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Panama Canal Transit Photo Essay

Photos by Tammy Moreland

On Wednesday May 31, 2018, the sail training ship Picton Castle transited the Panama Canal from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The crew awoke before dawn to await the arrival of the Panama Canal pilot, then heaved up the anchor shortly after sunrise.


Entering the first lock, one of the Gatun Locks


Lock doors close behind us, leaving behind the Caribbean Sea


After passing through the Gatun Locks, we entered Lake Gatun, a large man-made fresh water lake that feeds the Panama Canal


Line handlers came on board to handle the lines through the locks, then disembarked after the Gatun Locks – the next group of line handlers will board just before the next locks


Halfway through Lake Gatun, we switched pilots at this pilot station


Here come the new line handlers, boarding just before the Pedro Miguel Locks


El Puente Centenario, just before the Pedro Miguel Locks


This is one of the new post-Panamax ships designed to fit in the bigger Panama Canal locks, at 951 feet long and 151 feet wide – to put it in perspective, Picton Castle is 179 feet long, so this ship is almost as wide as Picton Castle is long


Waiting to follow Floriana into the next lock


Vai and John on the helm – in close quarters, we put our best helmsmen at the wheel


Lock gates closing behind us at the first of the Pedro Miguel Locks as we start our journey down from the level of Lake Gatun to the Pacific


Down 31 feet in the Pedro Miguel Locks, now on to the Miraflores Locks


Close to the lock wall in the Miraflores Locks where you can see the locomotive “donkeys” that pull the ships through the locks as they run on tracks alongside


More room on the other side of the lock


Lock wall as the water empties from the lock at Miraflores


And we’re through, leaving the Miraflores Locks behind us as we head into the Pacific!


Motoring away from the Miraflores Locks, bound toward Balboa Yacht Club where we’ll stay for a few days in Panama City


Lastly, the Bridge of the Americas, which officially connects the continents

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