|Jackie pilots a ship through the Panama Canal (not really, it's a simulation)|
|The main square in David with the Sagrada Familia church behind|
|An iguana wandering around David main square|
|Our Airbnb terrace overlooking the jungle, occupied by Garfunkel|
|A common Simon pose|
|There is a Toucan in this photo, taken from our terrace....|
|It was much clearer in reality, the phone camera is not very good and it was a long way away|
We've visited the Panama Canal visitor centre and locks at Miraflores which we found very interesting. We were there early enough to see a huge container ship and a cruise liner pass through which was well worth the effort. $800,000 it costs for a container ship to pass through the canal! They finished a third canal last year enabling bigger ships to now pass through which we couldn't really see, but I have just been making arrangements with a gentleman on our cruise, to go and see the locks and the new visitor centre the other end when we dock in Colon for the day.
Yesterday we went to Metropolitan Park and had an interesting walk, though didn't see much wildlife, I think we were too late. We then went on to Panama Viejo, the original Spanish City, which all the Inca gold from Cuzco left through on its way to Spain, which fell into disuse after being ransacked by Welsh pirate Henry Morgan.
|In this shot the lock gates have been closed behind both ships and you can see the water level difference. In the distance is the new wider, longer and deeper canal opened on 26th June 2016 and there is a cargo vessel on that as well|
|7 smaller craft transiting the canal|
- First visualised by the Spanish in 16th century
- Started by the French 1880 as a sea passage with no locks, but abandoned due to financial troubles and diseases
- Continued by the USA in a deal signed 15 days after Panama became independent from Columbia in 1903 (in a USA backed revolt so the USA could control the canal)
- Completed and opened by the USA on 15th August 1914 using three sets of locks either end to raise the water level by 26m. The project included the building of a dam to create what was then, the biggest man made lake in the world, Gatun Lake, which forms part of the canal and is the source of gravity fed water to the locks
- Managed by the USA until 31st December 1999 when Panama took full control following a treaty signed by USA President Jimmy Carter in 1977
- The original twin canals, shown in the photos above are 33.5m wide, 304.8m long and 12.8m deep. The maximum size of ship that can pass through is 32.3m wide, 294.1m long and a maximum draft (depth in water) of 12m.
- All ocean going ships around the world were built within these dimensions and harbours around the world designed for ships of this size.
- Its the only canal in the world where the master of a vessel grants control of his ship to a Panamanian pilot
- On 22nd October 2006 Panama held a referendum to approve expansion of the canal. It involved building a new canal alongside the existing and deepening the depth of Gatun Lake. 705,144 people voted for the expansion, 77.8% of those voting, with a turnout of 43.3%
- The work was completed and the new wider, longer and deeper canal opened for traffic on 26th June 2016
- The new canal is 55m wide, 427m long and 18.3m deep, allowing newer, bigger ships with a maximum size of 49m wide, 366m long and a maximum draft of 18m, called the Panamax
- As a result of this, shipyards and harbours around the world are having to be expanded and dredged deeper to allow these new bigger ships to dock, many of which, including Southampton and Liverpool in the UK have been modified or are in process.
- It is therefore interesting to note that 705,144 people living in Panama (approximately 0.00044% of the world population) have massively affected world ocean trade and it's facilities
|Miraflores locks after the ships had left|
|The swell caused as the cargo vessel starts its engines to exit the lock after the far lock gates were opened|
|This cheeky bird stood on our table while we had lunch at the Miraflores locks grabbing any food it could|
|Panama City from the Mirador in the Metropolitan Park. No real iconic buildings to identify the skyline as Panama, it could by many other cities around the world. There is a spiral shaped building (almost hidden in this view), but that's about it|
|The ruins of the cathederal in Panama Viejo, the original and oldest Spanish town on the American continent|
|This is what they think the town may have looked like from the same viewpoint prior to 1671|
|A few photos of Garfunkel, here he is in our bedroom keeping cool under the air conditioner|
|Asleep in the sink,|
|Propping his head up under a chair,|
|And having a drink from a running tap (Sooty please note!)|
|Final thought for the day|