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Panama is known mostly for its famous canal which connects the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel and one of the most significant waterways on earth. Stretching 81,6 km (50miles) from Colon on the Caribbean coast to Panama City on the Pacific coast and lead though the Gatun Lake. The Canal transfers ships in two days from the Atlantic to the Pacific or Pacific to the Atlantic through a system of 6 locks, these are compartments with entrance and exit gates. The locks function as water lifts. A vessel entering at the Atlantic side has to be lifted 85 feet in three steps to the level of Gatun Lake. After crossing 31 miles of the lake, the vessel drops 31 feet in one step at Pedro Miguel and enters Miraflores Lake. A mile further south the vessel enters double lockage at Miraflores and drops a further 54 feet to the level of the Pacific Ocean. 52 million gallons of fresh water are necessary to lock a ship from one ocean to the other.
The 1000 foot long lock chambers limit the maximum ship length to 950 feet and the chamber width of 110 feet allows ships with beams of up to 106 feet.

Camissa transits the Panama Canal

Camissa, right, plus attachment enters the lock
Photo by Gabriele Drucker, Austria

A big thanks to our linehandlers Lilian & Rudy Zeller, Marianne Bremer and Christoph Kühner

Awaiting the boiling waters to raise the Duo to the Gatung Lake

Francesco our adviser gives commands to the linehandlers

Panama has much more to offer than only the Canal

Even in the heart of modern Panama City, the brick streets and colonial buildings of Casco Viejo are a reminder of the Spanish history. Shopping in Panama City is a great pleasure! You can buy lots of everything and anything at a reasonable price!

A real paradise is Kuna Yala, the San Blas with 365 Islands on the Caribbean Site of which only 40 are inhabited by the independent Kuna Indians. A trip to the San Blas islands brings you 20 centuries into the past. The Kuna Indians, who run all the islands as an autonomous province, with minimal interference from the national government have maintained their own economic system, language, customs and culture, with distinctive dresses, legends, music and dances. The economy of those islands is based on coconut sales, fishing and tourism. San Blas is famous for one of its arts, the mola. Kuna women sewing colored fabrics, emblazoned with fish, birds, jungle animal and geometric designs. 

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The Islands of Las Perlas are mostly uninhabited with beautiful white sandy beaches at low tide. The tide different is huge, around 5 m. After the dry season and with the hot climate, most of the trees have no leaves and it looks like a winter landscape without snow. The small dreamy Island  Contadora with its special architecture is definitely worth to visit.

The Island Coiba is a National Park and mainly covered in dense forest with howler monkeys, scarlet macaw and a lot of beautiful birds. Coiba is known as the home of a Devil’s Island, because it was a penal colony with serious criminals. But they were not locked in. Instead, guards locked themselves in with their guns at night. The island jungle and shark-filled ocean kept prisoners from straying too far. Fishing and diving are great! Especially if the park rancher Mali Mali & Manuel Flores shows you the best dive sites. 

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Website Design & Photos by Isabella Effner, Copyright.