Photo of the Week
February 6, 2000

The "Rialto M. Christensen" works in Mamei Curve removing island and widening the Canal to provide a safer passage for the increasing number of large ships. Photo from the "Panama Canal Review" October 1, 1979

While looking through this issue of the "Panama Canal Review", I found this great photo.  This photo brought back some good memories of bottle digging.  The larger of the three islands was known as "Man Bottle Island" and we dug many a good bottle there.  When the Gatun Lake dropped to a record low in the late '70s, I dug several very good French era dumps on the backside of this island.  My bottle digging buddy and I went up to the island by boat in the dark when Dredging Division started the removal process.  When they bulldozed it, all kinds of great stuff appeared.  These islands were part of the old Canal construction town of Mamei. 

These islands are gone now and this very dangerous curve is much easier to navigate.  I am sure many great bottles that we didn't get were eaten by the jaws of the Dredge Christensen's bucket.

Below is a "Dog Bottle" that was found on "Man Bottle Island".  The "Dog Bottle" was one of the favorites in the Canal Zone bottle diggers circle.  It originated from Hamburg Germany and contained bitters.  The bottle's age is from the 1880s and can be found in French construction era dumps.

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