Panama Canal, February 2016

           Miraflores Locks
Above: A ship has entered the far side, the rail tugs along side are to keep the ship in the center of the lock and not for towing.
Each ship uses its own power to move through the locks. In the third picture above a second ship has entered the near lock.
The locks are being filled to
raise the ships to the next
level.
Ship moving into the next
lock on the far side.
Tug boats are used to
guide ships into locks.
Ferry Boat headed to the Caribbean.
The country of Panama runs generally east and west, the canal runs from the Pacific on the south, northwest to the Caribbean. The
water in the canal flows from a man made lake, Gatun, so no pumps are used, only valves and gates to raise and lower the ships.
Water is up....   and the gates are opening.
Both ship are now in the second section of the locks along with the tug boats and the ferry boat.
...and the gates close...
The far ship has been raised and
ready to move on.
The far ship has moved on, and
the near ship has been raised.
Having been raised 60 feet in two steps, both ships move on to the next locks that will raise them another 40 feet to Lake Gatun.
After crossing the lake, they will enter another set of locks that will lower them to sea level again on the Caribbean side of the
country, approximately 50 miles away. It takes 8 to 10 hours to traverse the canal and saves 10 to 14 days sailing around South
America. An average of 38 ships a day use the canal that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
A roof top view of the mountains from our hotel, Casa Mariposa, in El Valle de Anton in central Panama,
above. Below are a few pictures from a hike we took into those mountains and National Park.
I have no idea what kind of flowers these are but there were quite a few different kinds scattered along the trail.
The view from a look out point. The small town of El Valle in an old volcanic caldera.
Ants carrying pieces of
leaves along the trail.
I believe these are orchids
in a palm tree.
A road trip to the southwest part of the country shows how dry it can be even in the tropics. This part of Panama is in a
rain shadow of the high mountains and receives little rain except during the wet season, June through December.
The deck in front of our hotel in
Santa Catalina on the Coast.
The view and a sunset from our hotel.
The sun is setting over Coiba Island in the Pacific Ocean. Coiba Island is about 194 square miles of national park and reserve
that is mostly untouched by humans. To the right above and left below are Capuchin monkeys and Black Buzzards below.
The beach at the ranger station on Coiba Island. Guests can stay only at the ranger station and few trails
lead into the jungle. Howler monkeys could be seen in the distance and heard most anytime of day.
We met a lady who rescues abandon or injured baby sloths in El Valle. This cute little fellow, a three toed sloth, was on death's door
and now is alive and well, but permanently imprinted and dependant on humans for its survival and cannot be returned to the wild.
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