Panama Canal

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  #1  
Old 09-19-09, 05:48 PM
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Panama Canal

OK, this is now the "post pictures of your vacation thread".

Today we are entering the Panama Canal from the Pacific side.

Outside the canal are many, many ships waiting to enter.





 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:01 PM
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If you have ever thought Panama was a 3rd world bananna republic check out the skyline in the background.





Here we are passing under the Bridge of the Americas. As you can see I'm on a cruise ship: Holland Americas Westerdam.

 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:11 PM
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Transiting the canal is very expensive so many ships unload and have their contrainers carried to the other coast by train. Since the canal and train are both operated by the Panama Canal Authority the PCA competes against itself.



 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:19 PM
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Since the canal is so narrow with heavy traffic the pilots play a pivotal role in getting ships safely through. While in the canal ships captains give command over to the PCA pilots.

Here is one of the docks where the pilots are based. These guys spend so much time on their boats that they dock better than most people can park their car.



 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:25 PM
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Ships pass through the canal on their own power. Tug boats guide them through the sharp turns and help the large ships stop.







Most large ships have one large engine. There is no transmission and the engine is tied directly to the propeller. They can go foreward but there is no reverse.
 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:38 PM
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As high tech as the canal is, they still use a very simple and old method to insure that capatins line their ships up on the proper lock. Follow the brightly colored arrow.



Inside the locks there is not much extra room so mules (locomotives) are used to help stop the ships and keep them in the center of the lock.



 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:43 PM
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Inside, the canal is very well marked to allow navigation at night and during the worst weather.



These markers allow captains to center themselves in the channel by linking up the markers. One set puts the ship in the center of the channel while the other offsets the ship to one side so two ships can pass. The light changes from red to green as you enter the proper alignment.



A series of small lighthouses also helps guide ships through.

 
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Old 09-19-09, 06:58 PM
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Ok, one more tugboat picture... Why, because I think tugs are so cool. Funny to see a modern tug from above. They are not pointy at the front. They work equally well when going ahead or astern.

 
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Old 09-20-09, 06:08 AM
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Pilot Dane - Great pictures that brought back good memories. I transited the canal a half dozen times when I was in the Navy. One thing I remember was as an American warship we had priority and got head of the line privileges.

I've been back a couple of times since. Once on a business trip and once on a fishing trip. The last time I was there was just a few weeks after we invaded. Very comfortable and welcoming in the modern part of Panama City. Not so in the "red zone".
 
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Old 09-20-09, 06:34 AM
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The last time I checked the official Panama Canal website had a picture of the New Jersey going through. 2ft wider than the widest beam they allow through the canal. Apparently with big guns you can go wherever you want.

How stupid of me. I started a Panama Canal thread and did not incude some lock pictures.



 
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