Tag Archives: Panama City

22 December 2019:
Fuerte Amador, Panama:
From the Pacific to the Atlantic and Back

By Corey Sandler

The skyline of Panama City, a clear sign of the riches that flow into the country from the Panama Canal

We came to Panama–to the resort port of Fuerte Amador on the Pacific–but our eventual goal is California, not the Gulf of Mexico. And so Viking Sun put down anchors and we tendered into shore.

I have been through the Panama Canal more times than I can remember, and love the experience each and every time.

But on this visit I did something different: along with guests I journeyed across the isthmus, about 50 miles, from the Pacific to the Atlantic and then back. Our goal was to visit the Panama Canal from the land side, not from aboard ship.

Still spectacular, and literally an entirely different perspective on the amazing Path Between the Seas.

The large (but not huge) Emerald Princess was passing through the Agua Clara locks near the Atlantic when we arrived. Agua Clara is one of the new set of locks that opened in 2016, built to handle wider and longer vessels. In the new locks, ships are guided through by tugs at the bow and stern instead of the electric locomotives used in the old locks for the same purpose.
The new locks employ rolling gates that pull back into pockets in the wall; you can see the double set behind and to the right of the tugboat at the stern here. Also seen are parts of the three basins above the locks that recycle about 40 percent of the 52 million gallons of fresh water that is used for each transit of the locks.
Later in the day we visited the original locks at Miraflores. Here a large car carrier is making its way up the flight of locks from the Pacific. Here you can see the electric locomotives or mules.
From the land side, the difference in water level is apparent. Ships go up 85 or so feet in three locks from sea level to Lake Gatun to make the transit across the continent, and then 85 feet down at the other side.

All content by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase any photos or books, please contact me.

To read more about the Panama Canal, click on the Panama tag below.