A Travellerspoint blog


Panama Canal - daytime transit

View California & Panama Canal on Deb Godley's travel map.

April 26

Another lazy day at sea. After a tour of the backstage theatre area, we learned from Bill Fall, the American-Panamanian doing the Canal info talks, how the locks work; that it takes 52 million gallons of water to move a ship from one end to the other; that the old locks can take ships with a maximum width capacity of 13 shipping crates wide, while the new expansion allows for 17 shipping crates width; and that they are entirely run on gravity, with no hydraulics to move water around.

The next talk was from Milos Radakovich, who previously spoke about stardust and the night sky, and this was about life on Mars and all the exploration that’s been done.

As usual, both speakers were excellent and we spent an enjoyable morning being both entertained and educated.

Steve has a bit of a cold, which he is blaming on shaking hands with the captain :) at the gala a few nights ago. So we purchased $35 worth of NyQuil and cold tablets.

April 27

Canal day!

Up at 6 to have a quick breakfast before the traversing of the Panama Canal. Bill Fall began his day-long commentary at 6am. Today’s itinerary (times turned out to be approximate, and we actually didn’t finish the last lock until well after 4pm):

7:15 - Las America’s Bridge (we watched from the top deck area)
8-9:10 - Miraflores locks (we watched from the top deck area)


9:40-10:30 - Pedro Miguel locks (we watched from the deck 6 helipad until it was closed due to rain)


1:55-3:00 - Gatun locks (we watched on tv and from the upper deck, depending on the weather. And this last lock has taken FOREVER - more than twice the estimated time). Actually, as I am writing this - we still are not through. We started at about 2:30 - a half-hour late due to a “gasser”, which is a big gas tanker that cannot be passed in the narrower sections of the lake between the Pedro Miguel and Gatun locks - and we have now gone through 2 of the 3 locks of the Gatun section. So I am assuming we will leave this lock at some point this afternoon :), but we haven’t moved for about 45 minutes or so.

Ok. We’ve just started to move at 4:10 into the final lock which will drop us down the last few of the 27 feet to the Atlantic Ocean. Finally left the locks just before 5pm. Some small craft were going through in the other direction after us.


And here we are passing the unfinished bridge.


We received coupons for our evening lounge drinks because the usual lounge was opened to everyone for Canal viewing. As such we can have 3 drinks almost anywhere before heading to dinner. However, since we like the Constellation Louge, we’ll try there first.

Here’s the lounge.

Sent from my iPad

Posted by Deb Godley 13:07 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

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