Panama Canal

Trip Start Jul 02, 2012
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Trip End Oct 04, 2012


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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Today we were picked up at 6.30am and taken to the marina where we boarded the Pacific Queen to begin our trip up the Panama Canal.  

It was an incredible experience.  The trip took us from the Pacific Ocean heading towards the Atlantic Ocean, under the Americas bridge. We followed a large container ship in to the Miraflores Lock and went through 2 chambers, rising up 30 feet each time before sailing on.
 
We followed the ship across Gantun Lake (created when the Chagres river was dammed) and then in to a 2nd lock - Pedro Miguel.  Rising up another 30 feet we sailed in to the Gaillard Cut which was the most labour intensive part of the canal to create.  It is there that we crossed the Continental Divide - the only place in all of America you can do that.
 







We had a really good guide on board and so learnt lots about the workings and history of the canal which was fascinating.  The design is so clever, the workings of the locks ingenious and the concept quite incomprehensible when you consider they first started talking about cutting through from east to west back in the 1600's.

The trip lasted about 5 hours and we disembarked at Gamboa (about half way across the canal) and went back to the marina by bus.  It was a once in a lifetime experience and is a fantastic example of human dedication, skill, bravery and sheer hard work.
 
Arriving back at our hotel, we split up with Alistair and Josh going fishing and the rest of us going to a huge shopping mall - Albrook Mall.  The Mall is enormous and is where people from all over Latin America come to shop.  It is so popular that they are in the process of building a big hotel complex next door simply to house the people who come to shop! It was almost overwhelming in its size and the number of people - in December they literally have lanes down the mall to keep people moving easily.

After getting some bargains we headed back to the hotel.  Ali and Josh had had a great time fishing catching 21 in 3 hours - Ali got 5 and Josh 16.  It was a very happy taxi driver who scored the catch as a tip!

We are really looking forward to tomorrow when we will be visiting an indigenous Indian Village. 
 
 

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