Our transit through the Panama Canal...watch us live!

Here's the link of our passage through the Panama Canal

http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html

If you'll go to this site right now, we are currently approaching the Gatun Locks.  By clicking on the webcam view for the High Resolution Gatun Locks, you may be able to see our ship, the navy blue and white Celebrity Century, approaching the entry to the Gatun Locks, currently in line behind several humungous ships.  Based on the poor Internet connection aboard ship, I am unable to load our photos now as I post this. However, this webcam view will show you what we're able to see.

At 5:15 this morning we quickly managed our way to the 12th floor of the Celebrity Century to the Hemisphere Bar, the highest point on the ship except for the navigation bridge.  We wanted to ensure we grabbed two comfy padded front row chairs facing the full glass wall at the bow of the ship, a firsthand view of the upcoming Panama Canal.
In a mere two and a half hours, we'd begin the eight to ten hour journey through the canal commencing at the Miraflores Locks.
After a fitful night's sleep of only three hours, we both bolted out of bed at exactly the same moment when the sounds of the ship changed from a familiar purr to a rumbling series of roars indicating we were slowing down.  It was 4 am.

Over the past two days we discussed various strategies as to how and where we'd secure an advantageous spot for viewing the transit through the canal, hopefully in air conditioned comfort at the bow of the ship. 
The air, thick and murky with dense humidity left us glistening and sweaty as the hot wind licked at our faces on the long outdoor walk past the pool to the 12th floor. 

Our trusty coffee mugs, loaded with a mixture of lukewarm regular and decaf s would have to last us the few hours until we were willing the leave our seats for fear of losing a moment of the exhilarating view.
Comfortably ensconced in those perfectly positioned chairs provided us with a bird's eye view of the "road ahead" or shall I say, the "canal ahead." We were content.
Lively conversation ensued as others, as anxious as us, found their way to nearby seats, they too with fantastic views.  With nary a thought of our exhaustion until hours later, our heightened senses were in tuned for this adventure...the Panama Canal from the best seat in the house, an experience of a lifetime, one of many yet to come. 
Oh my, we're so grateful.  How did this happen to us?  How did we manage to unload everything we owned, leaving our family and friends behind, to follow this newly discovered dream of spreading our wings in a much wider expanse than we'd ever imagined...to travel the world, to be free of hearth and home, while carrying "heart and home" with us?

As we entered the first of five locks on our way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans, Tom with his extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the canal, narrated the process for me, while in the background the voice of Panama's "Ambassador" and our on board educator, Uncle Marty blared over the loud speaker.
With literally no audible sound or sensation, our huge 830 foot long ship, gently maneuvered through the first three locks, utilizing the power of aquatic gravity along with the use of six low gear locomotives drawing us forward through the Miraflores Locks to 54 feet above sea level.  Eventually we made our way through the third and final "raising" lock to a high of 85 feet above sea level and into Gatun Lake, a man made reservoir that supplies the Panama Canal.

Amazing!  Purely amazing!  Simple gravity coupled with a small amount of motorized assistance is still working almost 100 years later.  That feat, in itself, is mind boggling.
Soon, we were traveling through Gaylord Cut, the nine mile winding section of the canal at a snail's pace, passing tankers, cargo ships and container ships, one after another during the nine mile crossing through the lake.
We passed by Gold Hill, the continental divide on our lengthy journey to the remaining three lowering locks to eventually take us out to the sea, the Atlantic/Caribbean Sea.  It's all so hard to believe. 

This morning the sun came up over the Pacific but due our location, we had a sense that the sun was rising in the west.  This evening, the sun will set in the Atlantic, again perceived as setting in the east as opposed to the west.  An odd phenomenon, for sure.
Soon, we'll enter the  locks and finally be back out to sea.  We'd love to post photos but our Internet connection is barely able to post the text. 

Exhausted? Yes!  Exhilarated? Yes!

Ah, our amazing world yet to be discovered by us as we continue on...

2 comments:

Barbara Lowe said...

I wasn't able to view you webcam video, but thank you for sharing you story with everyone. This next cruise will be our fourth time through the canal and it is just as exciting every time.

Jessica said...

Hello, Barb!
The reason you weren't able to view the webcam video was due to the fact it was a live feed as we made the transit through the canal and it was gone after we completed it. It's amazing you've been through so many times but it is quite enjoyable. Hope to meet you on the next transit!

Thanks for taking the time to write. Its wonderful hearing from you!

Warmest regards,
Jess & Thomas

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