Traversing the Panama Canal:
Gatun Lake to Panama City

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It takes several hours to make the passage across Gatun Lake and through the Gaillard Cut
to the first of the downward locks on the Pacific side: that is, the Pedro Miguel lock.

We've just left the Gatun locks, and the freighter that was alongside is has left just ahead of us and is following the channel into the main part of the lake.
But the traffic is already two-way, and a container ship is coming the other way and will anchor in a parking area near the Gatun locks to await the afternoon convoy down to the Caribbean.
The freighter and the container ship have "crossed", or passed each other. This is easy in the lake but there are places in the Cut where crossing is not permitted.
Leading marks in the Gaillard Cut, which cuts through the Continental Divide.

If there is two-way traffic, the pilot lines up his ship with the two boards that have a cross on them, and this will keep his ship at the side of the channel.

If it is one-way traffic, he can keep the ship in line with the boards with a single vertical line on them, and this will ensure the ship stays in the centre of the channel.

Going through the Pedro Miguel lock, which is a single-step (one-chamber) lock, down to Miraflores Lake. The Miraflores locks are ahead on the left.
Another container ship slides into the chamber alongside us.
The container ship is eased intro Pedro Miguel
Entering Miraflores lock, the upper chamber. Sightseers on duty, of course.
The pilot's view, on entering Miraflores.
Looking back from the lower chamber of Miraflores. The container ship is still in its upper chamber. The building on the right is the Observation Centre: the back side of the building appears on a lter page.
About to leave Miraflores, at Pacific sea level. The water is gushing out of the lower lock chamber.

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This page last updated on 16/05/2009 10:17:43.