After the longest navigation of the week, approximately 190 nautical miles, National Geographic Quest entered the Gulf of Panama. The rough winds and whitecaps are actually the reason we are cruising around Bona Island. The northeast trade winds blow away the warm upper layer of ocean water; this brings nutrients (phytoplankton) to the surface, which feeds the zooplankton. In turn, this will then be eaten by anchovies and other small fish, which creates the perfect bait for seabirds. Hundreds of magnificent frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, and brown pelicans were just a few of the many sightings we enjoyed.

In the late afternoon, we started our crossing of the canal. First we entered the Miraflores Locks, composed of two chambers that lifted us up to Miraflores Lake. Next was the Pedro Miguel Lock, and then finally the famous Culebra Cut, the narrowest part of the canal.