Today, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010, we passed through the Panama Canal. For Susy and I it was the second time, so we didn’t have to get up at 5 AM to see the entrance, nor did we spend a lot of time with the views, although I do have a few pictures for you.
First let’s look at the Panama Canal. This remarkable engineering feat was started and abandoned by the French, so in 1904 the United States undertook the project of building a canal to connect the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The canal was officially open to international shipping Aug. 15, 1914. The United States ran the canal until Dec. 31, 1999, when the country of Panama assumed full responsibility for its administration, operation, and maintenance. Work is currently underway to cut a third waterway and set of locks, which will handle larger ships, and increase the volume of ships that can be handled daily. The current canal has three major locks with two waterways, the first from Caribbean Sea is the Gatun locks, a set of three, then you sail into Gatun Lake, next the Chagres River, then the Pedro Miguel Locks, a set of one, and finally the Miraflores Locks, a set of two before sailing into the Pacific. The canal is about 50 miles long from the Caribbean to the Pacific and saves about 8000 miles,yes I said 8000, off the distance between the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Let’s get to the photos. First, by the time Susy and I were up and around we had already gone through the first locks and arrived at Gatun Lake. Here’s a view of the lake:
I ran into this beautiful lady on the front bow and had to show you a picture of her:
Everyone on the ship was out watching us go through the canal:
We finally came to the last lock before the end of the day:
Here’s a close up of that building on the left, the Control House:
In case you don’t know how to magnify these pictures, it says on the side of that Control House: “Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal, 1913”. You couldn’t show the canal without a picture of the famous locomotives which toe these big ships through the locks, so here it is:
Finally, at the end of the day, we pass under the bridge and out into the Pacific were you can see in the distance a large parking lot of ships waiting to pass back to the Caribbean Sea:
That’s it for the Panama Canal. Tomorrow is a day at Sea and then Friday is a stop in Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica. Looking forward to this port because we have booked a tour into the rainforest canopy called “Sky Walk in the Forest” Get back to you in a few days,
Love You All,
Gary (alias Gagu)