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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 - Panama Canal Transit
Photos 1 to 15 of 22 | Cruising Active Transport (Main)
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Here is Equinox, a Island Packet Yacht belonging to Hank and Betsy Martin, that was to be our ride through the Panama canal. Notice all the fenders and old tires (wrapped in plastic garbage bags) that were set in place to protect the sides of the boat in the locks.  There are piles of tires in the marinas on both side of the canal.  I wonder if anyone has ever determined how many times a given tire transits the canal before its retired.   In the background is the bridge of the Americas that connects the panamerican highway across the cannal.
Every yacht transiting the canal is required to have an adviser on board.  This is our adviser Roben.  He turned out to be a very interesting man who has a full time job on the canal
Here we are approaching the first lock on the Pacific side of the canal.  There are two locks in a row at what is called the Miraflores locks.
Lots of fenders were used between the pilot boat (a work boat) and the yacht.  The pilot boat was up against the concrete wall of the lock and just took the abrasion in stride on its giant rub rails.  If the yacht had been tied up to the wall the damage might have been considerable.
this was our first view of the control building for the Miraflores locks.  This building is classic Panama Canal (aka Army Corps of Engineers) architecture.
Here is a close up, taken after we had locked up.  The sign on the building is of historical interest.
This is one of the "mules" that help the big ships through the locks.  The mules are locomotives that cost around $2.5 million each (the canal authority has around 100 of them).  They run on tracks and are driven by a rack and pinion system where a gear in the mule engages a rack that is located between the tracks.  This gives the mules a lot of traction when they are pulling a ship through the locks.  The mules provide about 30% of the energy needed to move the ship.  The rest comes from the ship
Here is a ship that was built to the Panamax specification.  At 106 feet wide the ship will have 2 feet on each side of it as it locks up or down.  93% of the worlds fleet meets the Panamax specification. and the Canal Authority is taking steps to deal with the post Panamax requirements.
Here is an historical anachronism.  The arrow on the end of this building indicates which lock a ship should enter and the time until t will be able to do so.  In this position the arrow indicates the ship will enter the left lock in 15 minutes.  At night these arrows are illuminated with neon lights.  They date from the days when radio communication was not reliable enough for adequate communication between the lock masters and the pilots
Our adviser required us to slow down (to reduce our wake) as we passed this explosives barge tied to the shore.  As we inched past the guyin the truck on shore was heaving boxes of what we assumed were explosives, into the barge with far more violence than our wake would have caused.  The explosives are being used in the widening and straightening of the canal so that it can accommodate more traffic and bigger ships.
This is a hillside in the Galliard cut that will not be there much longer.  The dots on the hillside are where they have inserted explosive charges into the hillside.
As we crossed Lake Gagun (largest man made lake in the world) we had to deal with thunderstorms that are shown in purple on Hank
This photo is a little out of sequence as its from the Miraflores locks.  It shows the curved shape of the leaves that make up the gates of the locks.  The locks are double to provide some insurance against an accident that might damage one set of locks and allow Lake Gatun to drain into the ocean.  An accident like that would put the canal out of commission for months wihile the water levels in the lake were allowed to build up again.  The gates dont close flat.  See the album on our Miraflores tour for more detail about how the gates work.
This is the control building for the Gatun locks on the Atlantic side of the canal.  On this side all three locks are together whereas on the pacific side there are two locks at Miraflores and another single lock about a mile away at Pedro Miguel.
 
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