Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Back Matter
 Back Cover

Title: Panama Canal review
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00097366/00002
 Material Information
Title: Panama Canal review
Physical Description: v. : col. ill. ; 28-34 cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Panama Canal Commission
Panama Canal Company
Publisher: Panama Canal Commission
Place of Publication: Balboa Heights Republic of Panama
Balboa Heights Republic of Panama
Publication Date: Fall 1971
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: PANAMA CANAL ZONE   ( unbist )
Periodicals -- Panama Canal (Panama)   ( lcsh )
Periodicals -- Canal Zone   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Panama
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with v. 1 (May 1950).
Issuing Body: Vols. for 19 -19 issued by Panama Canal Co.; <Oct. 1, 1980-> by Panama Canal Commission.
General Note: Title from cover.
General Note: "Official Panama Canal publication"--19 -19 .
General Note: Description based on: Oct. 1, 1980.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097366
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01774059
lccn - 67057396
issn - 0031-0646
 Related Items
Other version: Panama Canal review en espagñol


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
        Front Matter 4
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Back Matter
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Back Cover
        Page 37
        Page 38
Full Text


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2009 with funding from
University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries

http://www.archive.org/details/panamacanalrevi1971 pana


p l ,. '

David S. Parker
Charles R. Clark
Lieutenant Governor
Frank A. Baldwin

Panoma Canal Info



Morgan E. Goodwin, Pre:: C'fi'cir
Publicano.rns E.,ror:
Willie K. Friar, Tom6s A Cupas
\. r,n.r:
Eunice Richard, Fannie P HernAndez,

rmation Officer Official Panama Canal Publication Jose T. Tuii6n and L
Review articles may be reprinted without further clearance. Credit to the Review will be appreciated.
Subscriptions: S1 a year, airmail S2 a year; back copies (regular mail), 50 cents each. Published twice a yec,
Make postal money orders payable to the Panoma Canal Company, Box M, Balboa Heights, C.Z.
Editorial Offices are located in the Administrotian Building, Balboo Heights, C.Z. Printed at the Printing Plant, La BGca C 2.


Portobelo 3
Panama plans restoration of
the fortress made famous by
Drake and Morgan.

Unlikely Pets 7
Quaint quail and capricious co-
atimundi among Canal Zone's
pet oddities.

Letters From the Sea 11
Bottles bobbing on the waves
provide valuable scientific in-

Early Warning System for Slides 14
Slide watchers are ever alert
for dangers to Canal traffic.

The French Canal 16
Remnants of an abandoned
dream still remain.

Gold Rush Days on the Isthmus 19
Spurred by the passion for
gold, thousands of Forty-niners
took the shortcut through the
Panama jungles.

Ship Launching 2
It began as a pagan ceremony
but even today most seafaring
men won't set foot on an
unclristened craft.

Culinary Capers 2
A visit to the Darien and a
sample of Choco cuisine.

Shipping Statistics 2

History 31


Our Cover

carriages haLe rotted a.,'.', and
their voices lont; betr, silenced, the line
of Spanish canri:'ns still points t.,.rard
the entrance to th:- n,. p,:-acteijl h.TIrbi'r
of Portobelo.
The pictures, t lc I tlte r- ..- ht.>,.,:-r is
all that is left -:f tlhe sincee Irnud.alble
ramparts of Fort S:n Femrr.uid, v.hich
defended the tov.n of: PotitobLllo and the
treasures from P'rtn that acciiniulated in
the Customs House.
Across the sparklirii, l]ii:- l .lters of
Portobelo Bay carn I)e seen the r'-mairns
of the town, the I,-orts .o Sariti..io t.uid
San Ger6nimo, -id Ith Spa.iri sh church
of San Felipe .'.here pilirn-s can \ visit
the sacred effig. of thi Bla .k Christ %:AI
Portobelo, which is carried throulhi
the town in a prs cessi-on that dras
hundreds of peo ple t.icl O-cltlt,-r 21
Although the l|nglre hias ta, keri .i'.er
much of the to-.Tn and its ti'trls, .Lid th-
famous Customrs HI lmse- is a ruiri, w\ilit.:l
a roof, progress '%ill s,,r, r.-.c:h out It:
the town of P'.rt,:>l,:, The Pani.Lam
Tourist Bureau. assiste-d ,'t ith lnds from
the Organizatiin, of .\mrnricar, Sltatis.
will reconstruct the [t: '.Ti .and reltbhild
many of the hous,--s :n tlhe t:- uJu,.Jatr:r.
of the old ruins. The C(isr.tnms Hlouse '.. ill
get a new roof and the forts on eith-r
side of the bay will be restored.
Perhaps then, when the tropical n>mon
rises over the beautiful bay, the ghost
of Sir Frances Drake and the Welsh
pirate Henry Morgan will walk .a;.imn
the battlements of the fortresses they
robbed, raped, and tried to destrt\.
Photograph by Arthur L. Polla-k. Pan-
ama Canal Information Office plluhrog-
\_~ __ _..

4,f l


FALL 1971

uis C Noli


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the Americas and the Caribbean
port through which the inestimable
treasure of the Incas found its outlet,
Portobelo is about to awaken after a long
sleep of more than two centuries.
The site of many a bloody buccaneer
raid and the final resting place of Sir
Francis Drake is to be restored and re-
built at a cost of $6.5 million through the
efforts of a group of historical monument
experts from the Organization of Amer-
ican States working with the Panama
Government Tourist Bureau and AID.
Plans for the restoration of the his-
toric old town and its system of fortifica-
tions will include the establishment of
a 22,500-acre national park, according
to Dr. Alfredo Castillero C., director of
Historical Tourism in the Panama Tour-
ist Bureau and director of the History
Department of Panama University.
Within the park area, the old town will
be restored. This will include reconstruc-
tion of the old forts, churches, and public
buildings and the reinforcement of the
foundations of the old ruins. The work
should be completed in about 4 years.
Land access to Portobelo was opened
not long ago with the completion of a
modern asphalt highway connecting the
town with the Transisthmian Highway.
For the first time in history, Isthmian
residents were able to travel to the old
fortress town by car instead of going by
sea. Engineers from the OAS already
have started their surveys and have set
aside sites along the beach to the east

of Portohelo for construction of modern
tourist hotels.
The history of the little town, with the
magnicent harbor discovered by Co-
lumbus in 1502, has been turbulent.
Founded by the Spanish more than 300
years ago as a replacement for Nombre
de Dios, which was difficult to defend,
it became one of the strong fortresses
along the Atlantic coast and the third
strongest in Spanish America. It was
named originally San Felipe de Porto-
belo and old records say that by 1618

there were 130 houses in the main town,
not counting the suburbs, "the gover-
nor's house, the king's houses, a monas-
tery, a convent, a plaza, and a quay."
The main city will rise again, accord-
ing to the restoration plans. It was well
built originally of stone and brick and
most of the ruins of the official buildings
still remain along with the official Cus-
toms House which is nearly intact. The
early town had suburbs, one of which
was set aside for freed slaves. The build-
ings were chiefly of cane with palm

i. I-.

An artist's conception of the plan for the restoration of the town of Portobelo is shown by
Janine Lizuain, secretary in the Historical Department of the Panama Tourist Bureau.


I~ I~~S~~,


r___ 77..
c~ -z

Maria Elena Hart, secretary in the Historical Department of the Panama Tourist Bureau,
holds a picture showing how the Royal Customs House in Portobelo will look when it is
restored under the plan for restoration of historical sites.

5 .-... .",, ,, .. .^r'i,.i -.swc^ ^*^*.^,tA^BM:,
5.I','~...w -- ~-* .'--.tL .-V .- '- -

The Customs House as it appears today, roofless but with its walls still standing sturdily.
It was built in 1630 and served until the end of the Spanish colonial period in 1821. It
was often crammed with chests of gold and silver.

thatch, all of which disappeared long
ago, without a trace, into the jungle
Jungle Outposts
It was but an outpost in the lunrl.
after all. No man alone dared tr;icl th,
royal road from the city's gat:. itt'e
nightfall. In the streets, snakes, icid,
and iguana were frequently seen. The
native wildcat prowled in the suburbs
and, besides carrying off fowls a:nd picg.
sometimes attacked human beings
But Portobelo was a market tiir .s
well as a fortress. It came to life .t i,..ist
once a year during the trading tfair
which lasted from 40 to 60 day) Th,.
flood of gold that poured through thl,
trails across the Isthmus, after Piz.irr,
began his plunder of Peru, was tr ictd
for goods from Spain and Europe. The
fair began when the fleet of mtr..h.,nt
ships and galleons arrived in port hirm
Cartagena and Spain loaded with goc.ds
to be traded for gold and silv-.r The
goods were shipped to South Aimenr...
and even to the Philippines.
Bustle and Excitement
The town took on an air of bustle and
excitement at the time of the fair. The
houses were crowded with people, the
square and the streets crammed with
goods, the Customs House with chests of
gold and silver, and the port filled with
vessels. Portobelo became the emporium
of the riches of the two worlds and the
most important commercial depot of
that period.
In the square facing the Customs
House, merchants erected cane booths
and tents made of sails from the ships
while all available space was filled with
goods. With the fleet of merchant and
warships came nearly 6,000 soldiers,
merchants with their clerks and porters,
buyers of all nationalities and, of course,
the sightseers. So crowded was the little
town that it appeared to be in the
possession of a mob.
The Customs House, built in 1630
during the administration of Alvaro de
Quifiones, served until the end of the
Spanish colonial period in 1821. The
Council of the Indies had ordered the
Customs House to be built in the most
convenient spot with one entrance and
one exit only to help prevent fraud.
A royal tax collector was on hand to
collect the royal fees.
Because of the wealth stored at Porto-
belo and its use as a trading center, its
fame spread over the Spanish Main.
Although Portobelo was substantially
built and protected by four strong for-
tresses and several minor batteries, the

FALL 1971

town was repeatedly taken by the British
and other marauders. The first to attack
was the English pirate William Parker
in 1602, and the last was Adm. Edward
\emi,:. of the British Navy, who cap-
tured the town in 1739. He caused the
most damage when he blew up and
disma.ntl]d the fortress.
The most savage of all the scores of
raids was made by Sir Henry Morgan,
who according to Esquemeling, the
Dutch historian, attacked for the first
time in 1668 and killed or wounded a
majority of the inhabitants. At that time
the garrison consisted of 300 soldiers
and the town was inhabited by 400
17-Cannon Line
The main forts, which are to be totally
restored by the Tourist Bureau are La
Fortaleza de Santiago and San Felipe,
both dating from 1600; Fort San Ger6-
nimo, which is located within the pres-
ent town; and the famous Fort San Fer-
nando, built about 1753, across the
beautiful bay. This fort has a 17-cannon
line that somehow has escaped most of
the ravages of time. High above San
Fernando, a second platform of cannons
points toward the sea and atop an even
higher crest stands Casa Fuerte, Porto-
belo's prime lookout and vantage point,
which gives a superb view of the
complex of forts below.
San Felipe, once known as Todo Fie-
rro or the iron fort, was built in 1600
at the entrance to the bay and was par-
tially destroyed by raiders. At the time
the Panama Canal was being built, the
site was turned into a quarry, and it
was said that what the English pirates
started to do, the Americans completed.
The fort of Santiago de la Gloria was
built in 1604 within the town limits
while Santiago was built on the coast
road leading to the town. The Fort
known as Farnese or Farnesio is on the
south side of the harbor and not too far
from the island where history says Drake
is buried. All in all, there are about 12
fortifications to be restored.

The Parish Church
The parish church of San Felipe,
which was still unfinished when it was
dedicated in 1814, is one of the oldest
buildings in the town still in use. It
replaced a smaller church of the same
name, the ruins of which still remain.
The most interesting thing about San
Felipe church is that it houses the image
of the Nazarene of Portobelo, a hand-
-ome effigy of Jesus bearing the cross,

.- -
-. ; .-.



One of the old Spanish cannons of Fort San Fernando, its carriage rotted away years ago,
points out toward the entrance to the bay of Portobelo. Two modern yachts can be seen
at anchor in the distance.


The ruins of the original church of San Felipe in Portobelo. This
church, also known as the Hospital Chapel, will be rebuilt under
the plans for the restoration of the town of Portobelo.


The new church of San Felipe, which houses the famous image of
the Black Christ, stands stark against the brilliant blue sky of
Portobelo. Services were first held here in 1814.

The Black Christ, one of the most revered
images throughout Panama is surrounded by
candles for the annual "Feast of the Black
Christ" celebration.

hewn from wood of southern Spain more
than 300 years ago. Called the "Black
Christ," it has become one of the most
revered images throughout Panama and
the focal point of an annual church fes-
tival which draws thousands of visitors
each October.
Legend has it that the image of Christ
came to Portobelo aboard a sailing ship
bound for Cartagena, Colombia. Whenw
the galleon sailed from Portobelo, a
fierce storm sank it. The boxed image
floated free and was washed up on a
nearby beach. There it was found by
the townspeople and taken back to

"Feast of the Black Christ"
The annual celebration of the "Feast
of the Black Christ" began in 1821 when
a cholera epidemic ravaged the Isthmus.
The Portobelo residents made a vow to
celebrate a feast day of the Black Christ
each October 21 if the town were spared.
The epidemic bypassed the town.
The present day town of Portobelo
has only slightly more than 500 citizens
and they have developed a personality
of their own. They are descendants of
the Spanish and Indians and the Spanish
and African slaves, with a third group
made up of people of distinct African
ancestry. Dr. Dulio Arroyo, retired dean
of the Faculty of Law at the University
of Panama, and a native of Portobelo,

says members of this group "carry in
their blood centuries of tradition."
Among these traditions are primitive
dances with a definite African flavor,
called "congos," which they perform
wearing costumes fashioned from the
bark of the palm tree and decorated with
multicolored feathers.

Congo Dances
The congo dances have become a part
of Panama's folklore and they are pre-
sented at most typical Panama dance
exhibitions. Congo dancers can be seen
mainly at carnival time when "congos"
from neighboring villages come to Por-
tobelo to roam the streets and perform
thc.ir lively dances.
Although there has been a slight tour-
ist boom since the completion of the
highway connecting the town with
Colon and Panama, the carnival celebra-
tion and feast of the Black Christ are
about the only times when present day
Portobelo comes to life.
But it is only a matter of time, the
Panama Tourist Bureau says. As soon
as the town is rebuilt and the hotels
completed, Portobelo will become a
tourist mecca. Once again, Portobelo,
the old market center, the scene of so
much adventure and strife, will take its
place on the map and help in the
economic revival of the Gold Coast of
the Isthmus.-E.R.

FALL 1971

SOME ARE SHY like this
kinkajou, which belongs to
Vic Canel, of Ancon.

Unlikely Pets

Photographs by Arthur L. Pollack
Some like them big, some like them small. Some like
them feathered, some like them furry.
But there is no shortage of animal lovers in the Canal
Zone. And although the 1970 census did not include
animals in residence, it is a safe bet that the number and
variety of pets in the Canal Zone is greater than in most
communities of comparable size.
Panama's lush tropical forests are alive with creatures
of many sizes and descriptions, from the deer that come
down from the hills to eat your prize petunias to the little
reques and squirrels often seen scurrying across Canal
Zone lawns.
Although there is the usual compliment of more prosaic
pets-currently there are 4,400 dogs and 1,100 cats
licensed-many householders have opted for the unique or
exotic in their choice of pets.
Some have been successful in domesticating essentially
wild animals and others, alas, have failed. And they have
the scars to prove it.
On these pages are a few of the happy pets, feathered
'imd furry.




SOME ARE BOLD like this African
baboon who decided to take the head-on
approach. Sambita was found in the
vicinity of Miraflores Locks and is thought
to have jumped ship. She was bailed out
of quarantine by Sgt. Richard W. Chesson,
of the Canal Zone Police, who finds her
an interesting pet.


JUNGLE ANIMALS can be frustrating

as well as fascinating
but a number of local
animal lovers

have taken on the task of
domesticating some of them
with a certain amount of success. At left,
Pingo, a soft-furred marmoset, cuddles
contentedly in the arms of its owner,
Roxanna Maria Chesson, whose father
owns the baboon shown on page 7.
Below, Louie, a beautifully coated
margay, waits beside the steps for his
master, Col. J. J. Caulfield, of Quarry
Heights. Below right, Jimmy, a frisky
coatimundi, climbs into the lavatory where
he likes to sit and rub soap on his long tail,
He is one of the many pets of S/Sgt.
and Mrs. Stanley Whitaker, of Quarry
Heights, who also own four marmosets
and the Blue Jay shown on
the opposite page.

FALL 1971

TROPICAL BIRDS are popular in the
Canal Zone, as they are everywhere, but

there are many more unusual feathered pets.
The Blue Jay, at right, was brought from
Washington, D.C., by S/Sgt. and
Mrs. Whitaker, who adopted him after
he fell from his nest. Now that he is 5 years
old, he seeks the warmth of the light bulb
inside his favorite lampshade. Joey,
the friendly cockatoo, at right, appears
to be carrying on a lively conversation
with a ceramic peacock, the head of which
he often uses as a perch. He belongs
to Mrs. Marlean Boggs, of Fort Clayton.
Below, Ruthann Kelleher, of Fort Kohbc,
turns on the sprinkler so Ping and B. C.
can have their daily frolic in the water.
Below right, Robert, a quail that was
rescued by Robert L. Boyer, of La Boca,
after he shot but only stunned it while
hunting, nestles in his daughter Meredith's
hair while she talks on the telephone.
It took more than a year
to tame the bird.


a?. -TK^-^^yf. *->.r- .-a ;' 11.i3McP-1 _%, W!*-

Lounging happily in his tub, Speedy gets a bath from the McKean girls, Jeanne,
left, and Christine . .
.. .. `- --


Speedy has the run of the house and sleeps under
the organ in the living room, but often goes outside
and hangs from his favorite tree. Above: Very good
friends with the family dog and cat, Speedy watches
while Christine feeds Tippy.

FALL 1971

S SLOTH, according to Mrs. John S.
McKean of Balboa who also has a cat,
d og, bird, and monkey. In Spanish, he is
S called "Gato Perezoso," lazy cat, a
fitting name, for the sloth moves with
about the same speed as the snail.
A mild-mannered affectionate animal,
who likes nothing better than to curl up
in someone's lap and take a nap, the
three-toed sloth makes an excellent pet.
Food is no problem since he dines solely
on Eucalyptus leaves.


,* .*...

and then hangs on the clothesline to dry.


.Let++f f1elm the Sc

By Muriel Lederer

mercial Fisheries research vessel
Undaunted periodically steams across
the Atlantic Ocean from Miami, Florida,
to Africa, her crew goes through a
strange routine. They throw batches of
empty beer bottles overboard.
These are not ordinary bottles-they
are "drift message" bottles. Each of the
10,000 bottles cast overboard thus far
contains sand for ballast and a fluores-
cent orange card imprinted with a mes-
sage in four languages-Spanish, French,
Portuguese, and English. The card asks
the finder to fill in details about his dis-
ccvery on an attached, franked postcard
addressed to TABL (Tropical Atlantic
Biological Laboratory) and mail it.
TABL in Miami thanks the finder upon
receipt of his card and then also sends
him a small chart showing the track his
bottle might have followed and includes
a cookbook of seafood recipes printed in
Spanish and English.
Enchanting Gentlemen
About 600 of the bottles have been
recovered and the messages returned so
far. Many finders also send along per-
sonal messages. One arrived from Co-
lombia with a note from a lady who sent
greetings from a small fueling port. She
explained she had many North Amer-
ican friends, all of them "enchanting
gentlemen." Another letter, from the
American Embassy in Caracas, Vene-
zuela, told of a bottle that had been
found in western Venezuela (200 miles
away) by a 13-year-old boy who could
neither read nor write; a family friend
had traveled to Caracas to deliver the
drift card.
This is the latest chapter being added
to the ancient and noble history of serv-
ice to mankind performed by drift mes-
sage bottles. The purpose of this par-
ticular program is'to study patterns of
surface currents in an effort to discover
and develop marine food resources,
especially tunafish. The hope is to col-
lect information that will help in both
the harvest and conservation of this
increasingly important food fish.


One of the most enduring romances of
the sea is the message sealed in a bottle
and cast adrift, its destination unknown.
Bottle messengers have been going to
sea for over 2,200 years. Some have
contained farewells from shipwrecked
sailors. Others hold sermons or letters to
be mailed. Many go on scientific voy-
ages-and one even carried a secret
message in code.
This particular bottle was picked up
over 350 years ago, when Elizabeth I
was Queen of England. It was found by
a fisherman on the beach at Dover.
When he opened the bottle, he was
amazed to see a strange message. Puz-
zled, he went to the authorities with the
bottle and its peculiar message. They
took a hasty look at it and sped to the
Queen. It was a good thing they did,
too! For the bottle message contained
top-secret information sent by a British
spy from a passing ship. The Queen was
alarmed. She realized it would never do
to have just anyone open bottles and
learn state secrets. So she passed a law
forbidding this and appointed an official
Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. A British
law, which has since been repealed, then
made it a penal offense for anyone but
an authorized person to read bottle
Long Missing Ships
Sailors and explorers, cut off from
communication with the rest of the
world, have in their last extremity put
written notes into bottles and thrown
them into the sea. This was done in the
hope they- would be picked up and so
bring help. And bottle messages have
solved the mystery of long-missing ships.
In 1902 two naval vessels searched
the Atlantic for 3 months for some trace
of the missing steamer Huronian. The
search was in vain, but some 5 months
later a securely corked bottle was picked
up on the Nova Scotia coast. It con-
tained a message which read: "Huronian
turned turtle in Atlantic, Sunday night.
Fourteen of us in a boat."
The note bore no signature. It was at
first thought to be a hoax, but 5 years

later its validity was confirmed when a
second message was found in a bottle
on a beach in Northern Ireland. The
paper read: "Huronian sinking fast. Top
heavy, one side awash. Goodby mothers
and sisters-Charlie McFell, greaser."
Study Currents
Today the most important bottle mes-
sengers are those sent to help scientists
chart the currents and drifts of the seven
seas. The first of these was recorded
many years before Christ by Theophras-
tus, a Greek philosopher. He floated
bottles in the Mediterranean Sea to
study currents.
Centuries later Benjamin Franklin
threw bottles into the Gulf Stream. They
contained his name and address and
asked the finders to tell him where and
when they were found. By gathering this
information, Franklin was able to chart
the speed and direction of the Gulf
Stream. His chart is little changed today.
About 1860 the British Navy began
issuing printed forms for ships' officers
to drop overboard in bottles. The forms
gave the name of the ship, the location,
and the date of dropping. Finders were
asked to fill in the place and date of
recovery and return the forms.
Some 30 years later the U.S. Navy
adopted the same system and still uses

Crewmembers of a Government survey ship
cast drift bottles into the Gulf Stream off
Frying Pan Light Tower on the lower North
Carolina coast.

Letters from the Sea

it. The Hydrographic Office of the U.S.
Navy sends out several thousand bottles
every year. These are given to captains
of American ships to set afloat in differ-
ent parts of the world. Each bottle con-
tains a card on which the captain records
the name of his ship, the date, longitude,
and latitude. It also holds another card
with instructions to the finder. These are
printed in seven different languages, in-
cluding Esperanto. About 350 forms
come back each year. From these re-
turns excellent current charts have been
Tens of thousands of such bottles are
released into the seas of the world each
year, because, despite our more sophisti-
cated instruments, drift bottles still play
a vital role in unraveling the mysteries
of the seas. Drift bottles are regularly
released today by government agencies
across the world. They may be tossed
into the sea from yachts, merchant ships,
or research vessels sent out by private
scientific institutions.
Drifting Mines
Finished sea charts are especially val-
uable after a war to locate explosive
mines which have drifted into the main
shipping lanes. In the Pacific following
World War II, there were thousands of
live and deadly mines drifting at random
in the shipping lanes. Many serious
casualties to ships resulted from colli-
sions with these diabolical killers. It be-
came imperative to know where and
when these mines were likely to be en-
countered if ships were to be safely
routed across the Pacific. A study of
bottle drifts provided the answer. Even
in normal times the paths of floating
hazards to navigation can be forecast, or
predicted with a high degree of accu-
racy, as a result of information gleaned
from bottle drifts.
More than 156,000 corked soda-pop
bottles were thrown into the Atlantic
Ocean from Newfoundland to Florida
from 1948 to 1962 by U.S. and Canadian
research scientists.
The data accumulated from the re-
turned cards has supplied valuable in-
formation on surface currents of the At-
lantic Ocean. This comprehensive study
will be used to help solve such problems
as where to dispose of atomic waste ma-
terials and offshore pollution waste, as
well as to learn more about the migration
of fish.

For fishermen, exact knowledge of
currents can be almost literally pure gold
because of the increase in fishing hauls.
American scientists, for example, use
bottles to tip off fishermen as to where
and when they can find cod and had-
dock. The eggs of these fish float on the
surface, and bottles are cast among them
as telltale floating markers. If the bottles
move far out to sea, then presumably
the eggs do too.
Sea charts have enabled navigators to
make use of the speed of currents and
drifts so their ships can avoid an oppos-
ing current and take advantage of a
favorable one, thereby increasing their
speed. Industry uses bottles to trace the
disposal of wastes. Dumped into the
water with waste material, they show
whether or not certain areas or beaches
are in danger of pollution.
For Her Duenna
The nautical experts who study the
returned messages are in a splendid posi-
tion to get first-hand information on
what the people of the world think of
America. The common belief is still that
the streets of America are paved with
gold and that certainly there must be a
handsome reward for finding a bottle
paper-despite the notice to the contrary
printed on the form.
A Canary Islands damsel requested
reimbursement for travel expenses to the
seat of an American consul (where she
carried the bottle paper) not only for
herself but for her duenna as well-the
young lady could not travel alone. One
Irish colleen even asked for a husband
and specified he be fat "because fat men
are more jolly, generous, and romantic."
Though bottle papers do not usually
offer much of a reward to the finder, a
native farm boy in the Azores Islands
found a bottle on the beach that did.
Inside, he discovered a note promising
to pay the finder $1,000 if the note was
duly presented to a New York address.
It was not a hoax. In fact, the reward
was actually paid. More folding money
than the boy could have earned in 10
years! As a publicity stunt the bottle was
cast into the sea near the entrance to
New York Harbor by the sponsor of a
radio program. It worked. The bottle
drifted about 2,500 miles in the North
Atlantic, finally resting on the Azores
Island beach.
Why are bottles particularly used?
Fragile as it may seem, a well-corked
bottle is one of the world's most sea-
worthy objects. Bottles are strong and
durable. When well sealed, they make
perfect containers. During storms they

ride safely on giant waves, often 100 feet
high. They resist breakage when they
are hurled to the shore by pounding surf
or dragged back into the sea across
stones and sand.
Bottle messengers do not hurry. Twist-
ing and turning, they meander on their
way, sailing about 10 miles a day. How-
ever, bottles carried by strong currents
and blown by gales have been known to
travel some 80 miles in 24 hours.
Some bottles travel only a few miles,
returning to shore on the rising tide.
Others travel thousands of miles. One
bottle messenger has been sailing the
oceans for 25 years. Nicknamed the
"Flying Dutchman," it was first dropped
into the North Sea by a trawler. This
venerable traveler has been picked up
and thrown back more times than you
can count. It has been around the world
several times, and most likely right at
this very moment it is bobbing merrily
over the waves.
In 1784 a Japanese fisherman and
some companions sent a message out in
a bottle while on their way to seek buried
treasure. The bottle was cast up in 1935
at the very sea coast town from which
they had departed. A 151-year trip!
Whiskey bottles, beer bottles, catsup
bottles-all kinds of bottles are drifting
on the oceans. Imagination pictures
them pushed relentlessly along by winds
and currents, buffeted by winds and
waves but usually coming to rest on
some shore to be discovered by a beach-
comber with an inquiring mind. It is
recorded one bottle drifted from a point
southeast of Cape Horn to the west coast
of North Island, New Zealand, a distance
of 10,250 miles.
Contrary Behavior
Drifts of 4,000 to 6,000 miles and
more are not uncommon. Not so long
ago, a bottle set adrift about 800 miles
east of Newfoundland was discovered
31 months later on the coast of Yucatan
after drifting over 6,000 miles. It was
first carried along in the eastward-mov-
ing current and wind, then southward
and westward until it finally washed
ashore on the remote beach in the
The speed of a drifting bottle varies,
of course, according to wind and cur-
rent. A bottle adrift in a quiet corner
may not move a mile in a month.
Another, caught up by the Gulf Stream
at its raciest, may bowl along at a brisk
5 knots and do 100 miles a day.
However, nobody can predict with
certainty in what direction a bottle will
go. Consider the contrary behavior of
identical bottles dropped at the same

FALL 1971

time just off the Brazilian coast. The first
floated east 130 days and was found on
an African beach. The second went
northwest 196 days, ending up in Nica-
ragua. Yet two other bottles thrown
overboard in the mid-Atlantic landed on
the same bit of French coast-mere yards
apart after 350 davs at sea.
There must be literally thousands of
bottles bearing messages drifting on the
oceans of the world at this very moment.
Who can tell what outstanding news
they may be carrying? During and after
World War I many bottle messages set
adrift by shipwrecked seamen were
delivered by the sea to all parts of the
world. It is reasonable to think many
more such messages were entrusted to
the sea in wars since then, not only by
seamen, but also by airmen shot down.
Probably as time goes on, some of these
"letters" will be duly delivered bv the
seas; perhaps bringing news of the fate
of sons, husbands, and fathers who went
to war and did not return.
Or perhaps, there are bottles drifting
about like the one tossed overboard one
June a few years ago by Dr. T. R. Van
Dellen and L. E. Richard of Chicago,
who were on a ship off the northern
coast of Maine. They stopped a steward
as he was about to throw an empty
whiskey bottle over the side and decided
to test the odds of nature.
In pencil they wrote a note giving
their names and addresses and instruct-
ing the finder to send the bottle, and
they would refill it. After putting the
note into the bottle they tossed it into
the stormy North Atlantic.
More than 2 months later they received
a letter from a man in Newfoundland.
He said he had found the broken bottle
on a beach over 1,000 miles from where
it had been tossed overboard.
"I hope you can refill another bottle
in place the broken bottle," he wrote,
"Wouldn't be no good (sic) to sent you
but I was lucky enough to get the note
and drye it. Will I am in hopes to get
good succeed with it. Thank you."
Van Dellen and Richard each chipped
in five dollars and sent a check to the
man explaining that liquor could not be
sent through the mail.
The envelope was returned unopened.
Under the bottle-finder's name was
printed, "Deceased."
Perhaps, too, there may be romantic
bottle messages afloat like the one from
a sailor who offered to marry the first
pretty girl who read his seaborne mes-
sage. A Sicilian girl answered. Corre-
spondence turned rapidly to love, and
they were married in 1956!


Above: Bottles released by the Coast and
Geodetic Survey are weighted with sand
so they float almost completely submerged.
Any movement may then be attributed
more to current flow than to wind. At right:
Mrs. James T. Bird, of Coco Solo, holds
a bottle she found on the beach at
Fort Randolph, which contains a card
similar to the one above. It was set adrift
by the Oceanographic Institution of
Woods Hole, Mass. Below: James T. Bird,
an avid bottle collector, displays a
Guinness Stout Bottle found in Gatun Lake,
which he bought recently from another
collector. It was a part of the Guinness
Bottle Drop of 1959 and contained a
label commemorating their Bicentenary.
(This article reprinted with the permission
of THE COMPASS, publication of Mobil
Sales and Supply Corporation of New

.I -- -


.1. \ ~I~

Canal Building Early

Warning System for

/ \
By Eunice Richard e


T sessed a certain remorselessness
which was not manifested by any of the
other slides in quite so picturesque a
wav. For this slide, with apparently
human malice, attacked not only the
work done on the Canal proper, but
like a well directed army moved on the
headquarters of its foe.
"Its first manifestation appeared in the
form of a wide crack in the earth at the
crest of the hill on which the town of
Culebra was located and directly in
front of the building used by Colonel
Gaillard as division headquarters for the
This was in 1913 and a construction
day writer, describing the problems
faced by the Canal builders, said that at
this time many of the buildings, includ-
ing the Culebra YMCA Clubhouse, had
to be moved from the side of the Cut.
In May 1968, 55 years and several
thousand ships later, Panama Canal
engineers discovered that a similar
problem still existed. A deep crack had
suddenly opened on Hodges Hill, the
present day name for Culebra. It was on
a hill overlooking Culebra Reach on the
west bank of the Canal.
Reactivation of the old slide that dates
back to construction days came to the
attention of the Canal engineers by the
enlargement of enormous tension cracks
high on the hill. The unexpected threat
almost spelled disaster. A slide of this
size could have blocked the Canal or at
best slowed traffic.
Swinging into emergency action, the
engineers launched a maximum effort
program aimed at stabilizing the hill by
any means that could be implemented
quickly. At the same time, they started
an intensive effort to determine the cause
and nature of the problem.
The methods being used today to de-
tect potential slides and handle them are
naturally far different than those used
55 years ago since the science of soil
mechanics is only 30 years old.
In the case of Hodges Hill, engineers

first took action in an effort to stabilize
the slope quickly. This consisted of drill-
ing into the slope to drain the cracks and
rocks; application of large quantities of
lime to help the soils and rocks release
water; and construction on the surface of
an effective drainage diversion system
which collected the rainfall and diverted
it from the cracks.

The movement on the slope decreased,
probably as a result of the remedial ac-
tion and it was decided that no grading
operation would be done unless the sit-
uation worsened. Since an ounce of pre-
vention is worth a pound of cure, the
bank stability surveillance program was
then started.
An intensive effort to determine the
cause and nature of the slide problem
progressed quickly at the same time that
monitoring systems were installed and
geologic exploration was undertaken in
the most active area. Assisting in this
program was a board of consultants
headed by Wendell Johnson, former
chief of the U.S. Army Engineering Di-
vision, and Dr. Arthur Casagrande, an
authority in the field of soils mechanics
and engineering geology.
The geology at Hodges Hill could not
have changed much in the years since
the Canal diggers were dodging land-
slides and removing dirt almost as fast
as it could slide into the Canal prism. It
consists of hard, heavy rocks overlying
weak rocks, a basic structure of many
hills in Gaillard Cut and an important
factor behind many slides.
The Panama Canal geologists, who
have been wringing their hands over

what they call the most mixed up geol-
ogy in the world, have a name for
the geology in Gaillard Cut-"reverse
They explain the theory this way:
"First of all-in the distant geological
past, Panama had sedimentary forma-
tions and they were beneath the sea.
Then the Isthmus rose up from the sea

and the rocks were subjected to weather-
ing and erosion so that hills and valleys
were formed. Later, some intensive vol-
canic activity developed, and the hills
and valleys of sedimentary rock were
covered with igneous rocks. Some were
basalts that flowed over the land as lava,
and some were agglomerates which
rained down on the land and then
Since the land was still above water,
erosion began and on top of the hills
where the igneous rocks were thinnest,
the weathering progressed most rapidly.
These areas started to become the new
valleys. As a result, the valleys are now
located where the hills used to be and
the hills are located where the valleys
used to be. The hills are made of hard
volcanic rock with the old sedimentary
rocks beneath. It is the opinion of geol-
ogists that there could hardly be a worse
situation so far as slope stability is
In formulating the Bank Stability Sur-
veillance Program, Canal engineers did
not rely entirely on past experience but
built flexibility into their plans for devel-
oping better methods and equipment as
they went along.
They came up with an 8-year develop-

14 FALL 1971

"And when the clay was exposed in the sides of the Cut
and the teeming rain fell on it, it dissolved into heavy
sticky mud that moved and crept inexorably down and
filled the excavations, covered the rail tracks,
overturned and sometimes buried the trains
and machines at the bottom."

A sample of what happened to the early Canal diggers from time to time. A break in the Gary Guazzo, soils mechanics engineer with
east bank at Culebra in 1913 poured material into the bottom of the Cut tearing up railroad the Panama Canal Engineering Division,
tracks and burving a steam shovel. Some buildings had to be moved from the side of the Cut. probes a crack on the side of Hodges Hill.

mental plan which when completed
would d provide an effective surveillance
system for all bank areas in Gaillard Cut
high enough and steep enough to cause ...
a serious possible slide.
The developmental program was di-
vided into two phases. Phase I covers
areas of kno\\wn instability where there
is presently activity or where there has
betn activity in the past. Phase II covers -'
areas X\here the banks are high enough
for potential sliding and where the
geology is not known well enough to
say the\ are safe. This phase will be
completed in 1977.
From that time on. a permanent pro-
gram of surveillance will continue. This
\\ill include continued maintenance of
the surveillance systems as well as read-
ing them. There may be instruments to "
replace and there may be new and ,
better inst rumnents to install. On occa- -
sion, new areas nmay have to be studied
and added to the system.
The engineers say that when they are e
thronluh \\ith this developmental pro-
gram. about half of the steep or cdanger-
ous banks along Gaillard Cut will have
been studied, instrumented and under "'t1. -"
observation. In other \words, the Canal .
will be equipped with a "slide early
warning system" which will give earl\ i,
detection of possible slides. The system ,'-
\ill include the engineering plans held .-
in readiness and kept in an up-clated Concrete and sandbag lined walls and drainage ditches divert the storm runoff away from
condition in case remedial action of any the slide area of IIodges Hlill. A ship moves through the Gaillard Cut in an area where
kind should become necessary. there might have been hazards to Canal traffic if preventive measures had not been taken.



The picks and dredges and the army of rough and tumble diggers
have long been silenced. But their ghostly presence somehow can be felt
as one looks over remnants of the old French canal.

By Robert L. Austin
Panama Canal, a mile north of
Catun Locks, a small wooden
bridge crosses a narrow waterway. If
\ou stand in the middle of the bridge
and face east toward the morning sun,
\ou can see where the still water joins
the Canal a short distance away. Now
and then a ship goes by, leaving a pat-
tern of waves that break against the
mangroves on the shore.
As you stand there the creaking
planks give rise to a ghostly rhn thin: the
dull thud of absent picks, the clatter of
long gone dredges, the ribald laughter
of men now silent. For this narrow chan-
nel was dug by men determined to build

a "Straits of Panama." It is the last
remnant of an abandoned dream-the
French sea level canal.
Todav little note is taken of the
French canal. The old equipment has
rotted away and time and the jungle
have erased most of it from sight and
memory. Children growing up here
have only a vague idea of the French
canal although part of it is still in use.
Bones and Sweat
The French originally planned to dig
a channel from Colon southwest along
Mind Hills to the Chagres River at
Catun. From Catun the channel would
boldly follow the Chagres as far as
Camhoa then turn abruptly south
through the Continental Divide. This is

the general route that the Canal follows
today over the "bones and sweat" of
that first effort.
The French work near Balboa and in
Gaillard Cut forms part of the present
Canal but is not discernahle. On the
Atlantic side, however, the French
excavations were not used as part of the
American canal and it is here that the
French work can be seen.
Every visitor to Fort San Lorenzo
crosses the old canal and everyone going
to Gatun or Fort Davis from Margarita,
Coco Solo, or Rainbow City goes along
East Diversion, a small drainage chan-
nel dug by the French in the early
The oil cargo dock on Pier 16, the

16 FALL 1971



~T"T r~gR
~ .24

Top left: The French left their indelible mark at Mount Hope when in ISS6 they built the drydock now used by the Industrial Division.
Originally for small sailing ships, it was enlarged in 1933 to accommodate larger steel hulled ships. Top right: The narrow French canal
enters the channel at Buoy 16 along the sea level approach to Gatun Locks. Below: An old French excavator lies partially submerged near
Tabernilla after it was abandoned following the French faiure. The photo was taken in 1913.


i 4V


The Panama Canal Yacht Club
at Cristobal is host to Atlantic side
boat fans and to yachtsmen
from all over the world.
The club is located on the
east bank of the French canal
where the channel turns left
into Limon Bay.

Cristobal Yacht Club, the Maintenance
Division, and the Industrial Division
shops at Mount Hope are all on the old
French canal.
The French removed more than 4.5
million cubic yards of spoil from the
Atlantic area including excavations in
the ship canal, diversions, and harbor,
and completed this sector almost as far
as Bohio, 8 miles south of Gatun. (Later
the French would select Bohio as a site
for a dam and lock when the sea level
canal plan was abandoned.)
Chagres River
French work was divided into three
main excavations: the ship canal; West
Diversion, a small channel draining
water west of the Chagres River; and
East Diversion, draining off water east
of the Chagres into Manzanillo Bay.
The West Diversion was kept open
as a temporary channel for the Chagres
River until the spillway sill was com-
pleted at Gatun and the river finally
closed in 1910.
After 1914 the East Diversion was
not used. Now, partially hidden by
second growth foliage, it has degen-
erated into a sluggish course that follows
the road from Rainbow City, past
Margarita, along Mindi to Fort Davis.

East Diversion
Many people mistake the East Diver-
sion for the French ship canal and often
taxi drivers pass on this misinformation
to their tourist passengers. Others
erroneously believe it is a jungle river.
Although the Americans dug a differ-
ent channel, they did make temporary
use of the existing French excavations,
The French canal's location adjacent to
the proposed lock site at Gatun made
it ideal for use as a boat slip. Barges
loaded with crushed rock from Porto.
belo and sand from Nombre de Dios
were brought by sea to Cristobal and

then towed up the old channel to the
cement storage docks at the huge mixing
plant at Catun.
When the locks were finished the
mixing plant was no longer needed and
use of this portion of the French eanal
was discontinued. The hustling, sprawl-
ing shops are gone and the clanking
machinery is silent. The only evidence
of this old bustle are the iron rails left
in the jungle.
At its northern end the French canal
is still alive and busy. Here the myriad
facilities of the Industrial Division
occupy the east shore of the old channel.
This northern end of the French canal
is the only part that has felt the hulls of
oceangoing ships. The drvdock built by
the French in 1886 is used today to hold
modern ships.

The Roosevelt
But here also is a trace of the old.
Along the mud flats on the west bank
are the rusting hulks and equipment of
the French and Americans. These rot-
ting relics recall past heroic days. The
sad remains of the Roosevelt rest among
the old dredges and barges.
(The Roosevelt was specially con-
structed to take Arctic explorer Robert
E. Peary to the north polar region. The
rugged little ship did her job well and on
April 6, 1909, Peary planted the Stars
and Stripes atop the North Pole. She
was sold and resold many times and
finally, in January 1937 while being
operated as a tug, the Roosevelt was
taken to the Mount Hope Shipyard to
repair a leak and storm damage. But
she was too far gone. The work was
never started. The historic vessel w'as
ordered beached on a mud bank of the
old French canal to keep it from sinking
at dockside.)
It may be too romantic to believe
there's an awareness lhere. Somehow it

seems the old canal feels this drama
with a consciousness that pulses through
the channel keeping it alive and proud
of the part it played.
Farther down where the French
canal joins Limon Bay and the Cris-
tobal basin are Pier 16 and the Cristobal
Yacht Club.
The yacht club is host to many At-
lantic side boat fans as well as yachts-
men from all over the world. Few of
the transient visitors are aware of the
historic significance of the busy chan-
nel and the water drifting past the
mooring piers.
The Marine Bunkering Section's oil
cargo dock on Pier 16 is an offspring
of the older coaling station. As coal gave
way to oil on more and more ships, the
coaling station gradually shifted to ma-
rine oils exclusively. Coaling operations
were finished in 1952 and many of the
buildings destroyed. Currently the dock
handles thousands of tons of marine oils
and bunkers hundreds of foreign and
American ships.
Still Alive
The spirit of the French canal is still
with us even though the locks type
canal ended the dream of a "Straits of
Panama." Back on the west bank near
Gatun Locks just a few miles from the
busy industrial shops, the French canal
lies quietly in the jungle. Ships of all
nations pass it where the channel-juts
into the present day American canal at
Buoy 16.
Perhaps this is the way the Chagres
River once looked with Catun nestled
on its banks. The area abounds with
ghosts-from the pirates and conquis-
tadores to the French who worked
and dreamed.

Robert L. Austin is an employee
of the Navigation Division at Balboa.

FALL 1971

,i- *1

__ d I

~7~ B

r. ,I II



By Willie K. Friar

in the gas-lighted taverns of old
San Francisco, covered wagons lurching
across the vast deserts and snow covered
mountains of the United States with
fierce Indian braves in hot pursuit. These
are the scenes that come to mind at the
mention of the California Gold Rush;
not malaria stricken men on recalcitrant
burros jolting their way over the jungle
trails of Panama or others poling their
dugout canoes through the shallow
reaches of the Chagres River.
Yet Panama, Las Cruces Trail, and the
Chagres were very much a part of the
scene during Gold Rush days, with
thousands of gold seekers electing to
take the "shortcut" across the Isthmus.
The great throngs that joined the Rush
in 1849 were to become known as the
Forty-niners, a term that eventually
came to mean anyone who goes in search
of gold or treasure.
Before the discovery of gold in Cali-
fornia, Panama was seldom visited ex-
cept by an occasional whaler and travel-
ers across the Isthmus were "few and far
between." But when the cry of "gold"
reverberated around the world, with the
discovery of the'lode at Sutter's Mill near
Sacramento in 1848, it signaled for Pan-
ama, the beginning of another colorful
chapter in its history as a route of
Gold Fever
During the next two decades the Isth-
mian route was to become one of the
world's most traveled thoroughfares. It
was obvious that the shortest way to
California was by way of Panama, avoid-
ing the 10,000-mile sea voyage around
the Horn or the dangerous 3,000-mile
trek across the United States. And, in the
frenzy of "gold fever" few gave any
thought to the hazards they would face
transiting the small neck of land that
stood in their way.
Ships from the north first touched
land at the forlorn village of Chagres


\ '.,- }
\ '* '"
..j ^-

Gold Rush Days on th

near the mouth of the Chagres River and
at the height of the Gold Rush
hordes of California-bound emigrants
daily swarmed ashore, determined to
make their way to the other side of
the Isthmus without delay and there re-
embark for the final dash to California.
The Isthmian crossing was made in
stages, partly by river, and partly by
land. First, the Forty-niners had to seek
out and hire native boatmen with dugout
canoes, called "bungoes," to transport
them to some point in the vicinity of
Cruces or Gorgona. From there, they
took mules to Panama or, if they could
afford it, the more expensive "silleros,"

so called because of the silla, a kind of
chair which the natives lashed to their
backs for carrying passengers.
The trail from Cruces was longer and
rougher than that from Gorgona but had
the advantage of being open in all
weather. It followed the ancient Las
Cruces Trail of the Spanish Conquista-
dores. It had once been paved with stone
over its entire length and, despite cen-
turies of neglect, enough of the stone-
work remained to give the mules a foot-
ing, precarious though it was during
the drenching tropical rains. The Gor-
gona route, while shorter, became an
Drawings by Frank Brown

-- -

While reading about the Gold Rush, Trish Finn, student assistant in the Canal organization,
pauses to study an oil painting which shows a party of Forty-niners, traveling by mules and
"silleros," as they stop for refreshments at the Half Way House on their trip across the Isth-
mus. Painted in 1857 by Albertis D. O. Browehe, it now hangs in the Canal Zone Library.

Thousands took the shortcut

Through the jungles of Panama.

impassable quagmire during tropical
The bungo boatmen were in an excel-
lent bargaining position with hundreds
of men rushing ashore and bidding
against one another for passage up the
river. It became a matter of survival of
the fittest. The ablest at bargaining, at
paying, or at forcing the natives to stick
to a bargain in the face of higher bids,
loaded their supplies into the boats and
set off. At the beginning of the Gold
Rush the fee for the first lap of the trip
was about $10 per passenger, but prices
snared and bargaining became heated
as the demand increased.
All travelers were anxious, with good
reason, to get out of the village of
Chagres. It was notorious as a breeding
spot for yellow fever, cholera, and ma-
laria, where the death rate was so high
that most insurance companies included
a clause in their policies stating that all
benefits would be canceled automatically
if the policy holder remained overnight
in the village.
Yankee Doodle
It was a treacherous 60 miles from
Chagres to Panama City by river and
trail with the sole avenue of travel for
the first 40 miles on the meander-
ing Chagres River, which was, by
turns, broad and sluggish, narrow, and
After about an hour at the oars the
boatmen routinely tied up their crafts
and plunged into the water to cool off or
they disappeared into the jungle and re-
turned carrying bottles of native brandy
from well hidden caches along the route.
Many of the passengers, convinced that
a supply of wine or stronger beverage
was a necessary safeguard against the
tropical diseases, joined the boatmen in
passing around the bottle and it was not
uncommon to encounter whole boat-
loads of Fortv-niners following an
erratic course upstream with passengers
and oarsmen laughing uproariously as
they sang "Oh Susanna" or "Yankee
Doodle." The Spanish speaking natives
often had little idea of the meaning of
the words they were mispronouncing.
The clothing of the travelers and their
arsenal of guns and knives were subjects
of wonder and merriment to the friendly,
scantily clad natives. Ill-informed con-
cerning what to expect in Panama as

On Las Cruces Trail, still a popular
hiking route, Pat Weed, Canal Zone
College student, examines some of the
well-worn paving stones over which
thousands of gold seekers traveled in
their headlong dash for California.

well as in California, the men frequently
brought heavy woolen clothing best
suited for Arctic conditions. As the trip
progressed, these clothes were discarded
and it was not long before the streets of
Panama City were littered with a col-
lection of fur hats, red flannel shirts, and
woolen trousers.
Dined on Iguana
The passage up the river usually took
at least 3 days with overnight stops at
native villages along the way. Food was
difficult to find and eating at the huts
often proved an unnerving experience.
Wild stories circulated and the travelers,
unacquainted with the ways of the
tropics, became suspicious of any food
they could not immediately identify. But
hunger often overcame their reservations
and some later reported they were sure
they had dined on iguana, snake,
monkey, and other exotic animals.
One traveler wrote that he had drunk
his first cup of coffee at a hut and found
it so good that he ordered another.
When he indicated that he would like
more sugar in it, he was dismayed to
see the girl serving it chew a piece of
sugarcane and calmly spit the juice into
the cup before she handed it to him. He
decided to stick to brandy for the rest
of the trip.
When the boats reached Cruces or
Gorgona on finishing the first part of
the journey across the Isthmus, the hag-
gling began anew as the men paid off
the boat owners before starting a
new series of negotiations for mule
transportation to Panama City.
Gold-finding Devices
Like the Chagres boatmen, the over-
land packers shrewdly fixed prices de-
pending on the current demand for serv-
ices. The distance was only 20 miles but
the route was through rugged country
with trails so narrow that riders were
forced, in some places, to put their feet
up on the mule's back to be able to pass
through. The mud on the slippery trail
was often knee deep.
Scores of Panama mules moved con-
stantly over the route bearing burdens
out of all proportion to their size as many
of the Forty-niners had supplied them-
selves with all manner of outrageous
Rube Goldberg-type gold-finding de-
vices and enough provisions to last a
whole year.
One guidebook of the day recom-
mended the following as the minimum
amount of supplies needed for a year in
the gold fields: 1 barrel of salt pork;
10 barrels salt beef; 100 pounds of ham;

FALL 1971

10 pounds of hard bread; 40 crocks of
butter and cheese; and a goodly supply
of tea, salt, sugar, and spices. How a
man was to transport himself and such
a store of supplies across the Isthmus and
onto the ship bound for California was
not explained.
Food Was Scarce
The travelers who survived the rigors
of crossing the Isthmus thought first of
food and lodging when they finally ar-
rived in Panama City. More often than
not, they found no room available in the
overcrowded town and set up camp in
the tree-covered fields outside the an-
cient walls of Panama City, improvising
shelter from whatever material was on
hand and preparing their meals over
And there the men stayed, often for
months. Ship after ship continued to
come in on the Atlantic side but far
fewer were leaving on the Pacific side
for California. And when the ships did
arrive and began taking on passengers,
those with through-tickets often found
the ships already filled with men who
had no reservations but refused to get
off. During the first 6 years of the Gold
Rush, demand for space on California-
bound ships was so great that tickets
sometimes changed hands for as much
as $1,000. Brothels, saloons, and gam-
bling dens soon sprang up and many
men lost their tickets or ticket money
before they could secure passage.
Aghast at Morals
The Bishop of California, the Right
Rev. William Ingraham Kip, passed
through during this period and was
aghast at morals and living conditions.
He wrote of his accommodations in Pan-
ama City, where he was put up in a room
with 200 others, "There were not only
the most awful blasphemies that human
ingenuity could devise, but the most
foul-mouthed ribaldry that could be con-
ceived by a perverted imagination.
A party would rise from their beds, and
under the dim lanterns which hung from
the beams, produce their brandy-bottles,
and with oaths, drink until they reeled
again to their bunks. To make matters
worse, next to us was a pen (I can call it
nothing else) of boards about 10 feet
high, intended to afford a private room
for females. This happened to be occu-
pied by some women of the baser sort
whose loud ribaldry infinitely amused
the kindred spirits on our side of the par-
tition, who accordingly replied to them
in the same terms. It was enough to
convince one of the doctrine of total

Overcrowding and unsanitary condi-
tions began to take their toll with dis-
eases often reaching epidemic propor-
tions. Thousands fell victim to dysentery,
malaria, and yellow fever. An almost
complete lack of medical care made mor-
tality high. Once a disease was con-
tracted it had to run its course. Those
who died were placed in the ever-grow-
ing "American" cemeteries at one or
another of the ports and the survivors
either returned home or continued on to
the gold fields. New crosses were erected
daily which the tropical rains washed
away while new shiploads of gold seekers
continued to straggle past on the way to
the great adventure.
Guides for Forty-niners planning to
cross the Isthmus often advised against
drinking alcoholic beverages and then
eating tropical fruits which they said
would cause "a fermentation in the
bowels which no medical care seems to
Many survived the stay on the Isth-
mus only to find themselves faced with
the hazards of epidemics aboard the
ships. Most were overloaded, increasing
chances of contracting contagious dis-
eases. Many passengers were exposed to
cholera and yellow fever before board-
ing the ships and there were often nu-

merous deaths before they reached San
In August 1852, the Pacific Mail's
steamship, Golden Gate, having taken
on a full load of passengers, including
several companies of the Fourth Infantry
bound for the Presidio at San Francisco,
was found to have several passengers
with cholera. The disease spread rapidly.
Before the ship cleared Panama Bay 84
soldiers had died, and there were almost
daily fatalities all the way to California.
Ulysses S. Grant
One detachment of soldiers had be-
come infected while stranded for 5 days
in Cruces. Among the group was a future
Commander in Chief and President of
the United States, Capt. Ulysses S.
Grant. A mule owner had contracted to
provide baggage transportation for the
Army at 11 cents a pound, but when
civilian travelers offered him 16 to 20
cents, he conveniently forgot the con-
tract. Captain Grant succeeded in secur-

Travel on the Chagres River has changed
little from the time of the Gold Rush.
Employees of the Meteorological and
Hydrographic Branch look very much like
the Forty-niners in the painting
"Passing a Rapid" as they use poles and
rope during a routine trip. J. Cameron
painted this Chagres scene at the height
of the Gold Rush.


California Gold Rush Turns the

Panama Railroad into a Bonanza

All was chaos at Culebra where the railroad ended in 1854. This painting by Otis M. D.
Surgeon shows work proceeding on the railroad, at left, while in the foreground California-
bound travelers round up burros and mules to continue their overland trek. Crowds of
stranded Forty-niners fill the balconies of the American Hotel at the far right.

ing more mules but not before 12 soldiers
had died.
In the meantime, work on the trans-
Isthmian railroad was going forward.
The project was not, as might be
assumed, inspired by the discovery of
gold. It had been under consideration
for more than a decade before the Rush
The route was surveyed as early as
1841 and in 1847 the Panama Railroad
Company was organized by a small
group of New York financiers. While
the company's organizers were men of
vision, they never dreamed in 1847, that
the discovery of gold in California would
assure the successful completion of the
railway and a fortune for the company.
The affairs of the railroad looked very
dark and its stock had taken a tumble
when a climactic event changed the
outlook for the enterprise.

Rough Weather
On the first day of October 1851, a
train of working cars had passed over the
road as far as Gatun. The next month
two ships, the Georgia and Philadelphia,
arrived off Chagres in rough weather
with passengers en route to California.
After several lives were lost in attempt-
ing to bring the ships into the customary
anchorage at the mouth of the Chagres,
they anchored in what is now Limon

Bay, where the railroad had its Atlantic
Discovering that the work train had
made a run as far as Gatun, the anxious
emigrants converged on the railroad and
offered to pay any price to be trans-
ported on the train for the 7 miles. There
was not a single passenger car but the
railroad finally gave into their pleas and
transported them to Catun on the work
train where they could take the bungoes
as usual.

A Bonanza
From then on, the railroad carried
passengers as far as the tracks extended.
The resulting revenue was estimated at
over $1 million before the railroad was
completed. For the next 15 years the
railroad was a bonanza. Annual divi-
dends were never below 12 percent and
in 1868 reached 44 percent. During the
first 12 years of its operations, it carried
over $750 million in gold dust, nuggets,
and gold and silver coin, collecting
! of 1 percent on each shipment.
Hordes of Forty-niners crossed and
recrossed the Isthmus on the railroad
paying $25 for a one-way fare. The com-
pany charged $6 just to walk across the
Isthmus on the roadbed.
On April 21, 1855, the NEW YORKe
TIES, telling of the merits of the
Panama route, published this story:

"The fine steamer Illinois sailed for
Aspinwall yesterday with 715 passenrers
for California, another vindication of the
opinion expressed a fortnieht ago. that
the stream of emigration is flowing Ciai-
forniaward this spring v.ith a ;troner
tide than ever before. Sever, hundred
and fifteen passengers! \\hat a %ouni
village is here! But the ,.e;sel Is large
and commodious and will accommodate
them all with ease; so friends who are
mourning the departing ones, don't
dream of them as sharers in the horrors
of a 'middle passage.
"The ease and comfort \ th which h a
trip can be made to Ca'ifornia now bh
way of Aspinwall and the iParaima Rail-
road is greatly promoting the emigration
thitherward of the families of those ad-
venturers who desire to settle on the Pa-
cific slope. The Illinois carried ot rno
less than 120 ladies and 78 children-
the larger portion of them uiaiccom-
panied by gentlemen. Indeed. lIdies
may now make the trip to San Franjcisco
with no more difficulty iand much less
fatigue than the journey to \\'ashilriton
would involve. The steamer upon re,:h-
ing Aspinwall meets a train of railroad
cars upon the wharf with -team .ill ip
ready for a start. A 3 or 4 hour'; ride
brings them to the Pacific coast and an
hour more places them on the '.e;sel
which is to land them at San Frariclico
The changes of conve-, nce are t wo
only: and there are no e\pos;,res to
fevers or rain or any other serious
inconvenience on the way.'
The NEW YORK TIMiE- added. 'The
ladies are beginning to unnderstarnd this
and California is reaping the advairtave
of the addition to its population of rui-
merous families whose inflilenLe cannot
fail to be most beneficial to the State "
The Opposite Se%
This was welcome news to the Forty-
niners already in California w-here there
were so few of the opposite sex that a
man would often walk man, miles lirt
to look at a woman.
The Isthmian crossing continued to
he a popular route to the \es;t irtil
1869 when the first trianscontinental
railroad in the United State;s as
Although the Gold Rush. in which the
Chagres, Las Cruces Trail. and the Par-
ama Railroad played such a ;gntfil:cnt
role, passed into history. the Isthms
continued to play an important role in
the development of the Golden \'est"
with the Panama Canal taking on the job
of providing the historical ,. Ital route
of passage.

FALL 1971


S Break

ter of Canal Zone Gov. and Mrs.
David S. Parker, at a recent ceremony,
smashed a bottle of champagne, against
the bow of the oil recovery barge, Lagar-
to, completed by the Dredging Division
in September of this year, she was
performing a ritual that dates back to
ancient times.
A launching ceremony is simple.
There is a short speech, then the crowd
quiets, and the guest of honor, always a
lady, swings the gaily wrapped ceremo-
nial wine with a sidearm motion. Months
and often years of hard work by scores
of highly skilled men is climaxed by the
smashing of a bottle of champagne,

Gov. David S. Parker stands beside his
daughter Anne as she christens the "La-
garto." At left is Charles Hummer, the
Canal's oil pollution control officer.
usually on the vessel's bow. Meanwhile,
if the vessel is a large ship, workmen
have been busy laboring under her hull
pounding away supports so that when
the bottle sprays its liquid the vessel will
start its short journey to the water. In
the launching of smaller craft, a crane is
often used to place them in the water.
The 19th Century
Although women now perform the
ceremony of launching and naming a
ship, it was a masculine prerogative until
the 19th century when the Prince of
Wales broke the precedent and began
having women of the court act as spon-
sors. Because of the taboo placed on
having women aboard a ship in ancient
times, many sailors refused to sail on a
vessel that was named by a woman.

.A Bottle O

The launching of a ship has not
always meant good cheer and cham-
pagne. The ceremony goes back thou-
sands of years to solemn and often in-
human pagan rituals meant to appease
the gods and insure safe voyages-even
at the expense of human sacrifices.
Later in history a launching was pre-
ceded by a great religious ceremony and
was attended by kings, queens and high
priests. Thus, what was born in the
pagan mind to appease the gods, and
then evolved into complex religious
ritual has become both a vestige of the
past and a show of pride in our vessels
of today.
Noah's Ark
Actual records of an offering to the
gods upon completion of a ship date
back more than 2,000 years before
Christ. An ancient Assyrian tablet gives
an account of the great flood and con-
struction of Noah's Ark. According to

A spirited swing by Mrs. Julian S. Hearne
wife of the former chief of the Dredging
Division, sends the champagne bottle smash-
ing against the derrick barge U.S. "Goliath."

the tablet, oxen were sacrificed as part
of the religious ceremony connected with
the Ark's completion.
Religious zeal reached a peak in the
Middle Ages when ships were named
after saints and no craft was sent to sea
without its shrine and idols. During the
Crusades each ship of Louis IX had an
altar and a priestly entourage aboard
when she sailed for the Holy Land in
the 13th century.
And what better way to insure the

ver Her Bow

success of a vessel and bring blessings
from the gods than to make a human
sacrifice? The Fijians and Samoans used
to sacrifice humans to their shark deities.
In Tahiti it was customary to shed hu-
man blood when canoes were launched
or built. According to Mariner, in his
book "Tonga," there was the grisly cus-
tom of using human beings as rollers on
which to launch a ship. This was similar
to the ancient Norse habit of tying
human victims to the launching rollers.
This was known as "blun-rod" or roller-
A custom in 18th and early 19th cen-
tury France was to choose a godfather
and godmother, usually children. The
godfather would present a bouquet to
the godmother, and then both would
pronounce the name chosen for the ship.
Queen Victoria
In Britain Queen Victoria originated
the custom of having a religious service
at the launching of the Alexandria in
1875. The ritual developed into a full
choral service with the reading of a spe-
cial prayer made up of extracts from the
107th Psalm. This was followed by a
ceremony in which a bottle of wine was
smashed across the ship's bow after a
sponsor had named her. The custom of
benedictions over British ships dates
back to the 14th century when ships
were blessed by priests.
Christening a ship with water is con-
sidered unlucky. The historic ship Con-
(Please see p. 29)


Since it is considered bad luck for the bottle
not to break on the first try, it is usually
grooved so that it will smash immediately
on impact with the vessel.




By Fannie P. Hernandez

some of the best roadbuilders of
this hemisphere will soon be put to the
test in the dense jungles of the Darien
Province of Panama and northwestern
Colombia where construction of a 250-
mile highway will supply the link now
missing from the Alaska to Argentina
intercontinental road system.
Culinary Capers invites REVIEW read-
ers to go along on an armchair journey
with these forgers of progress and makers
of cement ribbons to savor the region's
primitive nature before it is swept away
by the near-magic of 20th century
Adventurers' tall tales of the Darien
tell of headhunters who blow poison
darts from the treetops, of swarming
blood-sucking insects, of bottomless mo-
rasses, of ferocious jaguars, and wild
boars. Let us have a look at the Choco
Indians and the vital sources which have
sustained them on a jungle-river-based
The roadbuilders and their bulldozers
will cross one of the world's largest
swamp areas, jungle rivers, hills and
valleys, and penetrate wilderness un-
touched even by Indian paths, to bring
change, at last, to an area where Spanish
explorers established their first mainland
colony. Cutting through the dark green
masses of tangled vines, creepers and a
myriad of forest growths, we shall see
the Chocoes' shelters, taste their food,
and feel the pulse of their silent primeval
world before they retreat deeper into
the wilds or opt to join the modern age.
Defying change, we find the copper-
colored Chocoes living today in the wild-
est, most primitive existence, very much
as the Spaniards found them early in the
16th century. Scattered along the banks
of the many rivers that crisscross the
Darien, far from the comforts and prob-
lems of civilization, they seem to be in
complete harmony with their surround-
ings. Proud, peaceful, honest, but sus-
picious of outsiders, they live a day-to-
day existence in which there are few
economic pressures. Ignoring govern-
ment procedures and regulations, Cho-
coes usually make their own laws.
They are the Indians most often ma-
ligned in stories about the Darien. Pos-
sibly because of their savage appearance,
they have stirred the imagination of the

Down in the Darien

24 FALL 1971

mythmakers. They) are, however, more
friendly than their Cuna cousins. Both
men and women go about practically
nude. The male has a muscular frame,
an abundance of straight black hair and
wears earrings. The rest of the attire
of the Choco man consists of a small
C-string and a generous coating of dark
body paint made from the dye of a
native herry from the genip tree. They
also use a red paint made from achiote,
the orange-red seed pod which is com-
monly used to give color and flavor to
Panamanian cooking.
The Kitchen
The Chocoes are semi-migratory and
dwell independently in small one or two
family groups. They build their shelters
along the banks of rivers which serve as
their highways and source of livelihood.
The dwelling is a platform raised on
posts several feet above the ground.
Overhead is a roof of thatched palms, the
joints tied with vines. There are no pro-
tecting walls. To reach the Choco house,
one climbs up a ladder made by cutting
notches into a pole or a log. At night, the
family turns the steps to the underside
of the log to bar dogs and other un-
wanted callers. At one end of the floor,
which is made of flattened-out split cane,
is the "kitchen." It consists of a cement
or clay platform approximately a yard
square. Three logs placed spoke fashion
rest on the square and the cooking pot
sits over a small fire burning at the hub.
A calabash tree provides the kitchen
utensils. Scooped out small calabash are
for drinking and eating or used as
spoons, though ordinarily the Chocoes
use their fingers to eat from the com-
mon kettle. Another one with a hole
cut into the top and a piece of oily
twisted bark stuck in the hole serves as
a lamp. And still another good-sized
calabash with holes punched into it is a
colander. Long seed pods serve as
Practically Nude
Choco women wear only a simple
knee-length sarong, their ink black hair
falling on copper shoulders, their breasts,
bare. Both men and women have a
great fondness for adornments. They
wear quantities of glass beads around
their necks or draped over their should-
ers, and on special occasions, flowers in
their hair. For additional beautification,
they paint the lower part of their faces

and their bodies, often making intricate
designs with different colors of paint.
Scattered about the floor and hanging
from the posts of the dwelling and those
supporting the roof over the "kitchen"
are baskets, earthen pots, bows and
arrows, spears, knives, and other hand-
made hunting and fishing and household
items. The baskets are made of strips
from the fronds of a palm tree which are
light on one side and darker on the other.
The Choco women weave them turning
the strips and making an attractive twill
pattern. Earthen pots are slowly being
replaced by "pailas," the cast aluminum
or iron pots found in Panamanian
Sleep on Floor
The Chocoes sleep on the floor of the
shelters. Their beds are the bark of trees
which women have made soft by beating
under water. There are no bed covers.
A wooden block serves as a pillow. There
is no protection from the excessive heat,
the insects or frequent downpours, and
the Darien is one of the world's rainiest
regions. The shelters are easily replaced
making it possible for the Chocoes to
disappear deeper into the wilderness as
the construction gangs near them. Navi-
gating their long narrow dugout canoes,
thev will select another spot on the same
river or another stream which will pro-
vide laundry and bathing facilities and
also serve as the fish market and water
Fish are caught with nets, spears or

bows and arrows. If not consumed im-
mediately, the\' are smoked and dried.
The rivers also provide turtles and cai-
man, favorite foods of the Chocoes. They
shoot the turtles with rifles or swim
under water and catch them with their
hands, tossing them ashore. A wooden
wedge is driven between the head and
shell to prevent it from getting away
before it reaches the cooking pot. To
save the turtle for a future meal, it is
tied near the water.
The forests furnish wild game which
provides the Chocoes protein food. Born
hunters, they use bows and arrows to

hunt the jungle animals. The tapir,
peccary, deer, armadillo, iguana, and
monkey are favorite jungle fare.
Jungle trees provide balsa for making
rafts and the bark of certain trees is used
to make remedies for snake bite, skin ail-
ments, malaria, etc. Other trees furnish
fruit and dyes for painting their bodies.
Palm fronds are used for the roofs over
their shelters and the juice of the
green coconuts provides "milk" for the
Chocoes cultivate mainly corn, rice,
yucca, potatoes, yams, beans, and otoe
and grow plantains, bananas, pineapples,

. -- ,'

A Choco boy and his river.
Long, narrow dugout canoes
transport food on the waterway
which also provides drinking
water, fish, and laundry
and bathing facilities.







- ID .2-

* .

papayas, guavas, aguacates, and other
fruits and nuts. Their diet is rich in
vitamins and high in roughage.
Iguana Stew
A favorite dish is Iguana Stew and for
this a gravid female is preferred and
prepared in this manner:
Skin the iguana, removing the insides
and saving the eggs, including the
yellow ones and the heart and liver. Dis-
member the iguana by cutting it down
the spine, dividing the halves into three
pieces and the legs in two. Place the
meat in a pot of heated coconut oil and
brown it lightly. Drop in hot pepper and
garlic to taste, and brown a little longer.
In another pot, boil the eggs in their
shells for half an hour with chili pepper.
(Iguana eggs, boiled for 10 minutes and
then sun dried have a cheese-like flavor
and are relished by all Darienites.) Drain
and add to the meat along with the diced
liver, heart, and yellow eggs. Cook until
the broth has all but disappeared. Serve
with rice and beans.

~s(r .
~r~- ..F

Turtle Stew
Turtle is an excellent food source of
the Chocoes and a typical meal may be
portions of turtle fried in its own grease.
However, a more savory dish is Turtle
Stew prepared like this:
Clean and cut up the neck and legs of
the turtle and steep in lemon juice,
garlic, onion, green pepper, salt, and
pepper for a few hours. Remove from
the marinade and fry lightly. Then add
the marinade and one cup coconut milk
and cook until the meat is tender.
Turtle Egg Omelet
Turtle eggs are considered a delicacy
in Panama and some say they are more
nutritious than hen's eggs. They are
eaten raw, cooked, mixed into pancakes
and made into a butter-like spread.
Turtle Egg Omelet is made much the
same as the common hen egg variety,
using oil for cooking.
The flesh of jungle animals and birds
such as tapir, monkey, ibis, peccary,
venison, and agouti are common fare in
the Darien. The flesh of these is often
smoked before cooking. Fresh meat,
however, can be boiled, roasted, or
barbecued. It also is salted and dried
in the sun for several days. Monkey
meat is usually smoked for 24 hours
before cooking, but a Darien housewife
in a hurr' to feed her hungry family
may simplyN boil the meat in salted
water until it is tender.

- 1

Queen in her kitchen, this Choco lass stirs the contents in the cooking pot which
sits at the hub of three logs placed spoke-fashion at one corner of the dwelling.
Note how she has embellished her beauty by painting the lower part of her face.

Chocoes are fond of adornments. In addition to paint-
ing an elaborate design on his face, this youth wears
a chain around his neck and a flower in his hair.

FALL 1971

Monkey Stew
Monkey Stew is made by frying salted,
smoked monkey lightly in hot oil, adding
diced onions, then water and achiote.
The stew is cooked until the meat is
tender and sauce has thickened.
These meat dishes are often served
with rice which has been cooked in coco-
nut juice with the addition of onion and
salt, or corn rolls (bollos) made by
grinding and boiling green corn which
is then formed into balls and wrapped in
corn husks and boiled.
Chocao de Guineo
A banana-coconut dessert may round
out the meal. Chocao de Guineo is made
by cubing six bananas and boiling them
in one cup of water, adding a piece of
fresh ginger root and gradually adding
one cup coconut milk and a little flour
for thickening. It is stirred constantly
until the desired thickness is achieved.
More coconut milk is added when
it is served. Plantains may be used
instead of bananas. (Coconut milk is
made by squeezing grated coconut to
which boiling water has been added.)
Most of these recipes were collected
by Panamanian anthropologist, Dra. Rei-
na Torres de Araiz, and are included in
the Darienita's Dietary compiled by
James A. Duke of the Battelle Memorial
,^.^^v' i

At right: The collection of baskets was made by the boy's mother
who used strips of palm fronds which are light on one side and
darker on the other. By turning the strips as she weaves them
she achieves an attractive twill pattern. Below: A primitive drill
made by the Chocoes proves to be an interesting toy for
Patrick, left, and Richard, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas W. Grimison
of La Boca. They are making holes in a calabash just as the
Chocoes do to make a colander.

At right: High off the ground, the Choco
shelter has a split cane floor, a thatched roof
and no walls. A notched tree trunk serves
as steps to the dwelling. At night the trunk
is turned to the underside to keep out
unwanted callers, dogs, cats, and
wild animals. Below: This chic Choco
belle enhances her beauty by painting
flowers on her cheeks, butterfly wings above
her lips and an intricate design on the
lower part of her face.

The tepee-like
structure on the
right is the chicken
coop. Chocoes'
protein food is
Mainly from the
jungle where they
use bows and
arrows to hunt
game. They also
keep chickens
and pigs to
supplement food
S) from the jungle
and the rivers.

.~.. 7

-- ." .-c.,

'S^- -. */ 1-' ,
S. .. .. .
d5U W !""~k- '" % ,.'Y .


.Flight No. 248 Now Boarding."
Odd announcements such as this will
be heard by lucky people taking winter
vacations this year combining cruises
with air travel.
While cruise ships are still the first
choice of those wanting to take winter
vacations, travel agencies and shipping
companies are trying all kinds of varia-
tions to tempt the more sophisticated.
Tourists can travel from Europe by air
and return by ship or go from the U.S.
east coast by train to California and catch
a ship that will take them back to the
east coast via coastal ports and the Car-
ibbean Islands. Many of these ships
come through the Canal.

"Princess Italia"
One of these is the SS Princess Italia
that came through the Canal early in
October and is making several more
cruises during the year. On the October
trip, the vessel carried members of the
Pennsylvania State Grange, who had
started their trip in Pennsylvania, trav-
eled to Chicago, and caught the Santa
Fe Railroad to Los Angeles. There they
joined the Princess Italia for the voyage
back to the east coast.
The Princess Italia, operated by the
Princess Tours from the U.S. west
coast, is due here on another cruise from
the east coast en route to Los Angeles
December 7. A second intercoastal
cruise will bring her into Balboa April 29
for a northbound transit. She will re-
turn May 17 from the Caribbean and
go through the Canal on her way to
C. Fernie & Co., who represent the
Princess Italia, have announced that a
new cruise ship, named the Fairsea,
will arrive at Cristobal from Fort Lau-
derdale December 1 with approxi-
mately 450 cruise passengers bound for
California. The ship is the former
Cunard liner Carinthia, which was re-
built in Italy for Pacific cruising, and is
operated by the Sitmar Line Cruises Ltd.
Two other cruise ships on their first

visit to the Canal will be among the
dozens making transits during the
coming 1971-72 cruise season. They are
the new Shaw Saville liner Ocean AMon-
arch, due in Cristobal on a South Sea
cruise November 17, and the Lindblad
Explorer, to make her first trip through
the Panama Canal in March 1972.

"Ocean Monarch"
The Ocean Monarch is the former
Empress of England, converted by Cam-
mell Ltd., of Birkenhead, England, into
a one-class tourist ship capable of carry-
ing 1,400 passengers. She will sail from
Balboa November 18 and return from
the South Pacific March 20 for transit.
The Lindblad Explorer will arrive at
the Canal late in March after a visit to
the Galapagos Islands and will call at
the Caicos and Great Turk Islands on her
way to Nassau. This unusual ship was
built in Finland for the Norwegian com-
pany and chartered to Lindblad Travel,
Inc., of New York. It was designed to
cruise to remote places such as the Ant-
arctic from Punta Arenas and up the
Amazon River. There are accommoda-
tions for 104 passengers in outside cab-
ins, a swimming pool, cinema, and a lido

Regular Cruise Vessels
Regular cruise vessels making Carib-
bean voyages during the winter months
this year include many old customers
who have been familiar sights in the past
at the docks in Cristobal and Balboa.
C. B. Fenton & Co. have announced
the Oceanic will arrive in Cristobal from
New York December 28; the Gripsholm
January 20 on a round-South America
cruise; and the Kungsholm January 23
from New York to the Far East and re-
turn April 15. The Sagafford is due Jan-
uary 10 from New York en route to the
South Pacific and will return March 30.
Nine Caribbean voyages are scheduled
lor the popular Federico C., which will
be making Caribbean cruises from Port
Everglades. She is due in Cristobal
December 30, January 25, February 8

and 22, March 7 and 21, and April 4
and 18.
Pacific Ford, agent for the Ocean
Monarch, announced that the cruise ship
Stella Occanis will call at Cristobal De-
cember 28, February 8, and Feb-
ruary 29. Also scheduled is the German
Atlantic liner Hamburg due in Cristobal
January 27 to transit the next day and
return to Balboa February 16. She will
come back to the Canal February 28
for a southbound transit and return
March 18 to transit north. The Ham-
burg makes another round trip through
the Canal later with the southbound
transit set for March 30 and the return
trip north June 18.
The well-known Rotterdam of the
Holland-America Line is due in Balboa
April 8 and will transit the following
day for Cristobal.

French Line
The French Line is agent this year
for only one cruise ship. She is the
Paquet Line's flagship Renaissance
which is making a cruise around South
America from Port Everglades and is
scheduled to transit the Canal south
January 19. The Italian Line's Raffaello
is expected to call at Cristobal in March.
Ships of the P & O Line travel
through the Canal during the year but
the Oriana is to call in the winter on two
special cruises. According to Norton
Lilly, the ship will leave Vancouver on
a Christmas cruise December 21 and
will call on her way to Balboa at Los
Angeles and Puerto Vallarta. After leav-
ing Cristobal, she will stop at La Guaira,
Barbados, Martinique, St. Thomas, and
Curacao before returning to the Canal
to transit for a return trip up the west
coast to Vancouver.
The Oriana will have a similar itin-
erary when she makes a so-called Car-
nival cruise through the Canal to the
Caribbean in January and February.
Other P & O ships, due between
October and March, are the Chnsan,
Iberia, Oransay, Arcadia, Himalaya, and

FALL 1971

TRANSITS (Oceangoing Vessels)
1971 1970
Commercial -- _------- 14,020 13,658
U.S. Government .------. 503 1,068
Free _----------- 94 103
Total ------------ 14,617 14,829
Commercial-__ $97,418,550 $94,688,543
U.S. Government_ 3,147,987 6,221,313
Total__ $100,566,537 $100,909,856
Commercial__ 118,634,184 114,264,010
U.S. Government 2,236,627 4,410,451
Free ------- 139,843 234,760
Total -_- 121,010,654 118,909,221
*Includes tolls on all vessels, oceangoing and
00 Cargo figures are in long tons,

(Continued from p. 23)
stitution was christened with a bottle of
water in 1797-twice. In each case, the
ship got stuck and was prevented from
sliding into the water. The third try was
successful but this time a bottle of Old
Madeira donated by Thomas Russell, a
leading Boston merchant, was used.
During christening ceremonies at the
Panama Canal Industrial Division it is
fairly common to crack a bottle of
Chagres River water over the new vessel
but champagne has been used also from
time to time.
Chagres water was used when Mrs.
Hugh M. Arnold, wife of the Acting
Governor of the Canal Zone, was
sponsor for the Mandinga, which was
launched in October 1957. Painted a
brilliant red and white, the 40-foot
dredge was fully dressed with signal
flags for the ceremony, held in the pres-
ence of Acting Governor Arnold, and
Alton White, then chief of the Dredging
Before World War 11, when a new
tugboat was needed the Panama Canal
designed, built and launched it and put
it to work with an unhurried thorough-
ness that saw the job finished from the
drawing of plans to the completion of
test trials.
Launching of the tugs which the
Canal built was carried out in an origi-
nal manner. No launching ways were
required and the operation was simple.
The large drydock in Balboa was flooded
and two 250-ton floating cranes, the
Hercules and Ajax, were brought into
position within the dock. Slings were
.idjii:-d under the keel of the launch
and when all was ready, the two cranes
simpl) lifted the completed hull from
the building slip on the drydock wall,


(AU cargo figures in long tons)
Pacific to Atlantic
Fiscal Year

Ores, various ---- __- ______
Boards and planks ---------- ----
Iron and steel plates, sheets and coils ---------
Sugar .....----.. -. ------_-- ---.
Petroleum and products--_________________--
Metals, various------ -----
Food in refrigeration (excluding bananas) ---- __-
Pulpwood -- --- ------------ ----_______-
Petroleum coke ---___--- -- -- -----.-
Plywood and veneers ....-
Barley ---- ~----
Iron and steel manufactures, miscellaneous ----.---
Iron and steel wire, bars, and rods -----
All others _-- -
Total-------_--- --- ----


Atlantic to Pacific


Coal and coke ----_-------_--_ --------
Petroleum and products--- __----
Phosphates----- ----------- _---
Corn--------- -------
Soybeans ----------------. ------------------
Sugar-__ ------------------------
Metal, scrap _-------_. ------------
Ores, various ...---.--.------------
Sorghum__------ --- -
Chemicals, unclassified-- -------
Fertilizers, unclassified ----- -------
Paper and paper products -------------
Autos, trucks, and accessories ___----------- _-
Rice __------- -
All others ------------------
Total_-- ----------


Commercial vessels:
Oceangoing__- ----- --- 7,1
Small 1-- 3
Total Commercial_----------- 7,5



Fiscal Year


5-Yr. Avg.

5-Yr. Avg.

Fiscal Year


ntic Pacific
i to
fic Atlantic Total

86 6.834
22 259
08 7,093


Avg. No.

Total Total



U.S. Government vessels: 2
Oceangoing-- ----- 262 241 503 1,068 250
Small ---------------- 54 69 123 90 157

Totalcommercial and U.S.Government 7,824 7,403 15,227 15,392 12,289
I Vessels under 300 net tons or 500 displacement tons.
2 Vessels on which tolls are credited. Prior to July 1, 1951, Government-operated ships
transited free

swung it into position between them
and lowered it gently into the flooded

U.S. Gatun

When the tug U.S. Gatun was thus
launched on May 11, 1937, she was
christened by Mrs. C. S. Ridley, wife of
the then Governor of the Canal Zone.
In recent years, most of the Canal's

new floating equipment has been con-
structed in the United States under con-
tract and is either christened at the
shipbuilding yard or brought to the
Canal Zone for the ceremony.
The last tug to be christened officially
here was the U.S. Joseph C. Mehaffey
in December 1970. Mrs. W. P. Leber,
wife of former Governor Leber, broke a
bottle of champagne over the stern bit



Argentine -------
Belian -------
Brazilian -.
British --------..
Chilean. --- .
Chinese (Nat'l.) .. .
Colombian ....--
Danish---- --
Ecuadorean -- --
Finnish ---------
French- ----- -
German, East -----
Cerman, \est_ --
Greek ---
Honduran -.
Indian ----------
Israeli .--------
Irish ..- -----
Italian ----------
Liberian- .---
Mexican---..---- -
Netherlands ...---.
Nicaraguan .---
Norwegian ----
Panamanian -
Peruvian ----
Polish -----
Singaporean .-.
South Korean
Soviet _-_-------
Spanish -.... --
Swedish --- -
United States ----
Yugoslavian ------
All Others -----
Total -----

No. of

of cargo

No. of Tons
transit of cargo
15 27,738
131 433,121
22 39,804
1,591 13,478,056
118 762,241
147 1,226,237
214 610,739
75 687,944
74 630,259
434 2,152,529
66 99,477
66 454,388
247 852,585
17 24,561
1,108 4,992,218
568 7,178,925
166 100,151
38 973,632
82 467,822
29 223,072
266 1,425,909
1,178 11,072,736
1,601 25,811,218
69 450,071
493 2,820,010
34 73,953
1,324 16,540,983
799 4,368,970
180 957,763
112 759,471
28 206,147
14 65,448
77 771,836
104 741,086
66 201,392
462 3,477,640
1,519 7,942,683
42 659,644
82 494,801
13,658 114,257,260

Avg. No. Avg. tons
transit of cargo
2 1.710
46 168,966
2 19,891
1,294 8,292,285
120 849.621
81 594,921
256 408,588
3 14.596

307 1,548,545
42 49,491
24 107.205
144 771,293

1,122 3,391.774
632 6,180.888
197 153,814
1 16,415
65 253,130
5 55,527
190 1,126,251
835 4,871,840
951 9,348,846
25 77,779
621 2,793,040
52 80,143
1,436 10,931.401
461 1,968,519
119 547,814
70 310,866



Fiscal Year
Avg. No.
Trade routes-(Large commercial vessels, 300 net tons or over) 1971 1970 1961-65
United States Intercoastal--__-- -------------- 315 358 520
East coast United States and South America ----- -- 1,123 1,262 2,355
East coast United States and Central America _------ 732 609 500
East coast United States and Far East-_ 3,374 3,363 2.220
East coast United States/Canada and Australasia .... 386 396 321
Em ope ant west coast of U.S./Canada_ 1,040 1,024 1,009
Europe and South America -- 1.2401 1,298 1.236
Europe and Australasia -- --- 555 490 397
All other routes--- ----------- ---- -- 5,255 4,858 2.777
Total traffic ---------------------------- 14,020 13.658 11.335

July- -
August. __
September _
January __
February_ -
May -----

vessels of 300 net tons or over--(Fiscal years)
Transits 1 Tolls (In thousands of d,,llars)
Avg. No. Average
transits tolls
Month 1971 1970 1961-65 1971 1970 1961-65
1,174 1,137 960 8,118 7.787 4,929
- 1,176 1,186 949 8.221 8,135 4,920
.- --- 1,108 1,133 908 7,979 7,870 4,697
1,167 1,089 946 8,095 7,771 4.838
1,064 1,060 922 7.363 7,401 4,748
S 1,102 1,155 946 7.690 8,059 4,955
1,119 1,088 903 8.157 7,503 4,635
1.144 1,080 868 7,814 7,479 4,506
1,295 1,223 1,014 8,929 8,350 5,325
- 1.214 1,179 966 8,349 8,228 5,067
S 1,237 1.170 999 8.422 7,963 5.232
------ 1,220 1,158 954 8,243 8,108 5,013
s for-
cal year 14,020 13,658 11,335 97,380 9.1,654 58,865

1 Before deduction of any operating expenses.

1utscal eor

FALL 1971

of the new vessel to highlight a fornml
ceremony marking the tug's arri~,,l
in Cristobal from Slidell, La., s he,.e
it was constructed by the Stij-thvrn
Shipbuilding Co.
Mrs. Julian S. Hearne, wife of the
former chief of the Dredging Division
also used champagne in February 1970
when she christened the Dredging Divi-
sion's new derrick barge U.S. Goliath in
a ceremony held at the dock in C.inib.:.i
The bottle of champagne was smanshed
over the prow of the barge '.'\ Mrs
Heame in the presence of former Cov.
W. P. Leber, her husband, and officials
from the Dredging Division.
Sure to Bring Bad Luck
To launch a ship on Frida.\ ,r to put
her in the water without a bottle b,-ing
broken over her is, according to the
superstitions of the sea, sure to brini, b.id
luck. A Grand Banks fisherman .,ncc
launched a boat "dry," and ac:cordirin ti,
an old sailor, before a year v. as .-it the
boat ran aground twice, "stove her stem
in, busted her garboards . broke her
rudder off" and was promptly hauled
out of the water for repairs and a proper
If the bottle does not break when it is
thrown it is thought to be a bad omen,
and to prevent this calamity it is gen-
erally suspended from the forecastle on
a rope bedecked with ribbons and a
bottlecatcher, other than the sponsor, is
on hand in case the lady misses. In
many shipyards, there is an official jinx-
buster, a kind of pinch-hitter, in case a
woman, through lack of strength or
jittery nerves or a wild swing, drives the
bottle wide of the mark.
The jinx-buster stations himself under
the official platform where he can break
the bottle against the ship's bow. Since
bottles sometimes go wild and hit s.trne-
one it is usually encased in a mesh holder
with yards and yards of ribbon woven
around so that the shape of the bottle
is kept intact and to prevent glass
from flying and cutting the sponsor or
Some people insist that a ship is
named and not "christened" saying that
the meaning of the word "christen" is
to make a person a Christian; oi:,nil p:r-
sons can be christened and not ship-
Even today, many seamen ill noi
work on a boat launched on Frida.\ .r
one that has not been formally launched
and for this reason, most seagoing craft
carry a securely placed metal plate
stating when, where, and by whom the
vessel was launched.


50 Years Ago

timers still living on the Isthmus
who remember the whale that invaded
Cristobal harbor 50 years ago. But in
November 1921 it was the talk of the
Isthmus. The 120-foot mammal, weigh-
ing approximately 125 tons, sailed
hd-iligh the Cristobal breakwater and
grounded in the shallow waters east of
the Canal prism about a quarter of a
mile south of the Cristobal coaling plant.
The whale remained there, with the top
of its head and most of its back above
water, until it was killed 2 days later by
a group of Canal employees who planned
to render its blubber at the Mount Hope

Cristobal Harbor 1921

"Thar She


The whale carcass was towed to Pier 6
in Cristobal but, alas, the 75-ton locomo-
tive crane was unable to lift it from the
water to the railroad flat cars assembled
for transportation to Mount Hope. Sal-
vage efforts were abandoned shortly
after and the whale was towed about
12 miles out to sea where it was later
bombed by U.S. Navy planes from
Coco Solo.

The sailing vessel Carnegie, on a mag-
netic survey of the earth for the Car-
negie Institution in Washington, D.C.,
arrived at Balboa October 7, 1921, on
a 74-day voyage from Apia, Samoa. The
vessel went into drvdock in Balboa for
renewal of her rudderpost, cleaning, and
painting. This was the vessel's third trip
through the Canal and the PANAMA
CANAL RECORD noted that since her pre-
vious trip she had been equipped with
electric lights.

25 Years Ago
ago and the Canal Zone along with the
rest of the world was trying to put its
house in order. The Panama Canal Per-
sonnel Bureau, Employment and Train-
ing Section said that it was following its
policy of reduction in force and that
1,000 employees had left the Canal serv-
ice in the past year. A 14-percent pay
increase for classified Federal employees
carried a requirement that the costs
of the increase must be absorbed by
reduction in the number of employees.
S* 0
The late Dwight D. Eisenhower, then
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, was
among the prominent visitors to the
Canal Zone in 1946. He and Mrs. Eisen-
hower traveled from Brazil in a four-
engined C-54 military plane and were
met 200 miles out by two squadrons of
U.S. Army planes from the Canal Zone.
Eisenhower was greeted by Gov. Joseph
D. Mehaffey and other Canal Zone offi-
cials. He later toured the Canal Zone
and Panama and was received in Pan-
ama by the late President Enrique Jim6-
nez. Along Central Avenue, school chil-
dren dressed in white waved Panama
and United States flags.
Another visitor was the late Adm.
William F. "Bull" Halsey, one of the
best known U.S. Navy heroes of World
War II. He came here for a 4-day visit,
shortly after the departure of Eisen-
hower, and toured both sides of the
The Panama liner Panama was the
first of the three Panama Line ships to
be placed back in service after the war.
Her scheduled departure from New
York early in September was delayed
2 weeks by a shipping strike but she
finally sailed for Cristobal September 22.

10 Years Ago
sistance for disability relief annuitants
of the Panama Canal was approved by
the Canal Board of Directors 10 years
ago. The plan called for expanding visit-
ing nurse service, furnishing drugs free
of cost when ordered by physicians,
and the employment of two part-time

Preliminary work was started on a
$927,000 contract providing for the

construction of 100 quarters in the town-
site of Pedro Miguel. The housing units
were part of the replacement housing to
be built in the Canal Zone as part of the
Nine-Point Program of Benefits to Pan-
ama. The contract had been awarded in
September 1961 to the W. B. Uhlhorn
Construction Co. of Texas.

Plans were being made in November
1961 for receiving the first three of the
Panama Canal's new streamlined towing
locomotives which were nearing com-
pletion in Japan. Two veteran lock oper-
ators visited Japan, watched the mules
in operation, and familiarized them-
selves with the controls and functioning
of the machines. They returned to the
Canal Zone to serve as instructors when
the new locomotives arrived.
0 o 0
Bids were opened in December for
the construction of a central chilled
water air-conditioning system in the Pa-
cific Terminal area. This was the first
major step in a long range plan to pro-
vide air-conditioning to the Canal's
public buildings by means of a single-
pipe loop system through which water
is pumped from a central plant.

One Year Ago
bon last November to mark the formal
opening of Gorgas Hospital's recently
renovated Section O, the final step of a
multimillion dollar hospital rehabilita-
tion program started in the early 1960's.
The governor said that this was a major
step in bringing Canal Zone hospital
facilities up to modern standards. Sec-
tion 0 houses the pediatric ward, the
new pulmonary disease section, and the
medical library. It was remodeled by
the E. O. Hauke Co., of Colon.

All non-U.S.-citizen employees of
Federal agencies in the Canal Zone
became eligible last year for enrollment
in the Federal Employees' Group Life
Insurance and Federal Employees'
Health Benefits Insurance plans. These
new benefits were the result of legisla-
tion approved by President Nixon on
September 25, 1970, which provided
for an increase to a maximum of 40 per-
cent in U.S. Government contributing
health insurance premium payments
effective January I, 1971.


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