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Canal: Interesting History, Background, etc.??!!

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From the Chicago Tribune in late December, they had this headline: "Panama's new canal: A plus for the Midwest, but also a triumph of human yearning" with these some of these interesting highlights: "In June, the banner could read: 'New and improved!'. Panama unveiled a $5 billion-plus new set of locks and channels to handle larger ships alongside the original canal. The new locks are longer — 1,400 feet — and wider — 180 feet — than the original 1,000-foot-long by 110-foot-wide canal, which opened more than a century ago. The new locks are also deeper, by 18 feet. Over the years, the canal — among the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, grew less wonderful. It couldn't accommodate the mammoth container vessels that move goods from food to clothing to cars between distant ports."

 

The writers cited this from the Los Angeles Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds, Sept. 18, 1994: "The Atlantic begins here, the Pacific over there, and between them lie 51 miles of deep ditch, aged machinery, steamy jungle, epic engineering, malarial history and murky politics. Every 45 minutes or so, another big boat floats past in the humidity, bearing oil or bananas or lumber or tourists through a 110-foot-wide passage of concrete and steel. This is the jewel that so many cruise-lovers are so eager to wear in their crowns."

 

Here are a few other info item that I view to be of value in preparing in early March for our first visit and trip through the Canal : "After a nine-year construction project, the canal can handle ships toting up to 14,000 containers, a vast improvement from the previous capacity of 5,000. The canal transformed Panama into a banking, trading and airline mecca and became one of the most lucrative and valuable tracts of real estate on Earth. That's why shipping still drives global commerce and global competition and is intense. Suez Canal officials finished work in 2015 on a new $4 billion parallel lane to accommodate two-way traffic on much of its 120 miles through Egypt. Chinese billionaire Wang Jing planned to build a canal three times as long and twice as deep in southern Nicaragua. But so far there are no visible signs of progress on this project."

 

Below are three graphics from the media profile in this Midwest newspaper. All of this background helps me better understand more on the Panama Canal, old and new, as to how it operated, its importance, etc.

 

Full Chicago Tribune story at:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-panama-canal-expansion-chicago-trade-midwest-edit-1229-jm-20161228-story.html

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean combo sailing over 26 days that started in Barbados, here is the link below to that live/blog. Lots of great visuals from this amazing Brazil river and these various Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, etc.) that we experienced. Check it out at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 46,918 views for these postings.

 

 

Here are three graphics from the Chicago Tribune website and related to their profile of the new Panama Canal.:

 

Screen%20Shot%202017-01-15%20at%203.04.17%20PM_zpsqfkys8eh.png

 

 

Screen%20Shot%202017-01-15%20at%203.03.04%20PM_zpsilhd560u.png

 

 

Screen%20Shot%202017-01-15%20at%203.02.28%20PM_zpskavezxst.png

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Hi Terry

 

We completed our second transit last November and loved it as much as the first. I think it is a great experience.

 

My recommendation is to read Path Between the Seas before you go. It helps to understand the hardships, politics, and engineering that went into the building of the canal.

 

There are also several documentaries about the canal.

 

I have had several people ask why we did it twice. I found the first time such a marvelous experience that I just couldn't absorb it all. Second time through I found myself learning details I had missed the first time.

 

And would I do it a third time? You bet! :D

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Hi Terry. We completed our second transit last November and loved it as much as the first. I think it is a great experience. My recommendation is to read Path Between the Seas before you go. It helps to understand the hardships, politics, and engineering that went into the building of the canal. I have had several people ask why we did it twice. I found the first time such a marvelous experience that I just couldn't absorb it all. Second time through I found myself learning details I had missed the first time. And would I do it a third time? You bet! :D

 

Yes!! Appreciate these excellent reminders on getting this "The Path Between the Seas" book by David McCullough from 1977. Wow!! Didn't realize that it was 40 years ago that this book was written. But for covering this unique history from more than a hundred years ago, it still works well.

 

Have log on to our local library's website and have a reserved placed for this historic book. Will be getting it shortly and reading it!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 167,241 views for this posting.

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Terry and anyone else that just might wish to get down in the dirt and gain a bit more insight of what went into the construction of the Canal. That of course is not to say that McCullough's book is the book of record which probably just about everyone recommends. Have a look at The Panama Canal, The Invisible Wonder by Ron Armstrong, ( http://theinvisiblewonder.com/ ) Armstrong traveled to West Point Military Academy to assemble the photos in his book from the Col. Goethals collection which the Colonel donated to the West Point Library.

 

While I have seen many pictures of the Canal's construction, much of what is presented in Armstrong's book were new to me. The collection really underscores what a task the construction of the Canal, a monumental task today let alone over a hundred years ago. It is available in digital format depending on your device or in soft cover.

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Terry and anyone else that just might wish to get down in the dirt and gain a bit more insight of what went into the construction of the Canal. That of course is not to say that McCullough's book is the book of record which probably just about everyone recommends. Have a look at The Panama Canal, The Invisible Wonder by Ron Armstrong, ( http://theinvisiblewonder.com/ ) Armstrong traveled to West Point Military Academy to assemble the photos in his book from the Col. Goethals collection which the Colonel donated to the West Point Library. While I have seen many pictures of the Canal's construction, much of what is presented in Armstrong's book were new to me. The collection really underscores what a task the construction of the Canal, a monumental task today let alone over a hundred years ago. It is available in digital format depending on your device or in soft cover.

 

Appreciate this great link and the added details provided from this site. Did check it out fully. Did log on and look at our large metro area library, but they did not have this book available. Was temped to spend $15 for getting it on-line, but not ready now to make that financial commitment. Super loved the pictures which are very interesting and telling as to the scale of this project, especially 100+ years ago.

 

Keep up the great sharing. Very helpful!!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 207,639 views.

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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Just picked up yesterday from the library and started reading the David McCullough book titled "Path Between the Seas". Fascinating!!! It's really a very special history in the context of the shrinking world at that time as railroads and canal were being built, etc. And, the health and weather conditions there were really challenging. Love to be reading more about what an accomplishment was this project and all related aspects.

 

Below are some graphics showing the cover of this book, a picture of its author and then three different visuals from that period of the construction and its early use. Great to be learning so much more about this period of time and what it took to make it all happen.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting and dramatic pictures can be seen from my latest live/blog at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 28,983 views for this reporting and visual sharing that includes Cape Town, all along the South Africa coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta area.

 

 

From the Bing website's visual library, here are some pictures of the book cover, the author and three samples of the canal construction and its early use. Looking forward in early March to seeing it all "in person", "up close and personal", etc.:

 

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DecTravel2016A%20025_zpsdemofrc1.jpg

 

 

DecTravel2016A%20026_zpsrkgbns9n.jpg

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Fascinating!!! It's really a very special history in the context of the shrinking world at that time as railroads and canal were being built, etc. And, the health and weather conditions there were really challenging.

 

Yes, it really impressed on me the huge undertaking this was. Made me appreciate it all that more

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Yes!! Appreciate these excellent reminders on getting this "The Path Between the Seas" book by David McCullough from 1977. Wow!! Didn't realize that it was 40 years ago that this book was written. But for covering this unique history from more than a hundred years ago, it still works well.

 

Have log on to our local library's website and have a reserved placed for this historic book. Will be getting it shortly and reading it!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 167,241 views for this posting.

 

Terry, I hope that you are a fast reader. That is one long, and for me, overly wordy book. I am glad that I did get it even though I didn't make it all the way through.

 

I also really enjoyed Dr. Lew Deitch's book Cruising through the Panama Canal. He walks you through what you will see as you go through the Canal. He has sections for both directions so that you don't have to switch everything up and try to read backwards. I think this one is only available on Amazon, but the Kindle version was not expensive.

 

Finally, I purchased Anne Vipond's Panama Canal by Cruise Ship. Although there is a fair amount of "fluff", I like the foldout map and info on some of the ports of call.

 

I leave tomorrow for LA. We can chat when I get back if you want.

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I'm on the NCL Jewel 16-night Panama Canal cruise right now, Miami to LA. Our transit of the Canal last week was absolutely fantastic, and I'll write more when we get home. But I just want to say here that McCullough's The Path Between the Seas is a must-read for this. Really makes you appreciate just how incredible an undertaking this was and the magnitude of the accomplishment.

 

I also skimmed Deitch's book and did a great deal of reading right here on CC, in this forum. Bill and other Canal experts really helped make our transit a great experience. Thanks!!

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Yes, it really impressed on me the huge undertaking this was. Made me appreciate it all that more

 

Turtles06: I'm on the NCL Jewel 16-night Panama Canal cruise right now' date=' Miami to LA. Our transit of the Canal last week was absolutely fantastic, and I'll write more when we get home. But I just want to say here that McCullough's The [b']Path Between the Seas is a must-read[/b] for this. Really makes you appreciate just how incredible an undertaking this was and the magnitude of the accomplishment. I also skimmed Deitch's book and did a great deal of reading right here on CC, in this forum. Bill and other Canal experts really helped make our transit a great experience. Thanks!!

 

alwalaska: Terry' date=' I [b']hope that you are a fast reader[/b]. That is one long, and for me, overly wordy book. I am glad that I did get it even though I didn't make it all the way through. I also really enjoyed Dr. Lew Deitch's book Cruising through the Panama Canal. He walks you through what you will see as you go through the Canal. He has sections for both directions so that you don't have to switch everything up and try to read backwards. I think this one is only available on Amazon, but the Kindle version was not expensive. Finally, I purchased Anne Vipond's Panama Canal by Cruise Ship. Although there is a fair amount of "fluff", I like the foldout map and info on some of the ports of call. I leave tomorrow for LA. We can chat when I get back if you want.

 

Appreciate these wonderful follow-ups and the added information. Am loving the reading of David McCullough's fascinating book. Am over half-way and the "Revolution" is about to start in Panama. Should be completed with this "Paths" book by the weekend and my wife is waiting to read it. Great added options have been suggested. Keep this excellent sharing coming. Love to hear more and added suggestions.

 

Great to hear from Ann in Dublin. Good luck with your flights, travels, etc. Love to hear more. We depart Columbus Feb. 27 and will be closely following my e-mails and these CC boards. Don't be shy in updating your travel experiences.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved Dubrovnik!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at this link. Have had over 34,579 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and dropped by.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

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Just finished last night the reading of the 617 pages of David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas". WOW! The details for what was involved a hundred years back is pretty amazing. And to think that most of the poured concrete for these huge locks and most of the steel hardware is still performing today is very amazing. Great engineering to build this canal, especially under the challenging topographic and tropical conditions that existed there in that jungle situation.

 

Below are three additional graphics that help in understanding this project, its terrain, the impact on world shipping, etc. Another key factor was the massive logistics to get all of the materials there for the construction, the housing and feeding of the work crews, etc., etc. There were no handy Home Depot or Lowe's in the neighborhood to pick up extra tools, bags of concrete, wood timbers, etc. It all had to be shipped in by boat, mostly from the port of New York City.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 169,571 views for this posting.

 

 

From the Bing website, here are three added graphics that might be of interest. First is a map from before the constructed started that reflects that the large lake seen there now was not originally there. It had to be built as a way to control the wild river there and provide a fresh water supply to operate these large locks. And the lake created was the largest ever built in the world at that time. Second is a cut-away view of the canal and its overall lay-out. See how big is the resulting Gatum Lake? Third shows, quickly, how the mileages distance were saved by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.:

 

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DecTravel2016A%20027_zpsfvdjgkvh.jpg

 

 

DecTravel2016A%20029_zpstticcajg.jpg

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Just finished last night the reading of the 617 pages of David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas". WOW! The details for what was involved a hundred years back is pretty amazing. And to think that most of the poured concrete for these huge locks and most of the steel hardware is still performing today is very amazing. Great engineering to build this canal, especially under the challenging topographic and tropical conditions that existed there in that jungle situation.

 

Below are three additional graphics that help in understanding this project, its terrain, the impact on world shipping, etc. Another key factor was the massive logistics to get all of the materials there for the construction, the housing and feeding of the work crews, etc., etc. There were no handy Home Depot or Lowe's in the neighborhood to pick up extra tools, bags of concrete, wood timbers, etc. It all had to be shipped in by boat, mostly from the port of New York City.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

 

 

Glad you got to finish the book. I found having read it really enhanced my appreciation (and awe) of the Canal.

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Glad you got to finish the book. I found having read it really enhanced my appreciation (and awe) of the Canal.

 

YES!! It was also very interesting to see the "politics" that was very tight and involved as to how the decisions got made as to whether it would be at a location in Nicaragua versus Colombia/Panama. And, then the big question/challenge for building a sea-level canal as the French planned . . . versus . . . the ultimate and more realistic plan that involved locks and a large lake to control that wild river, provide fresh water to operate the large lock chambers, etc.

 

Also, learned that a large number of the steam shovels and drilling equipment used on this project were made in Marion, Ohio, just 45 minutes north of of where we live in Columbus. And, that some very special and long-lasting special steel hardware items were crafted in Wheeling, W. Vir., just two hours to the east on Interstate 70 from where we live. The details on the electric motors by General Electric were also an added unique aspects as to how this complex project came together and worked.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved Dubrovnik!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at this link. Have had over 34,799 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and dropped by.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

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YES!! It was also very interesting to see the "politics" that was very tight and involved as to how the decisions got made as to whether it would be at a location in Nicaragua versus Colombia/Panama. And, then the big question/challenge for building a sea-level canal as the French planned . . . versus . . . the ultimate and more realistic plan that involved locks and a large lake to control that wild river, provide fresh water to operate the large lock chambers, etc.

 

Also, learned that a large number of the steam shovels and drilling equipment used on this project were made in Marion, Ohio, just 45 minutes north of of where we live in Columbus. And, that some very special and long-lasting special steel hardware items were crafted in Wheeling, W. Vir., just two hours to the east on Interstate 70 from where we live. The details on the electric motors by General Electric were also an added unique aspects as to how this complex project came together and worked.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Super loved Dubrovnik!!! See more details and lots of great visual samples/examples at this link. Have had over 34,799 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and dropped by.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

 

I thought the idea to dam the river and create Gatun Lake absolutely inspirational! If the engineer hadn't come up with that idea (I'm trying to remember ... Stevens?) I don't think they would have succeeded in building the canal.

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quote=diane.in.ny;52245373]I thought the idea to dam the river and create Gatun Lake absolutely inspirational! If the engineer hadn't come up with that idea (I'm trying to remember ... Stevens?) I don't think they would have succeeded in building the canal.

 

When the US first started construction of the Canal a decision as to a sea level or lock canal had not been reached. At some point after Stevens assumed the chief engineer position he returned to Washington to argue for a lock canal. I guess you could say it was his idea.

 

The prospect of a lock canal at Panama had been discussed before, although it did not receive a serious look. Godin de Lépinay at the Interoceanic Canal Congress in Paris presented a plan that would damming the Chagres to form an artificial lake along with locks at each end. His plan would have created a lake that was 80' above sea level which is only 5' lower than the present Gatun Lake. His plan never received any serious discussion as de Lesseps would not hear of it.

 

By the late 1880s the French began work on a lock canal. While he was still opposed to a lock canal, that idea was "sold" to de Lesseps as a way to work towards a sea level canal.

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Could not find this earlier...

 

Below is the excavation of the first lock on the Atlantic side during the French effort. This area is about 8 miles south of the present day Gatun/Agua Clara Locks.

 

In the second illustration, Gatun Locks is on the left side and the excavation for the new locks is in the area of "Bohio Reach" is on the right side of the illustration.

 

31975278464_8a75518f12_b.jpg

 

31975429764_94e3e6c3dd_c.jpg

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I thought the idea to dam the river and create Gatun Lake absolutely inspirational! If the engineer hadn't come up with that idea (I'm trying to remember ... Stevens?) I don't think they would have succeeded in building the canal.

 

BillB48: When the US first started construction of the Canal a decision as to a sea level or lock canal had not been reached. At some point after Stevens assumed the chief engineer position he returned to Washington to argue for a lock canal. I guess you could say it was his idea. The prospect of a lock canal at Panama had been discussed before' date=' although it did not receive a serious look. [b']Godin de Lépinay[/b] at the Interoceanic Canal Congress in Paris presented a plan that would damming the Chagres to form an artificial lake along with locks at each end. His plan would have created a lake that was 80' above sea level which is only 5' lower than the present Gatun Lake. His plan never received any serious discussion as de Lesseps would not hear of it.

 

Appreciate this great question from Diane on the engineering choices for the "lake and locks" design approach used for the actual construction. Agree with the wise and very knowledgeable BillB48 as to the original credit going to the earlier Frenchman Godin de Lépinay for this eventual, smarter concept. Clearly the Suez Canal engineer from France, Ferdinand de Lesseps, was totally driven and only considering a sea-level canal for use in what would become Panama. Stevens was super key in getting things built and pushing strong on President Teddy Roosevelt to avoid trying a sea-level design. Stevens' major focus was on preparing the area, doing logistics, getting the railroad in better order, etc. Stevens knew that building the world's largest lake dam at that time, plus these very large locks were not exactly within his field of engineering expertise, etc. That was part of the reason that Stevens departed the project somewhat earlier than expected.

 

As I finished reading David McCullough's "Paths Between the Seas", there is no doubt that such a sea-level canal would have been a "Mission Impossible" challenge for building and operating. Glad that Roosevelt showed leadership in avoiding that option.

 

Great added discussions!! This really helps get us even more excited about our Feb. 28 sailing from Ft. Lauderdale on the Island Princess ship.

 

Below are three pictures of the Island Princess going through the Panama Canal in January. These visuals were taken by a passenger, Turtles06, on a NCL ship that was traveling right behind "our" ship.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 208,813 views.

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

 

Here are three pictures from Turtles06 as they were on a NCL ship in following the Island Princess as it did its passage in January through the locks of the Panama Canal.:

 

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DecTravel2016A%20041_zpsmczjpl3f.jpg

 

 

DecTravel2016A%20039_zpsdmi4s0o1.jpg

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Terry, Yes, Stevens left early. He was a railroad engineer and I seem to remember seeing a documentary that said he spent two years cleaning up the area, building better housing, and as you said, getting the railroad working.

 

And before I forget, I want to tell you to keep watching as the ship comes out of the canal, past Panama City, even if it dark. Not going to get specific but the city was nothing like I expected.

 

We've done the canal twice. First time we exited during daylight. Second time we were delayed because a ship in front of us had engine trouble and they had to get tugs to push her out of the way. So we didn't finish the canal until after dark and the lights were on in the city.

 

And both times we told our MDR tablemates not to wait for us for dinner (we do traditional dining) because we didn't want to miss a minute of the canal experience. It turned out to be the right move both times because we would have missed leaving the canal.

 

I am so excited just writing about it. I think I'm going to have to put it on the bucket list for a third time :D

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Terry, Yes, Stevens left early. He was a railroad engineer and I seem to remember seeing a documentary that said he spent two years cleaning up the area, building better housing, and as you said, getting the railroad working.

 

And before I forget, I want to tell you to keep watching as the ship comes out of the canal, past Panama City, even if it dark. Not going to get specific but the city was nothing like I expected.

 

We've done the canal twice. First time we exited during daylight. Second time we were delayed because a ship in front of us had engine trouble and they had to get tugs to push her out of the way. So we didn't finish the canal until after dark and the lights were on in the city.

 

And both times we told our MDR tablemates not to wait for us for dinner (we do traditional dining) because we didn't want to miss a minute of the canal experience. It turned out to be the right move both times because we would have missed leaving the canal.

 

I am so excited just writing about it. I think I'm going to have to put it on the bucket list for a third time :D

 

Was this the Princess transit you were on? Looks like the date stamp is Feb 24 2015 at 1950 hrs. Always curious as to why she was at the locks so late. Wonder if Princess received any consideration in the daylight transit guarantee fee? Probably not... pretty sure all the mice type in the contract made sure no refunds or reductions were in order:D.

 

o02k51.jpg

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Was this the Princess transit you were on? Looks like the date stamp is Feb 24 2015 at 1950 hrs. Always curious as to why she was at the locks so late. Wonder if Princess received any consideration in the daylight transit guarantee fee? Probably not... pretty sure all the mice type in the contract made sure no refunds or reductions were in order:D.

 

 

No, we sailed last November. We were well out of the locks by dark but didn't sail past Panama City until after sunset.

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Thanks. I guess the late showing at Miraflores will remain a Canal puzzle. I'm sure it was nothing more complicated than some sort of failure of equipment on a ship or the Canal to cause the schedule to unravel.

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On our recent (Jan. 24, 2017) transit of the Canal on the NCL Jewel, we did not reach the Bridge of the Americas until well past 7pm, by which time of course it was dark out. I'm not sure whether this was a typical time to reach the Bridge. I do think we had a fairly slow sail though Gatun Lake and the Culebra Cut as we followed a big neo-Panamax ship all day. (I'm not complaining. It was awesome. Watching the ships coming in the other direction was like being in several episodes of Mighty Ships.)

 

Bridge%20of%20the%20Americas%201024x615_zpsugjvddaj.jpg

 

(photo by turtles06)

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No, we sailed last November. We were well out of the locks by dark but didn't sail past Panama City until after sunset.

 

Appreciate these added posts by Diane, BillB, etc. Keep it coming!! Love the great sharing. And, ability to learn more about the Panama Canal.

 

Earlier this week, I sent an e-mail to the great-grandson of William Howard Taft. The older Taft had been Teddy Roosevelt's Secretary of War supervising the construction during the 1904-08 period among his many duties during the period. Then, there was Taft's role as the U.S. President during the 1909 to 1913 period as the canal construction was being finalized. I wrote to Bob Taft, a former Ohio Governor (1999-2007), and he gave me some very good background on his great-grandfather. I had mentioned about having just read David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas" book.

 

The younger Taft replied: "I am envious of your trip - it sounds fascinating. The Path between the Seas was one of the best books I have read - an amazing story of the spectacular French failure and the by far the hardest ultimate U.S. success - probably the worst terrain on earth to build a canal through. I don't have any unique stories of WHT and the Canal - I have read his biographies and knew he was intimately involved. There is a great photo of him dressed fit to kill on a railroad car inspecting the progress (attached). He had some interesting assignments under TR, including serving as interim governor general of Cuba in the wake of an uprising there."

 

Below is the visual that William Howard Taft's great-grandson just sent today to me. I have some other visuals of Taft and the Canal, etc., during this period that I will be posting later.

 

On William Howard Taft, he had been the U.S. Solicitor General (when he got first got to know Teddy Roosevelt) and then a Judge on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the late 1800's. Taft was summoned to Washington, DC, by a telegram from then President William McKinley in January 1900 to set up a civilian government in the Philippine Islands at the end of the Spanish-American War. In September, 1901, McKinley (from Ohio and a former Governor in our state) was shot in Buffalo, Teddy Roosevelt became President and the rest, as they say, became history including the Panama Canal project. After Taft lost his re-election effort for President (when Teddy came back as a spoiler, third-party candidate), this Taft later became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, serving 1921 to 1930.

 

During Taft four years as secretary of war (1904-1908), Taft became Roosevelt's chief agent and troubleshooter in foreign affairs. Besides supervising the Panama Canal construction, Taft made several voyages around the world for the President. Taft traveled more than any other cabinet minister, with over 255 days of his four years spent abroad on special missions. As I re-call reading, Taft during this period made five different trips to inspect the Panama project progress.

 

Lots of interesting history and background. In February 1907, when Chief Engineer John Stevens resigned, Taft recommended an army engineer, George W. Goethals, to take control. Under Goethals, the project moved ahead smoothly to completion. One of William Howard Taft's quote about the canal was: "My impression about the Panama Canal is that the great revolution it is going to introduce in the trade of the world is in the trade between the east and the west coast of the United States."

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean combo sailing over 26 days that started in Barbados, here is the link below to that live/blog. Lots of great visuals from this amazing Brazil river and these various Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, etc.) that we experienced. Check it out at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 47,725 views for these postings.

 

 

From his great-grandson, here is a visual that I received this morning regarding William Howard Taft being in the Panama Canal area. Notice the "fancy hats" and dress by those on this rail inspection trip?:

 

DecTravel2016A%20031_zpscrpeorvi.jpg

Edited by TLCOhio

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On our recent (Jan. 24, 2017) transit of the Canal on the NCL Jewel, we did not reach the Bridge of the Americas until well past 7pm, by which time of course it was dark out. I'm not sure whether this was a typical time to reach the Bridge. I do think we had a fairly slow sail though Gatun Lake and the Culebra Cut as we followed a big neo-Panamax ship all day. (I'm not complaining. It was awesome. Watching the ships coming in the other direction was like being in several episodes of Mighty Ships.)

 

 

(photo by turtles06)

 

I went back and looked at what time you were in Gatun, the time on the picture was 9:18AM and when you started to exit Miraflores it was 6:24PM. All in all the total times are not really too unusual. I think what had the biggest impact on arriving at the Bridge of Americas after dark was because your transit started on the later side of "normal." The daylight guarantee the cruise ships pay extra for means at the first lock after sunrise and out of the last lock by sunset.

 

Ships can travel about 12 knots per hour across Gatun Lake and while there is technically unrestricted two way across the Lake they are mindful on where a Panamax and a neo-Panamax meet, particularly when the larger ship has hazardous cargo. So a slower crossing of the Lake could also have been a factor in the times.

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quote=TLCOhio;52263128] Appreciate these added posts by Diane, BillB, etc. Keep it coming!! Love the great sharing. And, ability to learn more about the Panama Canal.

 

Earlier this week, I sent an e-mail to the great-grandson of William Howard Taft. The older Taft had been Teddy Roosevelt's Secretary of War supervising the construction during the 1904-08 period among his many duties during the period.....

 

DecTravel2016A%20031_zpscrpeorvi.jpg

 

Very interesting info Terry. You just have to admit those folks really knew how to dress for an inspection trip. I just bet they weren't limited to one carry on!;):D

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Both times we sailed through the canal, we were lined up at the first locks before sunrise and heading towards them shortly after sunrise.

 

First time through was in total daylight.

 

Second time, as I mentioned, we went under the bridge after dark.

 

Terry, Thanks for the info on Taft. Very interesting.

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Very interesting info Terry. You just have to admit those folks really knew how to dress for an inspection trip. I just bet they weren't limited to one carry on!

 

diane.in.ny: Both times we sailed through the canal' date=' we were lined up at the first locks before sunrise and heading towards them shortly after sunrise. First time through was in total daylight. Second time, as I mentioned, we went under the bridge after dark. Terry, [b']Thanks for the info on Taft. Very interesting[/b].

 

Appreciate these excellent follow-ups and details from Diane and BillB. Fun, cute comment on how travel things were very, very different in those days without having any major baggage limits. In those days, it was about a one week sailing to reach the Panama area. No airplane passenger jets in those days!!

 

Great questions/details as to how people were dressed down there in these hot tropics during the construction visits. Below are some added visuals that I have found from the Bing website that give some ideas to the vast "scale" with this amazing project done more than one hundred years ago. These were really big, BIG locks!!

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Lots of interesting and dramatic pictures can be seen from my latest live/blog at:

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

Now at 29,659 views for this reporting and visual sharing that includes Cape Town, all along the South Africa coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta area.

 

 

Here is more from a photo search on the Bing website in connection with William Howard Taft and his visits to the Panama Canal construction areas. First, includes a November 1910 picture with then President William Howard Taft (left) sitting with Oliver Wendell Holmes (seated with umbrella) and Colonel George Geothals (standing right) during a tour of the Gatun Locks under construction. At the time, Holmes was an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court The third picture is of Taft with Geothals, the West Point grad and engineering expert/genius who got the job completed and later was the Governor of the Canal Zone. Want to have "dress code" debate for what was expected or needed to be traveling in those "good old days"?:

 

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Here are some added construction views from the Bing website as to how the "scale" looked in pouring the concrete and building these massive Panama Canal locks. First, from 1913, here are the chamber cranes in Pedro Miguel Locks. Second shows these officials touring the lock construction site at ground level. Third, from November 1912, here is a view of the center wall, looking north of the upper locks for the Gatun Locks. This Gatun Locks series of three locks raised the water level 85 feet connecting Limon Bay to the man-made Gatun Lake.:

 

DecTravel2016A%20033_zpsjjjhjpim.jpg

 

 

DecTravel2016A%20035_zpsxyv5lafg.jpg

 

 

DecTravel2016A%20036_zpsdog3moiw.jpg

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Before I forget. You're on the Island, right?

 

I am not much of a show goer but the Island has a show call something Bayou.

 

It is excellent!! I highly recommend it.

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Before I forget. You're on the Island, right? I am not much of a show goer but the Island has a show call something Bayou. It is excellent!! I highly recommend it.

 

marysb: Great photos' date=' Terry.[/b'] I found this info about the slides in the Calebra Cut. The geology of the area is very interesting. There are also some very impressive photos on this s link.

http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/Panama-...al-minimum.pdf

Only a few weeks left before we go....woo hoo. Mary

 

Appreciate these two nice follow-ups. Yes, Diane, we are on the Island Princess and we had heard great things about the Bayou show on this ship. Yes, definitely planning to catch this program. Very good link from Mary. I did not realize that the land-slide problems had continued so significantly for such a long period after the original opening of the canal in 1914. Great pictures and engineering details on that link.

 

Keep up the great sharing, questions, comments, etc. Don't be shy! Please keep it coming. It's getting close to our Feb. 28 sail-away date.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 171,264 views for this posting.

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Here you go Terry, a few shots from Gaillard Cut (officially now Culebra Cut) to illustrate how things have changed over the 100 years. Keep in mind that all of these pics from the Cut are taken with a south to north view which is opposite from the direction you will be transiting.

 

The first picture is opening day with the SS Ancon traveling south to towards Pedro Miguel Locks, Contractor's Hill is on the left side of the picture with Gold Hill on the right. Note the width of the channel in the background. Channel width in the Cut at this time is only 300'.

 

2m3gphs.jpg

 

A picture of Gold Hill a couple of years ago.

 

6jilqo.jpg

 

A recent view of the Cut from the top of Gold Hill. It is probably hard to compare the widths of the channel, but it is now a minimum 715' wide. They have been nibbling away at the Cut over the past 100 years as well as reducing the summits of the hills that flanked the Cut. Slides have been a problem throughout the years in the Cut, however the area that have caused the biggest problems are around Gold and Contractor's Hills. These were the Cucaracha and Culebra slides, the Culebra slide of 1915 blocked the Canal for months and the Cucaracha partially blocked the Cut several times through the years and as late as 1986. The slide area of Culebra is on the north side of Gold Hill while Cucaracha is on the south side of Gold Hill.

 

a0gf1y.jpg

 

You will be transiting south, so just before you reach the Centennial Bridge Gold Hill will be on your left and then shortly after that will be Contractor's Hill on the right. Contractor's Hill used to be almost as tall as Gold Hill, but its summit has been greatly reduced to stabilize the area. Gold Hill's summit is also lower than it was originally.

 

You know as you sail by these areas of the Canal, there really is not a lot that stands out visually. By that I mean it is not Mt. Rushmore or the Grand Tetons, the significance lies in knowing what went on there to bring things to where there are now. Hope it all adds to your enjoyment.

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If you get a day in Panama City, I highly recommend visiting the Canal Museum in Casco Viejo and if you aren't fluent in Spanish, pay the extra $4 to rent the headsets with the English audio tour. It was definitely worth the time and the money spent.

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You will be transiting south, so just before you reach the Centennial Bridge Gold Hill will be on your left and then shortly after that will be Contractor's Hill on the right. Contractor's Hill used to be almost as tall as Gold Hill, but its summit has been greatly reduced to stabilize the area. Gold Hill's summit is also lower than it was originally.You know as you sail by these areas of the Canal, there really is not a lot that stands out visually. By that I mean it is not Mt. Rushmore or the Grand Tetons, the significance lies in knowing what went on there to bring things to where there are now. Hope it all adds to your enjoyment.
For added reference, here is the view from our southbound transit just last month of Gold Hill on the left and Contractor's HIll on the right, with Centennial Bridge in the background. I totally agree, Bill, that just thinking about what it took to cut through the Continental Divide and create a canal that remains open to traffic to this day is amazing.

 

Continental%20Divide%201024x589_zps4p6aqlbb.jpg

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Great shot, perfect example of a picture better than a lot of key strokes!

 

Yes, Yes!! Appreciate these great follow-ups and pictures, etc. Keep it coming!! Things are getting very, very close!!

 

Today "our" Island Princess was visiting the Panama Canal. But, it was only a "partial transit" visit, sailing in on the Gulf of Mexico side earlier this morning and then back out just a few minutes ago.

 

How do I know? I was checking the ship's BridgeCam. Need proof? See my computer screen shots below. These computer images are not of the best quality, but you get the idea for what we will see in being there in person on Sunday, March 5, 6 am-4:30 pm.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Wonderful Kotor and nearby Montenegro? Check these postings. Have had over 34,425 views on this posting and appreciate those who have tuned-in and commented.:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439193

 

From the Island Princess BridgeCam, here are some images as the ship approaches and go through the first series of locks. Then at the bottom is an image as this ship is exiting back out of the canal locks to the Gulf of Mexico and to be heading north towards Costa Rica. Then, they must stay on schedule in order to be back in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 am.:

 

DecTravel2016A%20036_zpszuuhtl1v.jpg

 

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From the Houston Chronicle and Associated Press/AP earlier this month, they have this headline: "Seven months in, expanded Panama Canal still faces challenges" with this sub-headline: "Ships scraping the walls and prematurely wearing out bumpers for protecting locks".

 

Here are some of the other interesting story highlights: "The ship prepared for the final leg of its journey through the newly expanded Panama Canal when things hit a snag: The last of the massive steel lock doors failed to open all the way. The pilots controlling the ship and the captains of the tugboats tethered to huge vessel opted to continue guiding it through the narrowed passageway, passing nerve-rackingly close to the side of the locks to avoid running into the stuck door. A little over seven months after authorities launched a much-ballyhooed $5.25 billion canal expansion to accommodate many of the world's largest cargo vessels, they have yet to fully work out a significant kink: With little margin for error, ships are still scraping the walls and prematurely wearing out defenses designed to protect both the vessels and the locks themselves."

 

As I understand if we are high enough up on a cruise ship going through the original canal, it will be possible to see some parts of these new Panama Canal locks, etc. Another interesting angle to see and learn more regarding this amazing wonder of the engineering and economic world. There are also a number of news stories out there on the massive port expansions happening along the eastern coast of the United States, including for Philadelphia, the Carolinas, etc. Lots of goods from China, Asia and Japan to be received. Plus, U.S. grain and goods to be shipped out thanks to this major Panama Canal expansion.

 

Full story at:

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Seven-months-in-expanded-Panama-Canal-still-10925190.php

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 171,781 views for this posting.

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I saw the article you referenced right after it came out and I can tell you the upper levels of the ACP were not in their happy place when it hit the streets. Like a lot of things there is always more to the story than what is presented. IMO one of the major issues is there is a bit of friction between the tug boat people and management... a lot of the usual suspects... pay, training, responsibilities, advancement and I'm sure the list could continue. There is also some who think the tugs maneuvering the neopanamax ships through the new locks is not the best solution considering you already have a proven method demonstrated on a daily basis at the legacy locks... locomotives (the mules). So there are a lot of things that are bubbling in the caldron.

 

The fender issue is not really a major concern, there may be a higher than expected failure rate, but in the end the fendering is doing what was intended, preventing hard contact with the lock structure. There is a lot more fendering in the new locks than there is at the old locks. Fenders at the old locks are only on the approach walls and just a short distance in the chamber before the fist set of gates. Meanwhile at the new locks the entire 3 chambers are fendered the entire distance including the approach walls, so many more fenders for the ship to contact. Approach walls, that is another one of sticking points as there is no approach wall on the Gatun Lake side of the Atlantic Locks (Agua Clara). An accepted practice to bringing a ship into the chamber is to put it on the fenders and drive the ship into the chamber with the assistance of the accompanying tugs. The process is much more challenging at the end of Agua Clara where there is no approach wall and coincidentally that is were some of the more serious incidents have occurred involving ships making hard contact.

 

The gate failing to retract all the way was not a huge malfunction, just additional care had to be taken as not to come into contact with it, but it made for a more exciting reporting. Nothing more than a sensor for debris was doing its job. Whether or not a huge risk was taken by moving the ship past the partially open gate... really don't know, but I doubt it.

 

I think things have worked out reasonably well at the new locks when you stop and think no one in the Panama Canal organization has had experience maneuvering ships larger than 965'x106' through the Canal prior to June 26 last year. While some personnel went over to the large locks at Ijmuiden in Amsterdam and also received training with scale ships at Port Revel Training Center in France, it isn't a substitute for the real thing. I'm sure things will continue to improve as everybody becoming more seasoned as time progresses.

 

There was one casualty as a result of this minor public relations hiccup... the Canal was always rather lenient in allowing family, friends and acquaintances to go behind the scenes with someone like a tug skippers and the like. Well, that rather nice perq went poof in a nano second.

 

Hopefully this isn't too much inside baseball... just some background as you seem very enthusiastic and interested in the "Big Ditch.":)

 

For view of the new locks... as you are approaching Gatun Locks in the morning, looking forward and off to the port you will be able see the stair cased 3 chambers Agua Clara Locks. Then later that day after clearing Miraflores Locks (the last set) and before you get to the Bridge of Americas looking astern off the starboard quarter you will have a similar view of the Cocoli Locks. After the Centennial Bridge and as you arrive at Pedro Miguel, on the starboard side you will be able to see the new channel that was constructed to connect the Cocoli Locks with the Gaillard Cut. At the end of that channel will be the Cocoli Locks, from this angle it will have a rather low profile. As you progress through Pedro Miguel and across Miraflores Lake you will see the Borinquen Dam that had to be contructed to separate the lower waters of Miraflores Lake and the newly constructed channel... starboard side. If a ship happens to be in either of the new locks, it will be very east to see.

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For view of the new locks... ... After the Centennial Bridge and as you arrive at Pedro Miguel, on the starboard side you will be able to see the new channel that was constructed to connect the Cocoli Locks with the Gaillard Cut. At the end of that channel will be the Cocoli Locks, from this angle it will have a rather low profile. ...

 

From our southbound transit last month, here we are approaching Pedro Miguel. On the far right, as Bill has described, is the new channel connecting the Cocoli locks with the Culebra Cut. Note also the neo-Panamax ship (which we'd followed all through Gatun Lake) headed for the new locks.

 

We%20approach%20Pedro%20Miguel%201024x572_zpsmndccdeq.jpg

 

(photo by turtles06)

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