Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 18 - Transit of the Panama Canal

What a day!  If you have never made a transit of the Panama Canal, put it on your bucket list.  Although the completion of the canal took many years, millions of dollars, and quite a few lives, it is an engineering marvel - especially considering it was completed 100 years ago.

I woke up at 5:30 (after four and a half hours of sleep) and it was still dark, so I went back to sleep until 7:00.  We were approaching the first lock (Gatun) on the Atlantic side.  I dressed quickly and went to the forward part of deck 9 in front of the gym, which you had to walk through to get to the open deck (so I got my one - and likely only - view of the gym!).  It was crowded and since most people are taller than I am, I could not see much.  I ended up going back to my balcony and had a good view of the process.

Cunard had a local lecturer, Jose Fernandez, give commentary as we made the transit.  He also had a Q&A session about the canal.  He said he did not believe that the extension of the canal would be finished before the end of 2015, if then.  It was due to be finished this year for the 100th anniversary.

Over the course of the day I also watched the transit from deck 9 aft, deck 9 midship, deck 10 midship, and deck 3.  After watching the working of the locks from my balcony, I realized you could not really notice the up or down motion which is why I ended up on deck 3 for the Miraflores locks.

We exited the canal (with Panama City in the background) into the Pacific around 5:30.

A movie I have wanted to see, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", was being shown tonight so I decided to eat in the the Lido and go to the 8:30 show.  It was a great movie but the background music was so loud I could not hear some of the lines.

Parts of the extension locks

Crocodile on the shore (there are many of them in the canal)

"Mules"  The locomotives that guide the ship through the canal (four on each side of a large ship).  They are named mules after the animals that were once used to travel across Panama.

Gatun Lake

Work on the extension

Centennial Bridge

View of the lock

Bridge of the Americas

New Museum of Modern Art with Panama City in the background

Palindrome for the day ---  A man, a plan, a canal - Panama

Smooth sailing until next time!


  1. Awesome!!! We were talking about you today at the staff luncheon. Filled everyone in on your journey and encouraged them to check your blog! Have fun and keep the updates coming! I check daily now. Hugs!

  2. Thanks for reading, Peg. I really enjoyed our two days in Costa Rica!