Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Panama - Gatun Locks

Location : Panama

Yesterday I showed you the snap of us approaching the Gatun locks from the Atlantic side. These are the pictures of the vessel as it climbs into the second set of locks. It really is a very tight fit for the vessel & the shocker is that the walls of
the docks aren't even lined with some rubber fenders or tyres. It is very tense times for people low in the food chain like me, but these pilots do seem to have things well in control & take out the vessel with hardly a foots clearance on either side!
Pretty neat sight.

This amazing control is primararily due the the locomotives attached to the vessel on all four corners. You can see two locomotives on each bow of the ship. These send out wire ropes to be fixed on the ships bollards & then the vessel is positioned in
the locks by the tightening or slacking of these wires. There are two sets of these also on the stern & these eight locomotives move along with the ship on rails provided for that purpose.

You can see the Sanko Line ship on the other dock, & these guys seem to be as snugly fitting into the locks as we were.

The second snap shows us coming out of the Gatun locks. The whole of the Panama Canal is basically a mountain pass that has been dammed at either ends & filled in with rain water.

The dam used for this purpose in the Gatun Dam. All that you see in front of the vessel in the second picture is the Gatun Lake. On the Stbd as you come out of the Gatun lock is the Gatun Dam.

Believe me, this is a very neat place!

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