Beach exercise

Beach exercise

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

West to the Pacific Ocean

In order to really see the Panama Canal, you need to transit the entire system.  Since our cruise ship only went as far as Gatun Lake and then returned to Colon to await the return of the passengers who booked excursions.

We signed up for the tour boat excursion that traveled form Gatun Lake all the way through the canal including the Pacific locks and out into the Pacific Ocean.  We disembarked the Coral Princess in Gatun lake by launch to shore, where we took a bus to the tour boat dock.



The biggest advantage to taking the tour boat was the change in perspective of what you are seeing.  On the cruise ship, you are always at least ten stories of above the water all the way to 15 stories.




Traveling through a water ditch is not always that exciting, but the canal has a lot of vessel traffic and currently there is a lot of maintenance work going on.  There is also a lot of work associated with the building of the new larger locks.  Traveling at near the water level gives an up close and personal feeling.  You can really feel the change in the water level as the vessel descends to the Pacific Ocean level.  And of course there is always that bit of excitement as you realize the large ship that is going to share a lock with you would crush our small vessel like a bug if there was any miscalculation as it slows upon entering the lock behind you. 





















Below are two short videos of the lock thru.


12 comments:

John Hedges said...

Chuck that was one cool cruise, thanks for sharing. You just made an addition to my bucket list.

Gypsy said...

It looks like a fun and interesting trip,but I would prefer to do it in a smaller vessel. Ten or 15 stories above the water is just too much for me.

Karen and Al said...

Thanks for sharing. The videos give you a good idea of what it's like.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

I walked across the lock door there at the Miraflores Lock as well as went down into the lock to see the huge mechanisms controlling the doors. It was quite an experience.

Did you happen to see the old Coast Guard 180 that now is part of the Panamanian Navy? It is at the navy base just past the lock and before the bridge on the Pacific side. When we were there they were so happy with it they were asking for another one.

Wanderin' said...

We really like doing cruises. We've done quite a few and the biggest advantage is that you don't have to pack and unpack every few days. However, we've discovered we much prefer the smaller ships. The tours sure are great.

Rick Doyle said...

Thanks for a great tour and pics of "the ditch". I'd love to do that myself some day.

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

It still just amazes me about how they built that canal. My back hurts just thinking about it.

The photos are great!

Ray and Cindy said...

We went through the Canal, starting in San Diego and ending in Ft Lauderdale with Princess Cruises. I was impressed with how well everything worked. As I remember there are no pumps, all the water is gravity through giant pipes. Glad you liked the Cruise.

Linda said...

Thank you for taking us along on this cool cruise with your photos.

Sherry said...

Going through the canal on a smaller ship seems like a much better way to do it. You really got a much closer view than 15 stories up.

Erin Erkun said...

Our ship will be going through the canal from end to end this fall, so this small boat excursion will have to wait until the next partial one we do. Seeing the canal from different perspectives gives one a better appreciation of what went into building it all those years ago. Several years ago, we did an excursion that took us to the Gatun Lake Locks VC; timing was perfect as we got to see our own ship going back out of the locks to dock at Colon to pick up the excursion groups.

Bob said...

Love those photo's!