Thursday, December 1, 2016


WWDP--On Location in the Panama Canal

The first day of the month is traditionally Theme Day at City Daily Photo. This month's theme is "transitions." Since I have been traveling for the last 30 days, I submit this photo which is clearly NOT of Walla Walla, but does fit the theme quite nicely as the Panama Canal literally allows the transition of ships from one great ocean to the other across the Isthmus of Panama. It also is one of man's engineering marvels of the 20th century and even of the 21st century as it continues to expand to accommodate larger cargo vessels. 

This photo illustrates a number of transitions as three separate ships go through the locks heading to the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Holland America cruise ship I am on is in the foreground. I am on the topmost deck looking down on a mid-level deck open to passengers only during specific sightseeing days like this. Our ship is in the first set of three locks having entered at the level of Gatun Lake and now waiting to be lowered to the next level. The tug boat accompanying us prevents our ship from drifting against the locks themselves.

The ship to the left in a parallel channel is in the second set of locks where it is being lowered to a mid level. The green and white ship in front of us (in the same channel) has exited the second set of locks and is now entering the third set where it will be lowered to sea level. Before our ship can enter the second set, the locks ahead must be closed and then the chamber must be refilled with water to match the level of our ship.  Once in the locks, the water will again be released to lower our ship down to the second level. Finally we'll enter the third set of locks where we will be lowered to the Atlantic Ocean and proceed on our way.

The entire transition from the Pacific Ocean through the Miraflores Locks, through Culebra Cut, across Gatun Lake, through the Gatun Locks to the Atlantic Ocean took us nearly 12 hours and raised and lowered our ship 85 feet two times. 

For a look at the "transitions" other CDP bloggers have posted, follow this link: