Skip to main content

The Panama Canal

In the second week of our trip to Panama we visited what Panama is best known for: the Panama Canal. Indeed, in terms of economc importance to Panama the canal ranks number 1, followed by banking, co-operatives, imports/exports and tourism respectively. It's a modern engineering marvel - most impressive.

It was France who first had the idea of a canal through Panama in the late 1800s. It was Spain who undertook its construction. But after years of effort and thousands of lives lost it was the United States who took over the canal and completed the waterway. And they owned it until finally turning it over to Panama in 1999.
We transited a part of the canal beginning about mid-point at Gamboa and ending at the Port of Balboa on Flamenco Island. In between there was plenty to see...
The good ship Pacific Queen was our mode of transport. It has a capacity of 300 passengers. (Shades of Gilligan!)

We sighted our first super tanker before we even left the dock.

Our tour guide told us to be on the lookout for this, Panama's only five star hotel. It's actually a prison.

The canal's going through an extensive expansion. This is one of the dredging ships being used in that operation.

A heavily laden container ship travels towards the Atlantic as we pass on our way to the Pacific.

This military ship looked like something right out of Star Wars (or Sea Quest, I guess)

A view of the bow of the Pacific Queen from the upper deck.

Pleasure craft navigate the canal, too.

This mountain marks the Continental Divide, located near the Centennial Bridge.

More expansion activity, this time on shore.

Look up, look way up as we pass below the Centennial Bridge, completed in 2004.

Ah, our first set of locks, Pedro Miguel, where we drop 30 feet before we can continue towards the Pacific.

Locomotives like this one help guide the super tankers through the locks along the canal.

We go below deck and pause for lunch and a wee libation. Not only is Balboa one of Panama's founding explorers but they named a pretty decent beer after him too!

A deck hand throws a line to help tie off as we get ready to transit the Milaflores locks.

In the Milaflores locks ships drop another 60 feet from sea level in the Atlantic.

Leaving Milaflores we're at sea level with the Pacific Ocean.

Our intrepid tour guide looks a little like Indiana Jones, or I guess Panama Smith, perhaps.

More dredging work...Another container ship, this one framed against the Bridge of the Americas, the Pacific gateway to the canal.

The Panama Canal Authority provides its own pilot to take each and every ship through the canal. At the end of the trip he disembarks and the regular pilot takes over.

This is St. Joseph's Island and telling from all that white stuff the birds love it!

A view of the Panama City Skyline prior to docking at Flamenco Island.And that was our day transiting the Panama Canal. Hope you enjoyed the tour.


Popular posts from this blog

My Back Pages - October

Well, folks, I read seven (count 'em) seven books in October. One I didn't finish but even at that I hit the magic number 50 I estimated for myself by the end of the year. The six books I successfully waded through were, firstly, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's book on her bid for the Presidency. I''m a bit of a political junkie so I get off on this stuff but still it kinda struck me as one long whine over losing.
Next up was the excellent Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon. Laurel Canyon was the fabled area outside of Los Angeles where many musicians and artists lived. Known as a 60s enclave, the book takes a look at just who lived there over the last 80 years. A fascinating read.
Next up was Lightfoot, a biography of Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot. He may have been responsible for some iconic folk songs but he was also quite the womanizer and boozer. Enough said.
Then I read Dan Brown's new tome Origin, the fifth in the Robert Lan…

My Back Pages - November

I know, I know, I know I should have reported in before now. But sometimes real life just gets in the way. I attempted 5 books in November. I say attempted because I slapped a big DNF (did not finish) on Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. I just can't seem to get into this guy. It's the second or third of his I've given up on,

Not so the other four, starting with a biography of Stephen Stills called Change Partners. This followed by a hilarious biography of the guy responsible for National Lampoon called A Stupid and Futile Gesture - How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever.

I ended the month reading yet another biography, this one of the man behind Rolling Stone magazine,. It was called Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine. A fascinating read.

So last month I hit the magic number 50 I'd imagined for myself back in January. If I roll this month into my yearly total I'm at 54 books. And I still have Decem…