Photo of the Week
September 12, 1998

Cunnett.JPG (31514 bytes)
This is a great photo of Mamei Curve.   Classic subjects of this picture are, the sunken ship "Cuidnett"   and the still existing Mamei Islands (otherwise known as "Man Bottle Island").   I don't know the story about this sunken ship, but here in this photo, you can see it plan and simple.  Four masts and the control house.  I happen to know a person that has some of the ship's bridge controls in their house.  This includes the "Telegraph" (tells the engine room what to do), the "Ship's compass" and the "Ships horn".  We had a blast one New Year's Eve blowing this huge horn with a SCUBA tank of air in Gamboa.  The folks at Dredging Division were confused as to where this ship's horn blast was coming from.

The "Cuidnett" is now resting on the bottom of Gatun Lake in spoils dump 4.5 near Barro Colorado Island.  PCC tried all kinds of tactics to refloat or remove the Quidnet from the channel but had no luck. They finally hired a Swedish firm to cut it in half and move it it's final resting place. 

The islands you see to the right of the transiting ship is what we used to call "Man Bottle Island".  It was actually three islands.  These islands were are located in a heavily French Canal Construction  populated area.  These islands were famous in the early Zone bottle digging days for turning up some fine bottles, including the famous "Man Bottle".  The "Man Bottle" was a Case Gin bottle with a man embossed on it.  They carry a price tag of several hundred dollars today.  During the drought of '77 (on or about), we dug the shore lines of these islands.  Boy, did we find some nice stuff.  I have most of it sitting right here on shelves next to me.  Around this time, it was planned to remove these islands to widen the channel.  Evidently the widening project didn't come soon enough, that a ship sunk on this hair pin curve.  When they started bulldozing the islands in preparation for the dredges, we where there.  We were there getting the bottles that the bulldozers were unearthing.  Finally, the Dredging Division folks kicked us off.  I sat in my boat and watched the mighty Cascadas and Mindi eat away a treasure trove of bottles not to mention all the other small artifacts there. Actually, if you think about it, these were  Archeological sites.  Too bad!  Before I left Panama, and was out playing on the lake, I used to fly over this area in my boat and remember those wonderful days of finding some fine French (1880) age bottles.  There is nothing but open water there now.  You can't help feel the ghosts of the past as you pass over the area that once was, "Man Bottle Island".

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