New Locks at Cocoli

The new third set of locks built to accommodate Post-Panamax ships was opened to the public on Sunday, May 17, 2015.  Thousands of people visited this site in Cocoli, just outside of Panama City. The public was able to witness first hand the immensity of the multi-billion dollar project and be a part of history in the making.  What a wonderful experience!

 

The People of the Canal

It has been calculated that over 30,000 people died during the construction of the Panama Canal.  The work force was plagued by disease, dangerous landslides, unsanitary living conditions, and unfair treatment due to discrimination. Today conditions are totally different and almost 10,000 people are employed in the operation of the Canal. Here are some of the people that make the transit through the Canal possible.

Panama Canal Railway

http://www.panarail.com/en/history/

The Panama Canal Railway is a railway line that runs parallel to the Panama Canal. The route stretches 47.6 miles  across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón on the Atlantic side to Balboa  on the Pacific side. It is operated by Panama Canal Railway Company.  The infrastructure of this railroad  was of vital importance for the construction of the Panama Canal. It has been in operation since 1855.

Cruisin’ the Canal

http://www.panamagreatadventures.com/

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal, I decided to take a partial transit tour of this amazing engineering feat.  I have lived here for 34 years and had never actually transited the Canal.  I boarded the boat at Gamboa at 11 a.m. and arrived at the Causeway around 8 p.m. It was an amazing journey.  It opened my eyes to just how difficult it must have been to create this waterway that connects the Atlantic to the Pacific, especially at the time it was built.  I would like to thank Panama Great Adventures for making this trip possible.  If you are coming to Panama, do not miss the chance to transit the Canal.  Maria Isabel Herrera is an excellent tour organizer. Check out her website at Panama Great Adventures.

Gray Ghost

This iconic gray lighthouse is familiar to everyone in the area of Gamboa.  It was built in 1914 and  is roughly 14 meters high (45 ft.) Although it is now inactive, it still greets southbound ships at the entrance of Gaillard Cut (Corte Culebra), a silent gray ghost that whispers of its once glorious past. Hopefully, the government will restore and protect it from vandalism.





Danger: Explosives!!!

  The Panama Canal  is expanding its capacity to allow for more than double the traffic it currently serves. To be completed in 2015, the project that includes a third set of locks which are larger and wider than the existing ones, will cost $5.6 billion. This extreme makeover requires the use of explosives.  In the photo below you can see how a tug pushes a small barge full of explosives that will be used in this mega project.

100 Years Old and Still Going Strong

The Panama Canal was inaugurated in 1914.  This important waterway has serviced the world for 100 years.  When you take into account that it was built 100 years ago, you realize what an amazing engineering feat it was for its day.

Mega Construction Site

The Gatun Locks in Colon are undergoing a major expansion to allow larger ship to transit through the Panama Canal. A new set of locks are being built next to the existing ones.  It is amazing to be able to observe this Mega Construction as it is being built. 

http://www.salini-impregilo.com/en/projects/in-progress/dams-hydroelectric-plants-hydraulic-works/extension-of-the-panama-canal-third-set-of-locks.html

 

Flag Day

November 4th is the day we celebrate the Panamanian Flag as the symbol of this lovely paradise. This beautiful flag flies majestically from Ancon Hill, declaring Panama’s independence and sovereignty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancon_Hill

Tri-Color

The entire month of November you will see the country dressed in the three colors that represent it: red, white and blue.  I especially enjoyed seeing the flag placed all over the area of Clayton, in the City of Knowledge.  This area was once part of the U.S. controlled Panama Canal Zone, an area which was restricted and most Panamanians could not enter.  This picture was taken at La Plaza food court in the City of Knowledge,   Viva Panama!!!