Friday, 18 October 2013

Cruise - Panama Canal (Oct 8th)

Ladies & Gentlemen........drum roll please!!! The very reason that this cruise was chosen has finally arrived!! The Panama Canal is right outside our window!! Let's see how the day started.....

First, we were up at about 5:00 a.m. (I know, hold onto your hats!!) We went out onto our balcony and found Mark & Carmen, who had the suite right next to us, out there already. It was still dark and we thought that all the lights we could see were part of the city.  We were wrong, they were separate boats that were waiting to go through the canal. I would imagine that they have to make "appointments" and then the government of Panama waits for money to transfer hands. For example, it cost $343,000 US for us to go through the canal!! Will that be cash or VISA?? It was so warm and humid that the camera lens fogged up. Probably already about 25 degrees Celsius (80 degrees F).

This will have lots of pictures, so here we go......

 Panama City and their new museum.

 Bridge of the Americas. If you drive the Panamerican highway,
you will go on this bridge!!

Our cabins were right near the back of the boat. We have just cleared the bridge.
This is where most of the pictures from today will come from....

 Construction of the new set of locks.
So much easier in today's world with modern technology!!

Notice how high up this cargo ship is?
These are the first set of locks, Miraflores.....

Check out how close we are to the side of the canal.
That is a dredging challenge for sure!! In fact, we were close enough that Martin,
Julie and Doug spotted a crocodile sitting on the side of the bank!!

View from the bridge cam. If any of you were able to follow that day, you saw lots of these.
We didn't go up front as the people were 10 feet deep, all day...

 We followed this cargo ship all day. Sometimes he was on the right
side and sometimes we switched sides. The ships go one direction for 12 hours and then they switch so the ships can go back into the Pacific from the Caribbean side.

These little "trains" are the mules that steady and pull us through. 

Mom, Susann and daughter, Lacey, enjoyed the day!!

Closing the lock to fill 'er up!!

Miraflores Lock House....

The ever present tugs. Once you are clear of the locks, they let you go.
Right now, we have just entered Gatun Lake.

That's a tight fit!! Lots of the super ships now do not fit through,
that is why they are building a new set of locks!!

 I just couldn't get over the change in water height!!!

Notice how narrow this channel is?


YIKES!!! What is he doing there???

These little islands are actually the tops of mountains.
This lake was made larger for the canal project and was flooded.... 


 The "must have" beverage while going through the canal!!

 Company coming....

 Hey, don't tell Josh & Kathy but Gus came through with us too!!

This is pretty much how the entire family spent the day!!

These are the gates for the new locks. They will slide back and forth,
as opposed to opening and closing like doors.
Wow, that was quite a day and it took ALL day to go through!! I could bore you with stats and figures but I am sure it would all be more accurate to google the canal and get the info right!!
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and we cannot thank our mom enough for allowing us to experience it!!! Thanks Mom!!!
Cheers friends!!

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