Panama’s Atlantic Coast – My Shot of the Day – January 15, 2013

isla grande colon

At the top of the island of Isla Grande Colon the French built a lighthouse in 1893. De Lesseps meant the lighthouse to be one of the guiding markers to help ships find the canal and his partner Gustave Eiffel designed the origional lamp for the structure.

Now it is a rusting hulk full of holes that look out on the coast. It shudders and sways just enough to send your heart into your throat when the gusts from the sea hit. After sitting still for just long enough, the vultures will comes close enough to give you a look.

Eiffel was initially charged with corruption in the failed venture to build the Panama Canal in the 1880’s:

In 1887, Eiffel became involved with the French effort to construct a canal across the Panama Isthmus. The French Panama Canal Company, headed by Ferdinand de Lesseps, had been attempting to build a sea-level canal, but came to the realization that this was impractical. The plan was changed to one using locks, which Eiffel was contracted to design and build. The locks were on a large scale, most having a change of level of 11 m (36 ft). Eiffel had been working on the project for little more than a year when the company suspended payments of interest on 14 December 1888, and shortly afterwards was put into liquidation. Eiffel’s reputation was badly damaged when he was implicated in the financial and political scandal which followed. Although he was simply a contractor, he was charged along with the directors of the project with raising money under false pretenses and misappropriation of funds. On 9 Feb 1893 Eiffel was found guilty on the charge of misuse of funds, and was fined 20,000 francs and sentenced to two years in prison…although he was acquitted on appeal…

Colombus sailed this coast on his fourth voyage, stopping at Isla Grande in 1502. His journal notes it as the only island in the isla grande colonarea with fresh water. Drake, in his lead coffin, lies somewhere nearby.

I came up through the jungle, drenched in sweat for the January sunrise.


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19 Responses to Panama’s Atlantic Coast – My Shot of the Day – January 15, 2013

  1. Jim O'Donnell January 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    I hear how cold it is back home and…I honestly feel just a twinge of guilt for sitting her in a pair of shorts only, sweating.

    • Gary Storch January 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Have a good cup of coffee for me when you arrive in Boquette.

    • Cheryl Bleick January 16, 2013 at 12:35 am #


    • Daniela Klein January 16, 2013 at 1:14 am #

      sure you are.. for maybe one, two second tops…… :)

    • Erik Tigerstedt January 16, 2013 at 5:30 am #

      Let her go.

    • Lexa Harpell January 16, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Don't lie to us… are just teasing those in the northern hemisphere…

    • Jim O'Donnell January 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      Daniela Klein ….come on! At least THREE seconds!

    • Jim O'Donnell January 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Lexa Harpell ….maybe….. I really couldnt imagine better weather than what I've seen here.

    • Jim O'Donnell January 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Cheryl Bleick – …..pants on fire…..

    • Jim O'Donnell January 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Gary Storch I will be sure too. AND….I think I've been invited (still confirming) to a cooking class with the top chef in Panama!

  2. Jess Van Wickel January 16, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    Did not know! Cool!

  3. Karolina Idrisova January 16, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Love the picture – thanks for the new info!

  4. Taos Rag January 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Jim: Always enjoy your posts. In Santa Rosalia in Northern Baja has a church designed by Gustave Eiffel. A very interesting discovery in my travels.

    • Jim O'Donnell January 16, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      Really? That is fascinating. He was a hot item in his day and had things all over. I think there is also a lighthouse designed by him in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia right on the Swedish-Finnish border. I've heard of it but never saw it. next time I'm in Finland I'll see if I can take a boat out there.

  5. Marina Ehrman January 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Isla Colon , is in the Caribbean sea , no in the Atlantic.

  6. Southwest Compass January 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Excellent, Jim! Shared.

  7. Steve Collins January 16, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I feel a twinge of warmth from your guilt. Great shot! And thanks for the dose of history, too.

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