Panama Canal – The Canal – 1998

Monday – The Panama Canal is a creation beyond imagination. Just think of the time and effort that went into this creation and the technology that was available then.

The new, wider canal is a wonder as well, but the new equipment available and the availability of high speed air travel and modern accommodations for the workers makes for a much easier and more comfortable experience for them.

There were no air conditioned cabs on their giant digging rigs back then, and the insects alone cost thousands of men their  lives. Remember yellow fever? Much of the work was done with just shovels and wheel barrows.

It is something to be raised up several feet at a time to continue west, in our case, over the Isthmus of Panama and on toward the Pacific Ocean, only to lowered back down again.

We have been on several cruises and through many locks, but these are in a class of their own. The smaller locks are interesting too, but for different reasons.

We rush up to the deck and watch how close the ship is to the sides of the canal as we pass through it and imagine the skill needed by the captain and the crew. Then go back and look at all of the fine items in the shops for sale on board and try to find something to eat. How hard is that on a cruise?

This is a vastly different time than when the canal was created. Just getting to the site for many of the men was an arduous and dangerous journey.