adventures abroad, flotsam, travel

December 13: Panama Canal, Panama

What could be more apropos for the last day of the year than to be posting from my transit across the Panama Canal?

Crossing over.

One chapter closing. A new chapter beginning.

Sunrise on the Pacific

I’m up in time to watch the sun rise. By the time it’s all the way up, Panama City emerges from morning mist and begins to shimmer in the sunlight.

There are of course a lot of ships around us, all waiting their turn to enter the canal.

We pass under the Bridge of the Americas, with just 8 meters of clearance. The bridge is beautiful and has one set of legs in North America and the other set in South America.

We watch a large cargo ship enter ahead of us as we begin to line up for the narrow locks, then carefully squeeze in. Then the locks close behind us and we begin the transit.

Waiting for the last of the Cocoli locks on the Pacific side. Puente Centenario (Centennial Bridge) ahead.

Once we get through the locks, we are in a transit channel toward Gatun Lake. We’re now sharing the route of the original canal, as we wind through narrow waterways and across the continental divide. In some places there are mitigation steps being taken; the canal is wide to accommodate its depth because even today it is still prone to mudslide collapses.

Then we move into the broad expanse of Gatun Lake proper, and it’s just beautiful.

At the other end we wait while the Norwegian Bliss goes through and we await the arrival of the pilot who will assist with our entry into the Agua Clara Locks on the Atlantic side:

Then as the Bliss sails out under the Atlantic bridge, the Ruby Princess is moved into position. The process is not fast, but it is interesting.

At last we are free of the Canal, just in time to clean up after a hot day, catch a bite to eat, and of course, catch the sunset over the Atlantic.

Sunset over the Atlantic.
Was less orange and more pink, but just as vivid.

And in the present: Happy New Year, friends!

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