Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Transnavigation of the Panama Isthmus

Today we must start by wishing June and Barry a Happy Anniversary for tomorrow! We are already starting to dissociate from days and dates so we hope we got it right!!!
We also thank Margie, Lael, Chris, Suzanne, Niki, Bullfrog and Ladybug for their lovely comments and for Jonathan who followed us on the Panama Canal webcam (we hope you kept the evidence for prosterity).

If you take out your maps of Central America you will see that Panama runs East – West and the Panama Canal runs from North to South for about 50 miles across the isthmus bisecting the country.
We entered the Canal at 8.30am and exited only a short while ago (at 7pm). We took ‘photos along the way and you can see some of the shots we took.
First, as I was standing on my balcony at 8.30am I am looking back at the ocean before we enter the canal and then a view directly down looking at the precise entry into the canal and the tiny space between the hull of the ship and the wall of the canal.

There are three components of the canal. First the ship has to be raised about 25 meters from the level of the Caribbean through a series of three locks. The ship enters the lock, the door closes behind the ship and water (fresh water) is pumped in – you can see the difference in levels across the lock in this photo of the lane parallel to ours.

Then after these locks you enter a huge manmade lake that extends across the continental divide
Finally, another three locks take the ship down to the level of the Pacific Ocean which is where we now are.
Absolutely amazing engineering feat and a really interesting commentary was provided to us over the loudspeaker by an expert on all things Panama and Canal
Fascinating!  We are now heading towards the Southern Cross as we settle in to watch the next episodes of Downton Abbey


  1. Brian called to give us the website so we were able to see the ship passing thru... Although, looked like you were parked at the time. Laughed at yesterday's post re: hurry up, I don't want to miss lunch! Too funny. Have you met table mates?

  2. This is incredibly interesting! I, too, chuckled when reading about the Jackie O speaker. Almost one week in, most would be returning home soon but you have just begin!

  3. When I was a very young puppie, my Dad won the bidding estimate to be the head maintenance/contractor for the Panama Canal. He turned it down because we had to leave the U.S. plus other factors involved as well. Otherwise, I could have been speaking Spanish today as opposed to failing French in high school twice!!!

    Great pictures of canal and it is a marvel of engineering.

  4. wow that must have been AWSOME sry i couldent comment earlier (just got subscribed)

  5. Pictures from the outside: