Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monday, December 24, 2012 – Daylight Transit of the Panama Canal – Warm - Humid – 90s

I am scheduled to speak today at Noon today in the Theater and the schedule of our transit leaves a nice opening for the talk while the ship hangs out in Gatun Lake.

20121224_Ships position transit (Small)

Breakfast was, as always, in the Islands Cafe.  I was able to get some shots of the ship making its way through the Gatun Locks.  My camera experienced the same condensation issue it always does – after warming the camera up to ambient temp, the fog went away.  The fog did give the first few pictures an eerie quality.`

Gatun Locks (Small)

Gatun Locks

Gatun Locks 1 (Small)

Alongside another transiting ship – Gatun Locks

The earlier rain and the remaining humidity combined to provide a great rainbow over the rainforest near Gatun Locks.

Rainbow at Gatun Locks (Small) Gatun Locks 2 (Small)

Going through the locks

Gatun Locks exit (Small)

View forward of the Gatun Lock Gates

The ship spent a little time in Gatun Lake but I wound up meeting with Jamie and John, who indicated that the scheduled had changed and that the ship would enter the San Miguel Locks around 12:30 PM and that the captain would open the bow to passengers.  After some discussion, the talk was rescheduled to tomorrow.  John made the announcement over the PA at 11:45 AM.  A good call.  We found out later than our expedited run through the canal was due to a medical emergency on-board (according to the ship rumor mill).

 20121224_Gatun Lake 1 (Small) 20121224_Gatun Lake (Small) 

Top two: Gatun Lake

20121224_Coral Princess going other way (Small)

The Coral Princess doing the Canal Eastbound

20121224_E and Gatun Lake (Small)

Ellen and Gatun Lake

IMG_20121224_Gatun Lake and Me (Small)

I’m there, too

20121224_Island on Gatun Lake (Small)

These islands (above) were all hilltops and mountains before the area was flooded to form Gatun Lake.  We reached Gamboa and I got a great shot of the gigantic Titan Crane (Bill Fall’s “Herman the German”).  Titan is one of four cranes confiscated from the Germans – they are now in the hands of the US, France, and Britain.

20121224_Titan Crane (Small)

Titan on Gamboa

20121224_Railroad and Car bridge (Small)

Railroad and Car Bridge

We passed the Minimum Security Prison reserved for offenders of non-violent crimes – most famous resident – Manuel Noriega, extradited back to Panama from France (where he also was found guilty and spent some time in prison).

20121224_Minimum Security Prison Noriega (Small)

Prison on the Lake

20121224_Centennial Bridge (Small)

The Centennial Bridge

After passing the bridge, the ship entered the San Miguel Locks.

20121224_Entering San Miguel Locks (Small) 20121224_San Miguel Locks control bldg (Small) 

20121224_E and San Miguel Locks (Small)

San Miguel Locks

Beyond the locks we came across a newly developed area (below).  Along with a water treatment plant that supplies a lot of the drinking water for Panama City, there is also a new Holiday Inn and Mormon Temple (all in the distance).

20121224_Fresh Water treatment plant Holiday Inn and Mormom Temple (Small) 

The final set of Locks were the Miraflores Locks –there are several stages that bring the ship down to the level of the Pacific Ocean.  The lock doors on the final set of locks are the biggest (80 feet high) and heaviest (600 plus tons) because they need to deal with the tidal pressure and height of the Pacific Ocean.

20121224_Miraflores Locks (Small) 

Passing into Miraflores Lake, we could see the Bridge of the Americas up ahead.  This bridge is due to be demolished (been around since 1962) and replaced by two taller bridges that can accommodate the “Super Panamax” ships slated to use the new wider and longer locks scheduled for completion in 2014.

20121224_Bridge of the Americas (Small) 20121224_Passing under Bridge ot Americas (Small) 20121224_Under the Bridge of the Americas (Small)

Bridge of the Americas

As we neared the Pacific Ocean, we got our first view of Panama City in the distance behind a very nice Marina.

20121224_In the Pacific Panama City (Small)

20121224_E Mt Ancon and Panama City (Small)

Ellen and Mt. Ancon (tallest peak along the Panama Canal)

A new multicolored and multi-shaped structure was visible on the Port side – it is the new Panama Museum of Biodiversity.  It looked more like an IKEA store than a museum.

20121224_New Museum of Panama (Small)  20121224_Museum and Panama City (Small)

The new museum and Panama City

Comedian, Steve Scott was narrating his version of the transit on a Smartphone.

20121224_Comedian Steven Scott (Small)

A little after four PM, the transit was complete as documented by the Navigation Channel.

20121224_Transit Complete (Small)

We spent the evening in the Lounges, reading and listening to music.

A big sea day tomorrow.

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