The Panama Canal

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Apr 18, 2012

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Flag of Panama  , Panamá,
Friday, April 13, 2012

Great excitement early morning 6/7am as
we began our passage through the canal. 
The Canal was started by the French in 1880 to link the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean but financial troubles and diseases made the initiative fail.  After its independence in 1903 Panama negotiated an agreement with the USA for the construction of the canal which the U.S. finished on August 15th 1914, and then managed the waterway until 1999.  Taking over the running of the canal has greatly increased the wealth of Panama since the canal has a revenue of $7million a DAY!!, which is $2.2 billion dollars a year and its running costs are $1billion.  It cost this ship around $293,000 to pass through the canal but it saved a journey of 7000 nautical miles around Cape Horn. The transit of the canal takes approximately 8 hours. After passing through the initial 3 locks we sailed across Lake Chagres which used to be a river but the area was flooded to provide water for the locks systems at either end of the canal.  Each ships transit uses 52 million gallons of fresh water.  If there was ever a drought in this area the canal would cease to function.  This has not happened yet!  The canal is in use 24 hours a day and a new parallel canal is being constructed to allow bigger ships
to transit.  They hope to be ready to open in the centenary year of 2014.

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