Heather and I enjoyed a marvelous two week cruise in February just as the winter’s worst stretch of snow and cold hit Central Canada. We were pretty happy with that timing. Our 20 year old daughter, Vanessa, who so ably looked after our home (and Riley, our little King Charles Cavalier Spaniel) wasn’t as thrilled!

The highlight of our cruise was passing through the Panama Canal from the Pacific to the Caribbean. I hadn’t known a lot about this engineering marvel before this trip. Between onboard lectures by a retired geography professor, narration through the canal from a Panama tour guide during the day as we travelled through it, and reading David McCullough’s highly entertaining and extremely well researched book, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870 – 1914, I learned a lot more about this fascinating story.

The Panama Canal is a tale full of scandal, intrigue, blundering, and politics. It’s also a tale of visionary leadership, methodical problem solving, daring innovation, and dogged persistence. Many key people played significant roles in “breaking through the bull,” the fear, and the uncertainty (nothing on this scale in these disease filled tropical conditions had ever been done before) to bring this modern wonder of the world into being.