Mar 14, 2004
I have been quite the tourist here in the big city. My first stop, however, was the famous Panama Canal. The museum and facts about this "engineering marvel" are pretty cool but to see it in operation is amazing. My German buddies and I arrived in time to watch a Panamax cargo ship pass through. "Panamax" means a ship designed to barely fit through the canal. The ship I watched was 965 feet long and had about 2 feet of clearance on either side, just squeezing through. The ship paid $140,000 to use the canal and its services and will take about 24 hours to travel from the Pacific side to the Caribbean side 50 kilometers(I think) away. They can move water from one lock to another at a rate of 12 million gallons a minute and the 90 foot tall steel gates of each lock weigh 90 tons and were made in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania around 1913 or something ... they are still the original gates. So there`s your history lesson for the day. Check out the pix.