Blog Content & Website Design: Marney Wilde • Photographs by George Wilde

Panama Canal: Lake Gatun

Soon after the Amsterdam set anchor in Gatun Lake those of us who had purchased excursion tickets were allowed to board the tenders which took us a short distance to a dock at a local hotel/resort complex. Panama does not allow cruise passengers to leave the ship on this particular itinerary unless they are part of a ship-sponsored tour group, so we chose to participate in a "Gatun Lake by Watercraft" tour in hopes of seeing more wildlife than we thought likely should we have chosen the hike that covered some of the area near to that resort complex. We learned later, however, that they too had seen a lot of wildlife, so either tour is a good choice, I think. Our small-craft skipper and the tour guide found many monkeys, sloths, and birds for us to see and we were very pleased with this portion of the trip.

Equally enjoyable, and a surprise as to how interesting it proved to be, was our stop at the Gatun Locks (which we would not be entering on this itinerary). It was a great chance to see the locks from the land perspective as we were able to climb up to an observation area at the top of the administration buildings there and watch ships and small boats enter the Gatun Locks. In a display area we were allowed to climb into and inspect several vehicles typical of those used in the operation of the locks.

There were other displays showing plans for the construction of an additional set of locks. We saw some of that construction in progress. Although we were there on a Sunday, dredging and land-based dirt removal necessary for the process were continuing. When complete, the capacity of the canal operations to handle transiting ships will be substantially increased.


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Gatun Lake

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Inland Waterways
of Gatun Lake

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Gatun Locks

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