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Summer Programmes

Canal Boat Trip

3 July 2017

This was our first boat trip along the canal and what an experience it was! The aim of the trip was to investigate and sample sites along the canal that were inaccessible by land; this meant some of the rocks we looked at had never been seen before, so were completely new for the canal authority.

Cool celadonite alteration makes green spots on the rock.

Sadly we did not see any of the local crocodiles, but we did see some a massive iguana before we got on the boat. It was so relaxed on the rocks, David managed to sneak up on it in search of the perfect photo…

One thing you realize when you are on the canal is the true scale of it. We had seen many ships sailing past as we worked along the canal, but sailing alongside them really showed how big they really are.

Filip also learnt what it was like to work with Roberto (aka ‘the turtle’), one of the senior canal geologists. Filip was tasked with taking notes for Roberto, but for someone who likes to use the phrase “take it easy”, Roberto was very fast over the outcrops- Filip couldn’t keep up!

On the trip back, we also had a go at rain bathing. Instead of soaking up the sun, we just ended up soaking.

The next day we spent sampling basalt with Rodrigo. As scientific as this sounds, all it involved was smashing rocks to pieces all day, trying to find bits of rock buried deep enough not to be weathered by the high temperatures and rainfall of Panama. Basalt is really hard and requires a lot of energy to break, so we got pretty thirsty in the process; Rodrigo therefore thought it be fun to play some hydrating drinking games.

The most effective hydration method

Near one of the basalt exposures, we were lucky enough to meet a very bold iguana. It walked right up to us, and Filip even touched it!