Having just finished reading ‘A Path between the Seas’ by David McCullough (a must read for anyone who plans to transit the Panama Canal), we were excited to finally arrive on the Rio Chagres. This is the river that feeds the canal and our anchorage was just a short walk to the Canal. The River is home to a variety of White Faced monkeys, and Howler Monkeys, Sloths, snakes, Toucans, parrots & crocodiles. Gary and Doc had a most memorable experience on their first day as they hiked thru the Jungle trail that leads to the Canal. As they neared the end of the trail, they came around a bend in the jungle and there standing not a hundred paces away was a large Black Panther. Gary and Doc froze, as did the big ‘cat’…and altho the experience was only seconds long, it left a lifelong impression (on Gary at least). It was amazing to look into his face (with wonder, awe and a good sized portion of ‘oops what do I do now?) One of the very cool things to do here is visit the ‘swimming pool’ a natural cold springs and waterfall. As hot as it gets midday here in the Tropics, you only have to take a quick dip in ‘the pool’ and all you’re sweating is forgotten. A wonderful reprieve when you just can’t take any more of the Panama Jungle heat.