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Cruising Active Transport
We left San Francisco on September 7th 2008 and are off to see the world in our Tayana 37 Pilot House cutter.
Active Transport's Photos - Our VIP tour of the Miraflores Locks
Photos 1 to 15 of 30 | Cruising Active Transport (Main)
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Everyone who visits the Miraflores visitor center gets to see the ships passing through the canal this close.  This particular ship is a US Navy supply vessel that just paid $135,000 in toll alone to go through the canal.  In addition to the tolls they pay for two pilots, deck hands to manage the lines, and other things.  This photo shows one of the mules (locomotives) that help pull the ships through the canal and make sure they stay centered as the panamax ships only have two feet of clearance on each side.  The mules proved about 30% of the energy needed to pull the ships through.  The ship provides the rest with its engine.  8 mules are needed for a ship this size.
Here is another shot of the same ship as its bridge starts to pass in front of the lock control building.
This shot shows the close fit for the  ships transiting the canal and also shows the tracks for the mules.  The slot contains the 450 volt power source for the mules.  The first mules were built by General Electric in Schenectady NY but the present day models were built by Mitsubishi.
Tiny boats go through the canal too
Here is our tour group headed out across the closed locks to visit the control building.  Notice how the leaves of the gates do not close in a straight line.  They close with the joint pointed toward the high side
This is Shawn standing in front of the track for the Mules.  You can see the water level is lower in the lock section that is behind him.
Here is John in the same location.
Here is John standing on the lock gate.  You can see the level of the water on the upstream side of the gate behind him.  The water in the section in front of him is about 60 feet down
Hurrying across when the bell starts ringing
This is the original control table for the set of locks at Miraflores.  The man facing the camera is Paul, our guide.  Paul runs the tours for all the VIPs who visit the locks and has been doing it for 40 years.  This control table was retired in August of 2008 and has been replaced by a modern computer controlled system.
Another shot of Paul doing what we saw him doing throughout our tour.  He keeps in touch with all the other guides via walkietalkie so the tour groups dont overlap and so that we get back across the lock before the gates open again.
Diane Guy checks out the big displays that show the status of the locks and the images from the cameras that record everything that happens during a transit.  Jim Guy, our host, is in the foreground and, for some reason, is checking out the back of the modern control monitors.
This is our group with our hands on the controls of the locks.  Two years ago we could have done some damage but now this control system is only there for historical reasons.
This is what the control system looks like from the floor below.  Paul says he took Hilary Clinton in here on her tour and the secret service got concerned when she seemed to disapear.  This system depended on mechanical levers and servo motors to execute the commands of the staff.
There is an elaborate systems of levers that were designed to prevent catastrophic errors (like opening the valves before the gates closed.  This was in the day before a logical switch was a little black chip on a circuit board.
 
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