Panama Canal, Always An Amazing Adventure

No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one. ~Elbert Hubbard

Panama Canal Overview And Trips #One (1995) & Two (1998) Summary

Panama Canal Zone

Did You Know? - Because of the configuration of the Isthmus of Panama, the canal runs northwest-southeast from the city of Colon to Panama City. In between are the blue waters of Gatun Lake and the dark green forests on either side of the canal. The Canal Zone extends approximately 8 km on either side of the shipping channel, except near Madden Lake (east of the canal near its center). The shipping channel of the canal is 82 km long, though the Canal Zone is only 64 km long.

The canal zigzags across the isthmus to take advantage of the geographic features of the area, such as the Chagres River. The controlled water supply for the canal is provided by the three artificial lakes: Gatun near the city of Colon terminus, Miraflores near the Panama City terminus, and Madden Lake. Gatun is the largest of the three lakes, covering 429 km². Madden Lake was built as a large supplemental reservoir to keep water levels up in the canal during the dry season. All three lakes are vital sources for maintaining the ship channel over the Continental Divide (Gaillard Cut) and for regulating the flow of water that enables huge vessels to be lifted and lowered in the massive locks.


Panama Canal #1 Was In 1995

Panama Canal

Our second cruise through the canal was by ourselves and we went on Crystal which is always a great experience.  We remember the great dancing a super tours that Crystal arranges.

We cleared the "Friendship Bridge" hours before Noriega was taken down. In 1989, when he lost the national election to Guillermo Endara, Noriega "nullified" the election and maintained power by force, making him severely unpopular among Panamanians. Bush called on Noriega to honor the will of the Panamanian people, and Noriega responded by publicly brutalizing Endara, who had rightfully won the election.

Pressure mounted on Bush, as the media labeled him a "wimp" for failing to aid Panama amidst his rhetoric. Bush declared that the U.S. would not negotiate with a known drug-trafficker and denied having any knowledge of Noriega's involvement with the drug trade prior to his indictment.

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Panama Canal #2 1998

Panama Canal

We did the canal the second time in 1995 with our Aunt Edit and Cousin Kat. We flew to Florida overnight landing in the morning pretty well rested. Remember, Edit was in her 80's and Kat in her 70's.  They were ready to go... probably because of all the training on the busses to Laughlin, Nevada!

The trip was fantastic leaving Florida and going all the way to Acapulco. We traveled with the Princess and had great memories. Too bad it was before the "digital camera".

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the canal had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via either the Strait of Magellan or Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km (5,900 mi), well under half the 22,500 km (14,000 mi) route around Cape Horn.

The concept of a canal near Panama dates to the early 16th century. The first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership, but was abandoned after 21,900 workers died, largely from disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever) and landslides.

The United States launched a second effort, incurring a further 5,600 deaths but succeeding in opening the canal in 1914. The U.S. controlled the canal and the Canal Zone surrounding it until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for the transition of control to Panama. From 1979 to 1999 the canal was under joint U.S.–Panamanian administration, and from 31 December 1999 command of the waterway was assumed by the Panama Canal Authority, an agency of the Panamanian government.

Aunt Edith and Kat provided many memories including such things as:

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Panama Canal #3 2006

This time we had our digital camera with us! Please see the details!

Panama Canal 3 was great since we had zero airplanes. We did a round trip from LA to LA on the soon to be retired Regal Princess! Off we went for three weeks traveling from LA to Panama and back to LA stopping at some interesting ports, playing golf, riding ATV's and walking in the jungle gardens of Costa Rica.  This is a trip we could easily repeat many times.

Panama Canal