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The Panama canal was completed in 1914, following the deaths of almost 30,000 workers from tropical diseases, accidents and an unspeakable toil. Most of them were liberated slaves looking for work and a new life. Today the Panama canal annually transits 14,000 ships and a total of 280 million tons of goods between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. The canal has grown too small, and is currently under reconstruction

For us in the eggshell of Underveis, the canal is obviously big enough and then some. We thought that the Caledonian canal was big, but lost the use of our tongues when we saw the Panama canal. Two different systems of waterlocks will take us up into the artificial lake Gatun, and then down again to Balboa on the other side. We will then be in the Pacific, the largest ocean on the planet. Each and every lock is two meters thick and 21 meters tall. Each lock chamber holds 150,000,000 liters of water. The dimensions are gigantic, and so are many of the vessels that pass through the canal. We are excited. We are also very glad to enter the Pacific. From here we will set our course towards the Galapagos, Easter island, Pitcairn and later Tahiti, wind and weather permitting. But, as always, we are flexible regarding both time and space.

The Panama canal has their own webpages, and there you can find animations showing how the canal works, and you can see a number of webcams, showing the traffic going through from minute to minute. We are not completely sure, but we think that we will be going through the Miraflores locks at between 16 and 18 a.m. (GMT) on Saturday. Press the button “last 20 images”, for a faster animation of our passage through the locks. The link to the webcameras can be found here.

For us, this is another milestone. We have before us another world ocean to be traversed. 10,000 nautical miles ahead lies Darwin in Australia, which we have set our sights on. There the Norwegian consul has invited us for coffee, and we are looking very forward to that. We hope to be in Darwin around the 15th of August, but that is impossible to say for certain right now.

COLON: Friday afternoon (tomorrow, on the 8th of February, in other words) Underveis will transit through the Panama canal, if everything goes according to plan. Follow us on webcamera!
ALMOST THROUGH: Underveis is shortly on her way through the Panama canal. On the other side awaits the Pacific!
Underveis through the Panama canal
Colon, Panama, 06.02.2008
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