Panama Canal Trip

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.


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2 Responses to Panama Canal Trip

  1. Its April the first, I am responding to John’s message posted at [???? some time before 12.00 hours], and I note the context and written matter?? I am 75 an old fool, and a dunce, but am I that ”OLD FOOL” the time is now before 09.00 hours.
    I have to take the ‘blog’ to pieces carefully, and scientifically as far as my school boy knowledge will allow// Considering it is Easter Sunday, and ‘wishing ”goodwill to all persons”.
    Analytical process- ” from a bluff Lancastrian trained as a Yorkshire man ”ITS all balls??”
    With a little more thought!!
    It did rain yesterday in the midlands? Molly and visited the antique fair at Peterborough, as prime examples of old clothing, and dusty, hazy memories, and old foggies among the exhibits. So John in the Panama Canal today, if he was in the rain yesterday at Rugby beggars belief, to be on a cruise ship this instant in Central America, having flown from the UK to the States, and then to Miami or another port where the cruise ships sail form to transit the Panama, Caribbean and then up the central American west cost to Los Angeles, or port of destination. So Far so good, now the unfortunate bit of the tale? The two oceans Atlantic and Pacific, have a different surface level -[I believe is fact, and if one sails south about through Magellan straits [ by terroro delf-deago?} the currents according to seamans tales are strong and un relenting. However ”Confuses” says he has employed many a Chinese pilgrim to work the manual foot operated waterwheels to lift the water from the pacific into the atlantic, one bucket at a time [evolution is still the programme], and progress will be made?
    I am disappointed of John’s vision of the Panama ships/docks/containers-stacked a mile high/cranes, and not many exciting things to see. I read as a youngster in the Arthur Mees children’s encyclopaedia’s the many strange things in this world, together with fairy stories fact and fiction. The Panama Canal was hailed as mans ability to overcome difficulties and dangers, and the main features of the canal were the locks, electric mules, and then the transit through the Panamanian jungle, by the ships and vessels of the worlds merchant navy.
    The as mentioned ‘blog’ is a reality, however I did not rove around it in my caravanette, I felt it was more of a salesmans gimmick, not a ‘snake oil salesman” I hasten to add; however it was not for me.
    I am off to my allotment now in Sunderland to pick my pineapples, and plant new seedlings for next years crop. I spent many a time on the North East Coast, and enjoyed their way of life and company, as I do John’s.
    A Message to MO?? Did John draw his pension and fill in his tax form on time [1St. April- the last post before April 6th- the new tax year??]
    A very happy read to all our readers, and best wishes for a good easter, with family and friends.

  2. Different sea levels is not an old wives tale? If one sails around the Cape of Good Hope, there is another seamans tail/tale of a different step between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, It has a ‘nick name, but a present that escapes me. There are many a shipping incident of damage to a ship entering west to east of heavy seas over the bows causing hull and shell damage. Lloyds Lists the official marine insurance newspaper [Printed daily] refered to such incidents and claims, and paid out???

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