Through the Panama Canal

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
Trip End Feb 07, 2009

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Flag of Panama  ,
Saturday, January 31, 2009

We were up early to start our trip through the Panama Canal. The liner was circling similar to planes stacking to come into Heathrow. We were in a line of ships - no 19 to go through from south to north that day. It was bright and sunny and things looked good. We eventually passed under the Bridge of the Americas to line up to go through the Miraflores locks. What a performance! It took 19 people from the canal company to come on board to sort out the ropes whilst some poor blokes in a tiny rowing boat were helping with the ropes on shore. The strange looking vehicles called mules were going to pull us through the canal and we had a pilot on board who, we were told, had had 9 years training and who wouldn't start work until he had eaten his way through a full English breakfast!

It took an hour and a half to get through the lock. We had been told of a website where folks back home could watch our passage through the lock via a webcam. I had emailed this info to our kids but the time we entered the lock was about an hour later than we had been advised so nobody was watching when we went through. Then it was on to the Gatun lake where we spotted two crocs on the banks at different places. Finally, we went through the Gatun locks and emerged into the Caribbean at around 6.30 pm. It had taken all day to get through the canal but it was a day to remember.
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