The Panama Canal – a stretch of man-made waterway that cuts across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Construction began in 1881 by the French but was halted in 1889. (I think they forgot to check what mosquitoes can do to people in the tropics.) Oh well, after the French left, the US checked things out and decided they could do it, so in 1904 came the big purchase. Today, it’s just a spectacular godsent shipping shortcut which one has to view to really appreciate and believe how it works.Pana2

The gap between the vessel I was on and the canal wall averaged 10-12 inches, not a very good sight for people with Herpetophobia.

Pana1Watching each Lock opening and closing as water levels are lowered and raised is simply awesome. Each Lock (chamber) is 110ft wide & 1,050ft long so that does restrict maximum shipping size.

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Lock gate in front is about to slowly open to the allow the water to our Lock. That will raise our vessel so we can then get into the next Lock. The central dividing wall (like a road divider) between 2 traffic flowing Locks is 59ft thick and 79ft high.

Rarely seen, are the walls of the canal when the ships are passing through. I was curious as hell so ran down & took a short video from a cabin window. Click HERE if you’re curious.

GatunGatun (the city with Gatun lake ahead)

Pana5 As usual, we just had to try the local beer. When in Panama, you just gotta drink (well, at least taste) what the Panamanians drink.