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Panama Canal Cruise January 7, 2011
Panama Canal-Gatun Locks
Gatun Locks: At just about sunrise, we approached shore and could tell from the number of boats that we were closing in on the canal.
There were ships of all sizes, from container ships (above left) to tug boats (above right) hovering for their next move. Approaching the canal, we could see the only remnants of the French attempt to build a canal across Panama. (above center)
(below) Knowing we'd spend a lot of time on deck today, Carol donned her floppy hat for protection. Some of the container freight is unloaded on one side of the canal and shipped by railroad to be loaded on another ship on the other side. (below right)
(above) As we got closer, it was easy to see the three locks that are on the Caribbean Sea side of the canal. (below) While lock gates are closed to raise or lower ships, bridges can swing out to allow vehicle traffic to cross the canal.
(above) John has put a raincoat on his camera lens as there was intermittent rain all day. In the photos below, you can see how it went from dry to rain in a very short period of time. (above center) The three Gatun Locks raise (or lower) ships 25 meters above sea level to Gatun Lake. (bottom row) Ships are met by a fleet of electric tugs that pull the vessels through the locks. Sailors on other ships were happy to check out the big Crystal Serenity and wave to all the gawking tourists.
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