Further up, we passed through the canal to the Pacific coast on a small motor vessel. We crossed the entire canal and arrived in the Pacific Ocean.
Here's Gatun Lake, and some vessels anchored in the distance.
We journeyed further through the channel on this vessel. We were offered food and drinks during the trip, which took almost 4 hours.
The track of the canal is curved, with a diverse topography.
The watershed section, the main part of which passes through Lake Gatun, is 84.9 feet (25.9 meters) above sea level. The section is rather narrow and does not allow two large vessels to pass together.
Before the start of construction of the canal, about 2 million gallons of kerosene was used to spray the swamps near the area of the future construction site, in order to stop the mosquitoes that spread yellow fever and malaria.
In October 2006, the results of the referendum were announced. 79% of the population supported the idea to expand the
. On August 25, 2009, the construction of the second branch of locks on the Pacific slope had begun. It was planned to expand the watershed section in the Culebra array.
The canal route cuts through the mountain formed by volcanic activity. This is the left side, and the right side is almost the same.
The isthmus of Panama, 50 miles (80.5 km) long, is perhaps one of the most complex geological areas on the earth's surface, as it is mountainous and covered with impenetrable jungle and deep swamps.
Here are works that are under maintenance of the guaranteed channel depths.
On its way, the canal crosses two bridges. One of them is a six-lane Centennial Bridge, located in front of the lock "Pedro Miguel", which opened in 2004. The bridge was named after the centennial of the Panama Canal. The bridge is cable-stayed with a total length of 3451 feet (1052 meters). The main span is 1049 feet (320 meters) and its height is 262 feet (80 meters). The bridge is supported by two towers that are each 603 feet (184 meters) tall. The bridge is designed for earthquakes, which are often recorded in the canal area.
This container ship let the passenger liner "Celebrity Constellation" pass through the canal. The number of ships passing through the canal is going to double in the near future. This is due not only to the construction of the second branch of locks, but also the expansion of the watershed array of Culebra, from 498 to 629 feet (152 to 192 meters) on a straight section and up to 728 feet (222 meters) on the curved ones. This shall allow two vessels to pass the canal simultaneously.
We came to the second lock on our way. It was a single-chamber lock called "Pedro Miguel".
A car ferry appeared in front of us, which was going to make a stop to let us pass into the next lock. We were the first to go into the chamber.
The Panama Canal starts with a two-chamber lock "
", on the side of the Pacific Ocean. This is a view of the lock chamber from the canal.
This is the same place. At the bottom, there is a second chamber, located on the ocean side.
Here are the "Mules" again, that I talked about in the previous part of my review.
This is another motor vessel, like the one by which we were making our trip.
There are sites for lock operation inspection on the first floor of the lock tower. There's a cafe with tables on the second floor.
It is said that one can see crocodiles in the waters of the Pacific locks. But unfortunately, we didn't see any.
"Cristobal" became the first vessel that passed through the canal on August 15, 1914. The canal was officially opened on July 12, 1920.