Wednesday/ Canal de Panamá 🛳

The Norwegian Sun’s position at 4.38 pm this afternoon: leaving Gatun Lake to enter the Miraflores Locks.
[Image: The ship’s navigation TV channel]
We traversed the engineering marvel called the Panama Canal today.
First up to admire was the Atlantic Bridge (Puente Atlántico), the new 15,092 ft (4,600 m) suspension bridge completed in 2019.
Then we entered the Gatun Locks.
This sequence of three locks opened in 1914, is the largest of the locks in the Panama Canal and lift ships up 85 ft (25.9 m) to the level of the sprawling Gatun Lake.
The man-made Gatun Lake lies between the two sets of locks that lifts and lowers vessels, and therefore allows passage to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean.

After crossing Gatun Lake, we passed under the Centennial Bridge (Puente Centenario).  This bridge opened in 2004 and spans 3,451 ft (1,052 m).

Soon after that it was time to enter the Pedro Miguel Locks and the Miraflores Locks. These locks lowered the Norwegian Sun to the level of the Atlantic Ocean— the ocean that used to be a continent away from the Pacific, and not a mere 51 miles (82 km).

Atlantic Bridge (Puente Atlántico), the new 15,092 ft (4,600 m) suspension bridge completed in 2019.
Entering the Gatun Locks. The newer, wider Agua Clara Locks to the right were completed in 2016.
Approaching the Gatun Locks. Will she be able to squeeze in? (Yes.)
Entering the Gatun Locks.
No, we’re not on dry land— still floating but inside the lock. Another ‘Panamax’ size* vessel is coming through in the opposite direction.
*The Panamax dimensions give clear parameters for ships destined to traverse the Panama Canal and have influenced the design of cargo ships, naval vessels, and passenger ships.
Gatun Lake lies 85 ft (25.9 m) above sea level, and here comes the second (of three) Gatun locks that will raise the ship.
Look for the mule on the right edge of the picture. These are powerful electric locomotives that run on paired 5 ft (1,524 mm) broad gauge railway tracks, tethered to the ship on both sides with cables, to guide it through the locks.
Now Norwegian Sun is inside the lock, with the gates in front of her bow closed, and this one at her stern as well. (Looking back at the Atlantic Bridge in the distance). The lock is about to be filled with water to raise her up.
Getting there ..
The lock is filled, and the one at the front of the ship has been opened. We have started to move forward, into the next lock.
A view of how the mule on the tracks is attached to a vessel.
There is very, very little room to spare between the hull of Norwegian Sun and the walls of the lock.
Tight. Very tight. I am not sure what this gap in inches is, but it seems to be less than a foot. 
Another look back as we leave the first of the Gatun Locks.
Now out of the Gatun Locks, and on the large and sprawling Gatun Lake.
More than a dozen crew from Norwegian Sun stepped onto this boat alongside Norwegian Sun.
Crossing Gatun Lake. This is the area that we looked down onto yesterday, from the observation tower that we had reached with the Gamboa Aerial Tramway nearby.
Approaching the Centennial Bridge (Spanish: Puente Centenario) that was completed in 2004.
Inside the Pedro Miguel Locks, the first of the locks that will lower the Norwegian Sun back to sea level.
Leaving the Pedro Miguel Locks.
Approaching the Miraflores Locks.
Approaching the two locks called the Miraflores Locks.
Another tight fit: inside the Miraflores Locks.
Sunset— our first one over the Atlantic Ocean.

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