Before 7 AM we are able to spot the "Bridge of the Americas" (on the Pan American Highway) arching over the entrance to the Pacific side of the Canal. People are already beginning to fill the decks, looking for the best viewing spot as we approach the Miraflores Locks, the first of three sets of locks.
Next we cruised through five mile Miraflores Lake, and here we are exiting the Pedro Miguel Locks. A local guide/narrator and a special pilot from the Panama Canal Commission were with us during the entire seven hour transit.
This is the infamous eight mile Gaillard (or Culebra Cut), a V shaped channel through the Continental Divide, carved from granite and volcanic rock. Due to soil instability on both sides it was the biggest engineering obstacle in the Canal's construction and required the excavation of hundreds of millions of cubic yards of rock and dirt.
When it was first created. Gatun Lake (160 sq. mi) was the largest man made lake in the world. It is 85 feet above sea level and is restrained by the locks and Gatun Dam on the Atlantic Ocean side.
Just to our left a container ship was leaving the Gatun Locks. ahead of us. These triple locks, dropped us down in three 28 foot segments. This picture was taken from the "The Crows Nest Bar" on deck nine.