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Panama Canal

Holland American Cruise Lines

October 2002

One of my special wishes was to be able to travel through

the Panama Canal.  That was made possible in October of 2002

when I sailed from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. 

It was a glorious experience.  I would encourage all travelers to

see and sail on the canal.  The sheer size and scope of the canal

cannot be fully appreciated without being there and sailing across

the isthmus of Panama.  I would not sail for a long time to get to

the canal.  We were at sea for 9 days out of a 16 days cruise.  There is only

so much of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans one needs to see. 

The scenery at sea does not change a great deal.  I did take the

across isthmus railroad trip and it was terrific.  A do not miss experience!


Steaming toward the Panama Canal.  The Peace Bridge is ahead.

The entrance to the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean. 

Full speed ahead!

The Freedom Bridge.  On to the canal!

The first set of locks from the Pacific Ocean side of the canal. 

Miraflores Locks.

Miraflores Lock House. They were celebrating the Millennium

like everyone else.

Another view of the Miraflores lock. 

San Miguel lock ahead, on to the Atlantic Ocean.

The San Miguel lock.

Heading into the San Miguel Lock.

The Pedro Miguel lock house.

These are the famous canal mules that hold and help to

move the ships in the locks. 

They are electric and very powerful.

Pedro Miguel Lock.

This is the famous Gaillard Cut.  This was one of the most

challenging tasks in building the canal.

The canal dredges work 24 hours a day, year round

to keep the canal at the proper depth for the ships. 

Another view of the canal heading for the Atlantic Ocean.

An ocean going freighter heading for the Pacific Ocean.


Entering the Gatun Lock.  Last lock before sailing

into the Atlantic Ocean.


We are following two large ships going through

the lock in our direction.

After our canal crossing we docked at Colon, Panama so we could go on

land excursions in Panama.  I am visiting a display of canal locomotives. 

There was an observation deck here to see the canal locks.

This is one of the General Electric original "mules" that

help to guide the ships through the canal.

One of the new GE locomotives used today to help the

ships pass through the canal.

Part of the canal's fleet of tug boats to assist ships in the canal.

This was the locomotive of the train that crosses Panama

and parallels the canal.  It was a great excursion including

a tour around Panama City. 

Another ship passing through the Panama Canal.  This picture was

taken while I was on a train ride across Panama. 

The route followed the canal.

Limon Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.  Many ships were anchored in the

bay either waiting to cross or just waiting.  With the down turn in

business many ships were out of service.  The cost of crossing the

canal is very expensive and Panama only takes cash payments. 

Another interesting fact is that there is a one foot difference in

height between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 

The 64 dollar question is which one is higher?

Sunset on the Atlantic Ocean after a sail through the Panama Canal.

My new friends at Table 65.  I was indeed fortunate to be assigned to this table. 

These traveling companions were extremely pleasant and have

been good friends since the trip.