Caribbeen Cruise - Panama Canal

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Photographer: Mr. Wen, Shen (except the picture with notice)

Thecruise ship arrived the Panama Canal at 5:00 on 23 Jan. It entered the canal from Limon Bay in the Atlantic Ocean and Southbound toenter the Gatun Locks at 6.30 am, and southbound out of Gatun Locks at 8:15. It anchored Gaton lake at 9:00 AM.

According to Panamanian regulations tourists onshore must participate the tour organized by the Cruise, and back to Cruise which would start to return to Colon at 1:00 PM northbound Gaton Lake and locks. Tourists can also stay aboard.

We decided to attend the tour from Gatun lake to Capital city Panama historic area Casco Viejo and Miroflores locks oberservation Center.

Colón  is a Panamanian city and sea port beside the Caribbean Sea, lying near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. It is the capital of Panama's Colón Province and has traditionally been known as Panama's second city. Originally, it was located entirely on Manzanillo Island, surrounded by Limon Bay, Manzanillo Bay and the Folks River, but, since the disestablishment of the Panama Canal Zone, the city's limits have been redefined to include Fort Gulick, a former U.S. Army base, as well the former Canal Zone towns of Cristobal, Margarita and Coco Solo.

Waiting for Cruise passing Gatun Locks.

Alfred got up early too.

Cruise enter the Gatun Locks up 26 mters total 1.9 km

Anchored  Gatun lake.

Gatun Lake is a large artificial lake to the south of Colón, Panama. It forms a major part of the Panama Canal, carrying ships for 33 km (21 mi) of their transit across the Isthmus of Panama.

The lake was created between 1907 and 1913 by the building of the Gatun Dam across the Chagres River. At the time it was created, Gatun Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world. Gatun Dam was also the largest of its kind.

After we were on the bus, the tourist Guide introduced history of Panama Canal and the buildings all the way.

I watched a fild "one man, one idea, one project" on the cruise the day before the tour.

it helped to understand the stories told by the guide.

France began work on the canal in 1881, but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904 and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan.

Biomuseo is located on the Amador Causeway in Panama City, Panama. It was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. This is Gehry's first design for Latin America. The design was conceived in 1999 and the museum opened in October 2014.


The Biomuseo highlights Panama's natural and cultural history, emphasizing the role of humans in the XXI century. Its galleries tell the story of how the rise of the isthmus of Panama changed the world.

After one and half hours driving, we stopped at Amordanlake for 45 minutes.

The following pictures taken by Ingrid and a friendly stranger.


Board on the bus, along the lake.

Passing Capital of Panama New City

Arrived historical area Casco Viejo which is a part of Capital.

Panama city was founded on August 15, 1519 and it lasted one hundred and fifty-two years. In January 1671, the Governor Juan Perez de Guzman had it set on fire, before the attack and looting by the pirate Henry Morgan. In 1672, Antonio Fernández de Córdoba initiated the construction of a new city, which was then founded on January 21, 1673. This city was built on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea and a defensive system of walls.Today this place preserves the first institutions and buildings of the modern city of Panama. It is known as Casco Viejo (Spanish for Old Town).

Plaza de la Independencia

In 1671, the city of Panama Viejo was pillaged and burned by Henry Morgan and his band of pirates leaving only one of its many churches standing. After the survivors relocated to a rocky peninsula on the Bahía de Panama to start all over, not only did they construct a walled city but it included one of the largest churches in all of Central America. But as the city prospered, it had simply become too crowded and the population scattered northeast into what is now modern-day Panama City.

San Francisco Church

By the latter half of the 20th century, this historic quarter (known as Casco Viejo) had become something of the past. The approximately 800 buildings including several churches fell into serious disrepair. Fortunately in 1997, the World Heritage Site organization realized its true worth and added Casco Viejo to its select list. Since then, wonderful changes have been made especially due to a massive urban development project that has painstakingly restored many of the structures into their original brilliance.

Iglesia San Francisco de Asis – As seen in the photo at the top of this post, this is one of the smallest but most decorative churches in Casco Viejo. Built in the 17th century, it was devastated by a major fire twice: once in 1737 and again in 1756. Fortunately, it was beautiful restored in 1998 to what you see today. The church is generally closed during non-service hours but you can go to the parish office on Avenida B and ask to look inside. Generally, someone is usually willing to let you look around. Compared to its beautiful facade and bell tower, its interior is relatively uninteresting except for a wooden confessional that dates back to 1736. It is located next to the Plaza Bolívar.

Plaza of Bolivar is Republic of Panama - Ministry of Relationship exterior office building

Opposit of the building were residencial housing.

The nice house at the other end of Plaza Boliva

Strong contrast between old and new, repaired and demolition

Society of Jesus

At the entrance of the ancient city, a large number of people gathered to protest the demolition, without anger expression. Apolice officer looked at them.The tour guide said the demolition was a big social issueas government planed to make the ancient city a perfect tourist area and asked  local residents to move to Metro. Local people did not accpet it.  It appeared that there were demolition contradictions in developing countries all over the world.

New city was similar as New York and Shanghai.

Photos below taken by Ingrid at the historical area.

As it was a very hot day. I could not remember all the introduction by the Guide. We went into a hotel (left) hall to have some air condition. The right side were the housing waiting for demolition.

We boarded on the bus again.


To the southen side of Canal - Miraflores Locks

Up the 3rd floor there was a observation center

I stayed in the cinima for air condition. Then on the bus to Colon harbor.

Following pictures taken by me, Ingrid

Following photos by Mr.Wen Shen



All the passangers on board before 7:00 PM at Colon

The canal consists of artificial lakes, several improved and artificial channels, and three sets of locks. An additional artificial lake, Alajuela Lake (known during the American era as Madden Lake), acts as a reservoir for the canal. The layout of the canal as seen by a ship passing from the Atlantic to the Pacific is:

  • From the formal marking line of the Atlantic Entrance, one enters Limón Bay (Bahía Limón), a large natural harbor. The entrance runs 5½ mi (8.4 km). It provides a deepwater port (Cristóbal), with facilities like multimodal cargo exchange (to and from train) and the Colón Free Trade Zone (a free port).
  • A 2 mi (3.2 km) channel forms the approach to the locks from the Atlantic side.
  • The Gatun Locks, a three-stage flight of locks 1¼ mi (1.9 km) long, lifts ships to the Gatun Lake level, some 87 ft (27 m) above sea level.
  • Gatun Lake, an artificial lake formed by the building of the Gatun Dam, carries vessels 15 mi (24 km) across the isthmus. It is the summit canal stretch, fed by the Gatun River and emptied by basic lock operations.
  • From the lake, the Chagres River, a natural waterway enhanced by the damming of Gatun Lake, runs about 5¼ mi (8.5 km). Here the upper Chagres River feeds the high level canal stretch.
  • The Culebra Cut slices 7¾ mi (12.4 km) through the mountain ridge, crosses the continental divide and passes under the Centennial Bridge.
  • The single-stage Pedro Miguel Lock, which is ⅞ mi (1.4 km) long, is the first part of the descent with a lift of 31 ft (9.4 m).
  • The artificial Miraflores Lake 1⅛ mi (1.7 km) long, and 54 ft (16 m) above sea level.
  • The two-stage Miraflores Locks is 1⅛ mi (1.7 km) long, with a total descent of 54 ft (16 m) at mid-tide.
  • From the Miraflores Locks one reaches Balboa harbor, again with multimodal exchange provision (here the railway meets the shipping route again). Nearby is Panama City.
  • From this harbor an entrance/exit channel leads to the Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Panama), 8¼ mi (13.2 km) from the Miraflores Locks, passing under the Bridge of the Americas.

Thus, the total length of the canal is 77.1 km.

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