Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gatun Locks and Gatun Lake

We drove to the city of Colon on the Caribbean coast first thing this morning.  We visited the Gatun locks near Colon, and saw where they are putting in the new set of locks that they hope to have finished by 2014 – 100 years after the original opening. 

Gatun is a system of three locks.  Again it was interesting to watch the big Panamax’ed vessels – vessels that are so big there is only 2 ft of space on each side of the lock channel. The width of the canal limits the size of ships to less than 110 ft across, Panamax.  We actually witnessed more activity today than yesterday, and tomorrow we sail through the lock system. 

Gatun Locks - Caribbean entrance (Mules guiding the Ship)

Cal with a Mule - Electronic Engines that Guide, "Not Pull", the Ships Through The Canal
Gates Closing Behind a Ship

Ships Going Opposite Directions Through The Locks

Gates Opening For the Ship to Move Forward into the next Lock
Ship Moving Forward

Rachel and The Ship
This afternoon we took a boat trip on the Gatun Lake in the Panama rainforest area, looking for wildlife.  We saw the white faced monkey up close and personal.  The captain of our small boats feed the monkeys (7 or 8) grapes, so that they were actually jumping onto our boats. As we approached the captain would whistle for them and sure enough they were coming for food. Really it is awful to feed wild game like this, but we did see them close.      

White-faced Monkey

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