Posted by: Sailing Camelot | August 10, 2012

Panama Canal: the Miraflores Locks

I woke up this morning all excited, despite the heat and 98% humidity: I’m anticipating our scheduled visit at the Miraflores Lock.

 

Welcome to the Miraflores Lock!

 

The Visitor Center is always pretty crowded

 

In a couple of months or so we’ll be crossing the Canal and I’m looking forward to a better understanding of the mysterious process which will allow us to move the boat from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean thru the isthmus of Panama.

 

Entrance to the Canal on the Pacific side

 

The Lock

 

Once at the lock we position ourselves to watch a couple of huge cargo ships followed by a small sailboat in the process of entering the first of the three locks. Quite exciting!

 

Looks pretty narrow!

… But then it opens up

Keep going for the Atlantic side!

Next we visit the small museum that illustrates the history of the building of the Canal – a daunting task that took many lives and years to complete.

An initial attempt by the French to build a sea-level canal failed, but only after a great amount of excavation was carried out. This was of use to the United States, which completed the present Panama Canal in 1913 and officially opened it in 1914.

 

This is called “Mule”, it’s used to pull ships along the locks.

 

This is the Grandaddy of the Mule

People from all over the world came to Panama in droves to work on this enormous project and many stayed afterwards, accounting for the diverse population of the City. Chinese, Russians, Italians –just to name a few- still have a strong presence here.

Afterwards, our trusted taxi driver/tourist guide Miguel suggest a quick drive up to Cerro Ancon, a hill overlooking the city offering spectacular views.

 

Tom with our friend and driver Miguel, a true guardian angel and very knowledgeable guide..

 

What an amazing place: park-like settings, wildlife all around and breathtaking views of Panama City Skyline.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll shut up and just show you the sights…

This is what’s in front of me :

The Panamanian flag flying proud on top of Cerro Ancon. It’s visible from miles away.

 

Postcard view of Panama City

 

The Financial Heart of the City

 

It is quite expansive

 

Panama Vieja, the Old City that pirate Henry Morgan burned down to the ground.

 

And this is just behind me…

 

Beauty of another kind…

 

This guy was watching me take pictures, patiently awaiting his turn.

 

Satisfied after another truly amazing day in Panama City, we return to our “tiny” boat…

 

Quite a sight to come home to! I can barely see Camelot… Can you? Hint: orange kayak on the side…

 

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