It’s been a busy week so far and the next few weeks look like they may just be as crazy. Oh well. The weather has not improved at all here. We have had a couple of nice days where the temperature was warmer and the sun was out but all in all pretty miserable. Moving somewhere warmer is defiantly looking appealing these days.
So back to the Panama Canal trip. This post will be a little photo heavy.
After leaving Cartegena, Columbia the ship hightailed it to the Canal. We were scheduled to start the transit just before 7:00 am. When transiting the Canal the ships open up the front part of their decks (these parts are normally reserved for staff only) Now I have cruised through the Panama Canal twice before but each time it is a thrill. There is something very magical about the whole thing. I was up around 6:00 am and went in search of my new friends as we had made a date the night before to meet in the lineup. You have to line up early to ensure you get a great spot for picture taking without a lot of heads in the way. Upon finding my friends we still had about 45 minutes before they were going to open up the viewing areas so we each took turns heading out to take pictures so we didn’t loose our place in line.
It was still dark outside as the ship approached the canal. As you can see there were a lot of freighters hanging around waiting for their turn to head through the canal.
When you get down near the equator you will find that once the sun creeps up over the horizon it doesn’t take long before it’s daylight. Dawn and Dusk are very short in that part of the world. Here is a picture with dawn just breaking on the horizon.
A couple more shots of the surrounding area just at dawn before we start our journey through the canal.
Here we are heading towards the first of the locks on the Atlantic side. Panama is in the process of building a new bridge across this channel.
Here is a small ferry waiting to go across the channel. There were a number of small ferries such as this along the way. Maybe that is why the building of the bridge.
Here we are sailing by the original cut started by the French in 1881 but this turned into a disaster with the death toll upwards of over 22,000. The project was disbanded and the jungle claimed most of it however this channel still remains.
A picture of the dense jungle that was on both sides of us at this point.
Here we are coming up to the first lock. You can see one ship heading into a lock on the left hand side. We would be going into the right hand side one.
Another small ferry and you can see the jungle in the background.
Gates opening up to allow us to go into the lock.
A look back at all of the people up watching as we enter the first lock.
A view of the surrendering area, again, notice the jungle is not that far off.
This little cart is called a mule. They have cables attached from them to the ship. They are there to ensure we enter in straight and not hit the sides.
In this picture you can see how high up the other ship is in the background. The water has lowered for us to be able to enter the lock. The water will then rise up so we will end up at the same level as the ship shown in this picture.
Well we made it through the first locks locks (see map above) and have now entered Lake Gatun. In the last picture you can see the freighter that was in the left hand chambers of the locks as it sails ahead of us into the lake. Now it was time to go and find Mom and head for breakfast.
It would take the rest of the day to sail through the lake and through another two sets of locks before we reached the Pacific Side. We sailed under the Bridge of Americas around 5:30 pm.
The Bridge of the Americas is a road bridge which connects North and South America. It is located near Panama City. You can see all of the freighter traffic near Panama City off in the background.
I was just able to take this picture before heading to the dining room for dinner. The next day was a sea day and then our first port on the Pacific side.