Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wednesday, February 10, 2011 – Transit of the Panama Canal – Mostly Sunny – 84 F

Distance from Puntarenas, Costa Rica to the Panama Canal: 486 nautical miles

Excellent weather for the transit…

We spent most of the day on the port side of Deck 5 listening to Bill Fall’s excellent narration of the trip through the canal.  Bill is up in the Crow’s Nest (can you see him?)

IMG_6730 (Small)

The transit should starts about 5:40 AM (Panama Canal Pilot boards) and will take about 11 hours to complete. 

 Ship queuing up at the Canal (Small) 

Ships waiting in the Gulf of Panama for their turn to to through the canal

The Journey paid a premium to get priority through the canal and to keep the cruise itinerary on schedule.  As we pass through the channel to the first lock (Miraflores) – an 8.2 mile distance – Panama City and the marina are clearly visible.

Panama City (Small)

 Panama City and Marina at entrance to canal (Small)

Top:  Panama City; Bottom: Panama City and Marina

The Journey passes under the Bridge of the Americas as it approaches the locks.

Going under the Bridge of the Americas (Small) B and Z Panama Canal (Small)

On deck to get the best view

From Stern Bridge of the Americas (Small)

From the stern: Bridge of the Americans

Entering Miraflores Locks (Small) 

Entering the Miraflores Locks

Miraflores locks opening for Journey (Small) 

From the Looking Glass Lounge: Miraflores Locks

Miraflores locks stern view (Small)

Miraflores Locks Closed (Small)

Stern View: Multilockage (more than one ship in locks)

Z and the Canal (Small)

In the Miraflores locks, the ship is raised to 54 feet above sea level in two stages.  It is only one mile to the Pedro Miguel Locks, which will raise the ship another 31 ft to the level of Gatun Lake. 

Pedro Miguel Locks (Small)

Front view of Pedro Miguel Locks

In the Pedro Miguel Locks there is a car carrier (thousands of cars) Panamax ship in the adjacent locks.

Pedro Miquel Locks open stern view Pedro Miquel Locks closed stern (Small)

Top: Stern View: Pedro Miguel Locks Open; Bottom: the Locks are closed for the 31 foot float

Exiting the Pedro Miguel Locks, we enter the Culebra Cut (narrowest part of the Canal) for 7.8 mile ride to the final set of locks.  The Culebra Cut slices through the Continental Divide (85 feet above sea level).  In the Cut, the Journey passes under the Centennial Bridge. 

Centennial Bridge (Small)

Centennial Bridge

Dredger in the Culebra Cut (Small)

Dredger in the Culebra Cut

Near the continental divide (Small)

Near the Continental Divide

The Cut opens up into Gatun Lake, an artificial lake formed by Gatun Dam.  The Lake is 15 miles across and ships line up here as well for entrance into the Gatun Locks.

The final set of locks, the three stage Gatun Locks, will lower the ship 85 feet to the level of the Bahia Limon and the Caribbean Sea.

Entering Gatun Locks (Small) B relaxing during Canal Transit (Small)

Gatun Locks stern view (Small)

Top: Entering Gatun Locks; Middle: Relaxing during the Transit; Bottom: Gatun Locks door closed.

The total trip through the canal: 47.9 miles.

The Captain indicates that the seas will be rough once we reach the open waters of the Atlantic – Dramamine for all.

Another nice dinner and we take in the show: Timm Metivier – comic magician. 

The seas are a bit rough – we’ll see who shows up for breakfast.

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