Firstly, you may be wondering what happened to the Aruba blog. Unfortunately, the day after Saint Lucia, I came down with Bronchitis and cellulitis of the eye. I went to the the doctor on the day we docked in Aruba, and was prescribed antibiotics. I am slowly getting better, but, apart from just walking off the ship, I didn’t do much in Aruba. I have a couple of photos taken from the ship as we were leaving as I felt so unwell. I was scheduled to do a water based activity but because of the eye problem, I had to cancel. Luckily the medical centre stamped the back and because of that I got a full refund.
We transited the Panama Canal on Sunday 20th January. We were given a schedule of the highlights in the horizon the night before, but as always it was subject to change. We were also given a small booklet with a brief history of the canal.
The length of the Panama is 80kms (50 miles) from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It takes on average 8-10 hours to complete the transit of the canal. Lake Gatun covers and area of 163.38 square miles and was formed by the construction of an earthern dam across the Chargres river which runs Northwoods towards the Caribbean sea.
The Culebra cut is 13.7km long and extends from Gatun Lake to Predro Miguel locks.
The images above are the approach of the first and third of the Gatun locks. At the third lock we had the first of two medical emergency evacuations.
Each chamber is 110 feet wide by 1000ft long. Total volume of concrete to build the locks was 3,440.488 cubic meters.
We then spent a very lazy 4-5 hours cruising the Gatun Lake.
During the cruise of the Lake, there was several activities taking place onboard, one of which was an ice carving (a very strange thing to do in 30 degree heat!).
As we approached the Pedro Miquel locks, the captain announced another emergency evacuation off the ship. After that we proceeded through the lock then onto the final two locks that would bring us in to the Pacific ocean. There was a ship next to us which allowed me to photograph its progress through the lock.
The mules are very important and pull or guide the ships through a very narrow area. There is usually 4 to a ship – two at the front and two at the back. The first mule or locomotive cost $13,217 and were built by General Electric, an American company. Mitsubishi is the current manufacturer of Panama Canal locomotives which cost US$2.3m each!
As we were passing though the Miraflores lock, I could see in the distance a container ship using the newer canal.
After leaving the final lock, we then headed under the Bridge of Americas and past Panama City to continue up the coast to Huatulco.
The canal is an amazing piece of engineering. I think the photos will say more than I can. I have also posted a time lapse on my Facebook page which can be accessed here (there are two parts as we had an emergency evacuation right below my cabin and was requested not to photograph or video the medical disembarkation).
My next blog will be about Huatulco and Cabo San Lucas.