel along with a stick. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that.
The stamps on this one are a couple of older stamps , including 1 airmail stamp, that were overprinted for use again in 2007. Seems like a good money saving idea to me. Maybe not one that a lot of philatelists might like, though.
Here's another card from Guatemala. It is of the Church of La Merced, one of the oldest in Antigua, Guatemala.
On this one is a newer stamp from 2012. It celebrates 150 years of St Vincent de Paul. On both of these cards you can see a really nice shaped cancellation on the stamps. Too bad most other countries don't have anything quite so nice.
Before we leave Guatemala I just want to share with you a slogan that I came across quite often , on caps , posters, tee shirts, etc. It was "Guatever You Want ". Sounds like a winner to me.
Departed Puerto Quetzal at 5:45 pm
Wednesday April 24 - Arrived Puerto Chiapas, Mexico at 7:54 am
Puerto Chiapas is the first of four ports of call in Mexico. Huatulco, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta are all coming up later. Postal service from Mexico is living up to its record with long waits for mail. I posted 4 cards in Puerto Chiapas, Huatulco, Manzanillo and 10 in Puerto Vallarta. My card from Puerto Chiapas has not arrived, yet but I know for sure that 2 of the 4 have arrived overseas.
Departed Puerto Chiapas at 4:40 pm
Thursday April 25 - Arrived Huatulco, Mexico at 7:31 am
After touring around Huatulco, including La Crucecita Main Square , as shown on my postcard , I was able to purchase a few cards in a local shop. The lady running it also had a wide selection of stamps and let me pick out the ones I wanted.
The 2 large stamps on this one are from a 2012 set of 3 celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the University of Sonora.
Departed Huatulco at 4:36 pm
Friday April 27 - Sea Day
Saturday April 27 - Arrived Manzanillo, Mexico 8:06 am
Here's my postcard from Manzanillo .
I came up with a 2013 stamp for this one. It's a stamp issued Feb 14th for Day of Love and Friendship in Mexico or Valentine's Day as we call it
Departed Manzanillo at 4:49 pm
Sunday April 28 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at 7:28 am
Of the 10 cards I posted in Puerto Vallarta , I only know of 2 that have arrived and mine isn't one of them. So no card to show here.
Departed Puerto Vallarta at 4:40 pm
Monday and Tuesday April 29 and 30 - Sea Days.
Wednesday May 01 - Arrived San Diego, U.S.A. 6:08 am
The weather in San Diego was great for walking around, and that's just what we did. Picked up a few cards in a local shop. Here's the one I sent myself. It's Crystal Pier and Pacific Beach.
I was only able to pick up a few common USA stamps , as you see here. All are from 2007.
Departed San Diego at 9:10 pm Thursday May 2 - Arrived Victoria, Canada 6:37 pm , after 2 more Sea Days
We only had a short stay in Victoria, just 4 hours, but I managed to find a few cards , but no stamps. What to do, what to do ? I went back to the ship and asked about stamps. No luck, they had no Canadian stamps. The lady at the ship's desk said I could pay cash for the postage and she would have the ship's agent in Vancouver mail them. Vancouver now, not Victoria. I don't know why the Victoria agent wouldn't mail them , but that was my only option. This is where the story gets muddy. I handed in 4 cards , 3 for overseas and 1 to myself in Alberta. This was on May 2nd. I received my card on May 30 and it arrived with a High River , Alberta postmark , dated May27th. High River is 1,116 km to the east of Victoria. I contacted the 3 other people that I sent a Victoria card to and asked about their cards. All 3 were postmarked on May 16th at Haines , Alaska, USA, with American stamps.
Her is my Victoria card , front and back.
Well, we departed Victoria at 11:30 pm
Sunday May 5 - Arrived 7:00 am
We must have took the long way as the distance is just 112 km, but it took us 7.5 hours.
Speaking of long, this has been a long update, I started this many days ago and kept adding to it.
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Cruising Thru Postcards. I know I have enjoyed looking back on it myself. Thanks for reading, leave your comments and I'll read them.