Traversing the Panama Canal March 4 Afternoon
Gatun Lake is the most extensive part of the canal crossing and the widest. We had lunch during this part of the trip which actually heads north/south - not east/west! From Lake Gatun, we went back down 85 feet to the Atlantic side. There are three chambers in the Gatun locks, taking almost 2 hours to negotiate. As we approached this final set of locks, we could see the “French Lagoon” - a remnant of the ill-fated canal begun by the French company in the late 1800’s before the United States took over and built the waterway we have today. As we emerged from Gatun locks, we observed a new bridge under construction. The bridge is a double-pylon, double-plane, concrete girder, cable-stayed bridge with a main span of 1,740 ft, and two side spans of 750 ft. We saw the left side from our vantage point. It is behind schedule by at least two years. Our ship headed out into the Atlantic, south to Cartagena, Columbia where we’ll spend Monday and Tuesday.