Thursday, January 11, 2018

Panama Canal Cruise!

Happy New Year to all!  We are back in Orlando after a wonderful 7 week adventure beginning with a 2 week Panama Canal cruise on Celebrity Infinity.  If you have ever thought about cruising through the canal but have not yet gotten around to it... do it!  Wow, we all know it is a pretty cool thing but until you experience it up close you really have no idea just how amazing it is!

We left Paradise in storage in Orlando and drove down to Ft Lauderdale for our cruise which left on Thanksgiving Day, Nov 23rd.  We stopped on the 2nd day in Grand Cayman and arrived at the Panama Canal early in the morning on the 4th day.  This post takes us through the canal:

Celebrity Infinity anchored off the coast of Grand Cayman

a nice relaxing day wandering
the waterfront at Georgetown,
Grand Cayman
fishermen clean the morning catch for some lucky locals dinner! 
We arrived at the canal early on a foggy, rainy morning....but who cares!  So exciting!  The decks of our ship were full of photographers all vying for the best views.

We'll be heading in on the right side of the canal following the "Dallas Express".  Then we will go in to the first of 3 locks that will take us up 88 feet into Gatun Lake where we will have a 2 hour wait before proceeding across the lake and through the second set of locks that will deposit us into the Pacific Ocean at the end of the day.  Yep, a whole day.
waiting to enter the canal behind the "Dallas Express"

moving into the first lock as the Dallas Express moves into the 3rd lock.  Note the tanker coming towards us
in the next lane moving into the first lock on their side!  Just amazing!

the Alpine Madeleine moves in towards us and we feel like we can almost reach over and shake hands!
These ships are massive and we are so close!

looking behind we watch the next ship, a car hauler, being lined up to come in

we are now in the second lock looking back

a worker walks across the gated lock

now in 3rd lock still looking back

1 of 6 trains pulling us through the lock and helping keep us in place

as we exit into Gatun Lake, another tanker is being positioned to enter the locks on the other side

looking back as we exit into Gatun Lake

in Gatun Lake we move out of the channel to wait for a couple of hours
Across a short strip of land from the original Panama Canal which we are currently using is a much larger, wider single canal, more recently completed for accommodating the super freighters.  The huge freighter below is being positioned to go through that canal.
a huge super freighter, 17 containers wide, being positioned to go through the expansion canal

hanging around in Gatun Lake

while having our lunch we see another cruise ship passing us to go through the locks to the Caribbean 

the jungle around Gatun lake is the densest I have ever seen!

dredging operations are constantly working the channel

as we move through the Culebra Cut to the next set of locks, we pass a Panama prison

the CentennialBridge crosses the Culbra Cut

in sight of the Pedro Miguel Locks with Panama City in the background

we are about to enter the Pedro Miguel lock which takes us into Miraflores Lake

a row boat heads out to catch our lines to tie off to the little trains

from this lock we can see across a strip of land to the newer expansion locks where the Yang Ming is now passing through

double gates will open to let us into Miraflores Lake

lowered about 33 feet, we can now move into Miraflores Lake

next to us note the sail boat that was secured in the lock with a huge car ship!!! Can you
imagine how that must have felt from their prospective?!

kota mundi on the shore as we pass through Miraflores Lake!!!! How cool was that??!!

and deer and several wetlands birds

Mike looking for more animals from our balcony as we exit the Miraflores Locks

we were on the 7th floor

oh yeah, a crocodile swam along side as well!

now past the locks we are in the Pacific Ocean.....what a great day!!!!!
For those of us who are visual, here is a simple diagram of the canal locks:


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