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Panama Canal

July 15, 2013
Panama Canal

I was fortunate to realize one of my lifelong dreams recently. I saw the Panama Canal!  It is truly an engineering marvel even a hundred years after it first opened.

My roommate and her friend from Germany, who was visiting us for a few days, and I mentioned we would love to see the canal to a new friend who is a Zonian.  A Zonian is an American who was born in Panama in the Canal Zone to American parents. They have American and Panamanian citizenship if I understand correctly.  Fortunately for us, Zonians speak fluent English.

The next afternoon we took a whirlwind but fascinating tour of the Canal Zone and the Canal. Here are some photos from the Canal Zone overlooking the city and the locks. Photos are hazy because it was hazy.

We visited the canal at the Miraflores Locks which has a restaurant and excellent viewing area built next to them.

The ships pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in the morning and the reverse in the afternoon.  There are three lakes in between the oceans with locks connecting them.  Here are photos of the “trains”that guide the ships and hold them steady with cables as they pass through the locks. There is very little extra room.

There are three sets of locks in the passage between oceans and the ships are lifted to different levels.  One major difference in the oceans is that the tides on the Pacific side are much more extreme than on the Atlantic/Caribbean Sea side. I am reading a book about the canal by David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas. The French started it and then the Americans took over.  Now the Panamanians own it and are building a third lock at Miraflores to expand capacity. Here is a photo of the construction site.


This experience was truly a dream come true and I feel so fortunate to have seen the canal with a native. Fabulous!


From → Panama

  1. Linda Tamulaites permalink

    That is a great experience, Marty. I keep saying I am going to take a Panama cruise, but haven’t yet. I would be as fascinated as you seem to have been at such an engineering feat. Unbelievable! Thanks for the info and great pix……Linda


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  1. Panama Canal 100th Anniversary Sailings | Solo To Group Travel

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