Photo of the Week
November 9, 1998

Cascadas.JPG (33018 bytes)
La Prensa did a story that the dredge Cascadas will be sunk off the Pacific coast to create an underwater habitat (artificial reef), after 80 years of service to the Panama Canal. It also stated, ARI would try and keep some of it and turn it over to the Museum of the Interoceanic Canal. It will be towed out to Bona Island and sunk by Hippocampus, a not for profit organization. Seems that the canal commission, back in April of '95, excessed the dredge and La Prensa even did the bid announcement back in June of '96, where it included an inventory of replacement parts. It basically had been in the reserved floating equipment since 1977. It's last project was in Oct of '86, when it cleared a landslide at Cucaracha. ARI has, since 1995, tried to find someone interested in turning the Cascadas into a tourist attraction in association with the canal, but because of the high overhead associated with this, the idea never took hold. And for the Commission to turn it over to Panama, the Ministry of Foreign Relations needs to solicit it in writing. I think most of this information came out in the Spillway and in the Canal Review sometime back. - Submitted to the Panama Canal Society web site   Articles section by Art Mokray.

The Cascadas is a special piece of equipment for me.  I fell in love with the old dipper dredges in the 70's while researching and hunting the old Canal construction towns.  I used to sit and watch the Cascadas dig for hours.  What an art to watch the operator wiggle the massive bucket around underwater in order to pick up a giant boulder or get a bite of rock and dirt.   Sometimes a large boulder had to be dynamited in the bucket to break it up and get it out.  It saddens me to see a working piece of historical equipment like this to be sunk forever.  It is too bad that there wasn't someone or some organization that could afford to rescue the Cascadas from it's soon to be demise.  From what I have studied, there were three of these dipper dredges, the Gamboa, Paraiso and the Cascadas.   They were all the same and powered by steam.  My brother, who still works for Dredging Division, took me down in the boiler room once while it had it's steam up.   I was able to check out the whole operation inside.  What a treat that I will never forget.  Note in the famous photo below of the first Canal transit that one of these dredges is in the cut digging away.  It could very well be the Cascadas.

Farewell old friend of the American days of the Panama Canal.  Your job is done just like ours is.

Cascadas2.JPG (34612 bytes)

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