I haven’t been out much this winter because of all the rain, so today I decided to travel to warmer climes. I joined an American couple on a trip though the Panama Canal. I have never been to that part of the world before, so it was interesting from that point of view. Having said that it looked quite boring, just a load of docks, cranes and containers along most of the route. A few tourist stop offs, but it mainly seemed a means of getting from one side of the world to another. The Atlantic to the Pacific.
The French started to construct the canal in 1881, but gave up because of the difficulty caused by landslides and the constant problem of tropical disease. The Americans restarted the project and completed it in 1914. It took 56,000 men to build it at a cost of 5,600 lives. The 48 miles of canal, a reservoir and six locks cost $350million. Today 13,000 ships pass through it every day.
That started me thinking. There are quite a few locks along the way. Does that mean the Pacific Ocean is higher than the Atlantic ? If so and you opened all the locks at the same time what would happen ? These are some heavy weight questions to ponder on a rainy day in the UK winter.
If the Pacific is higher than the Atlantic would El Ninio flow into the Caribbean and then up the Atlantic drift ? That could bring tropical storms, hurricanes, storm surges and maybe even a tidal wave to the UK. To say nothing of the giant squid and man-eating sharks. I do hope our weather men have done a risk assessment of someone accidentally leaving all the lock gates open.
Of course it could happen the other way around. The Atlantic could drain into the Pacific, which could mean low-lying islands like Tahiti would be at risk of disappearing beneath the waves altogether. Also our herring fishermen would have much further to go. On the up side we might find out if Atlantis really did exist.
I am grateful to Sallie and Bill ? for allowing me to travel with them. They have written about their travels since they retired in 1997, in their blog “ A full-time life”. They have travelled in an RV motor home all over the USA (except for two states) and have an interesting blog illustrated with some excellent photographs, which is well worth reading. It is a brilliant example of how adventurous some people can be when they retire.
You can travel with them, just get on your cloud surf board.