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Published: March 16th 2018
We are sailing again, folks. Get your life jackets tightened up. Our cruise ship is going to go through the new Panama Canal today....with all of us onboard. That is unless some of you decide you want to be ambitious and do the breast stroke along side the ship. Tugboats pull and push our ship through the locks so if you get tired, I suppose you can grab hold of one of them and they could tug you along, too. Today is Wednesday, February 21st. Lulu is so excited. She so wishes she could wear a bathing suit just in case she fell overboard. No fear, I keep her close to me to prevent any danger coming to her. She has to be protected......she is a fearless fool at times. If you haven’t traveled through the Panama Canal before, it will surely be a new and grand experience for you, too. Obviously this is our first time. Sam & Sandy have sailed through the original canal four times but this is their first time through the new one. The local Pilot on his pilot boat boarded our ship at 5:16 AM. We found our best vantage point right out on our
room balcony. The other passengers with balcony rooms did the same. The sides of this big ship were like moving ant hills with so many passengers gathering out on their open balconies. It was early morning as the sun began to rise. A beautiful sunrise we shall never forget!
Here’s a bit of history about this new canal. The Panama Canal is an artificial 48 miles waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 85 feet above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The original locks of the original Panama Canal are 110 feet wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016. The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016. The new locks allow transit of larger, Post-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo. I gave you more descriptions comparing the old canal and this new
one in my previous blog (#1011257....Our Cruise Through The Panama Canal & Beyond). If you missed that ditty, you can just click the “previous” heading at the top of the my blog to get back to it and any of my other blogs.....all 430 of them! Oh, lucky, lucky you! This new canal has the locks we are going through today.....entering the Aqua Clara Locks at 6:30 AM. We move through 3 sections of these locks and enter Gatun Lake and anchor the cruise ship here at 9:30 AM. Here we boarded tender boats that took us to land near Panama City. While we were on our 6-hour bus/land/railroad excursion, the cruise ship and remaining passengers re-entered the Aqua Clara Locks and went back through them and docked at Cristobal. This is where we would complete our land excursion, take a tender again and re-board the cruise ship. Our land excursion will be detailed in my next blog. I hate to bog you down with too much at one time. Hah! Please, no applauding. My eyes get blurry just writing it all....I can imagine yours after trying to read it. Whew! What a special journey it has been so far....a
memorable one for sure! Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. See you next in Panama City!
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