Day 24 — Panama Canal
This morning we arose early for our transit through the Canal. I managed to get on deck around 6 AM, after we had been in the beginning of the Canal for an hour. Just in time to watch us enter the first set of Locks around 6:30 AM. The sun has not risen yet so my camera gets to do one of its favorite things and take night photos. For those cameraphiles out there, it was an exercise in ISO ratings. For me it was a lesson in how well my new camera can handle ISO Ratings of 12,000 plus and it did not disappoint! I would find out later that my 5D Mark IV can easily handle this speed without all the noise issues of other cameras. Fun stuff, at least for me.
Daylight increases dramatically before we finish traversing the first “Triple Lock” of the Canal. The engineering feat of the Panama Canal is an absolute miracle of modern engineering. Even as amazing is realizing that the water height changes are accomplished via gravity alone, no pumps needed! So after approximately an hour and a half, we are powering out of the Gatun Locks into Gatun Lake, an artificial lake 85 feet (26 meters) above sea level. The Canal is considered the 8th Wonder of the World. A New Canal has been constructed and opened just over 2 years ago and not only doubles how many ships can traverse the isthmus, but now allows ever larger ships to cross over. Some of the freight ships we watched go through the new Canal (We went through the Old Canal) were absolutely enormous! We watched the construction of the New Canal when we came through in 2017 and got to see the results this trip.
We passed by the Port of Gamboa around noon and saw the world’s largest Floating Crane, although I’m not clear on its actual value of use. Then we arrives at the Pedro Miguel Lock (Single Lock) around 1:00PM and my camera was again a happy camper. We also saw cyclists on the shore. Apparently, cycling the Panama Canal is a thing! Who knew?
We enter the Miraflores Locks only a scant few minutes after exiting the Pedro Miguel Lock. This lock is a double lock as opposed to the Pedro Miguel single lock. Thereby navigating a total of 3 locks on each end of the Canal. After taking photos on all upper decks through the various Locks, I decide to take the photos of this Lock from the lower decks on the side of the ship. A totally new perspective on the Canal Locks.
We finally exit the last Locks and power out into the Pacific Ocean. Heading South now for many kilometers before heading Southwest for our journey across the Pacific, the view becomes interesting. The most interesting part is the multitudes of ships getting ready to Cue Up to enter the Canal. One count came to 27 ships (as viewed out of our limited Stateroom Window).
Sunset takes over our view and we travel happily off into the Pacific Ocean on the next leg of our journey.
See you tomorrow!