Friday, December 30, 2016

Panama Canal Cruise, Day 97, Panama Canal Transit

The Panama Canal serves as a short cut between the Pacific and Caribbean Sea.  The  waterway, built by the US Corps of Engineers over a hundred years ago, uses a system of locks that operate like an elevator system and raises ships from sea level to the level of Gatun Lake, crossing the continental divide and then lowers the ship to sea level on the other side of the Isthmus of Panama.  On this journey we entered the canal from the Pacific Ocean.  I walked out this morning looking out at the magnificent skyline of Panama City, it is always a spectacular sight.  I have always said, Panama City is most beautiful from a distance because of the skyline.  As we sailed along, we passed under the Bridge of the Americas and shortly thereafter, had my first glimpse of the new canal lockes in operation….. What a sight!!!!  Next up was the MiraFlores Locks with its two sets of locks followed by the Pedro Miguel Locks.  By mid morning we sailed through the narrowest part of the canal known as the Culebra Cut and into Gatun Lake.  On this voyage, while transitting the Gatun Locks,  I was able to see the new Pacific Access Channel operational as the MSC Ship transitted through the locks.  The weather was warm and humid which is typical for a Panama Canal crossing.  We are now headed for Columbia…..  What a wonderful day!