Map above (not in scale!) courtesy of Ediciones Balboa - Panama;
basic map below by Mapas Turismo

The Panama Canal is an extraordinary engineering feat (for a fascinating tale, read McCullough's Path between the Seas). After the French tried and failed, the USA with Teddy Roosevelt's blessing at the start finished the work in 1914. With workers from everywhere, especially Barbados, the USA dammed the Chagres River to form the Gatun Lake, conquered the Continental Divide through the Culebra Cut, fought malaria, yellow fever, and equipment-and-soul-smashing landslides.

In 2006, there were more than 13,000 transits, with tolls amounting to $1.3 billion. The largest ships are Panamaxs, designed to squeeze through the Canal.

The Canal Zone reverted to Panama in 1999, and the citizens voted to enlarge the canal in 2006 to permit post-Panamax ships.

By day, we watched the canal
from our hotel & the viewing platforms.
At night, we were spell-bound at the restaurant.
One day, we boarded the Pacific Queen (see above in the locks going home) at Gamboa on Gatun Lake
and went through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks to the Pacific Ocean. Here are some images of our transit.
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