Panama Canal

December 11-15, 1999

jeff working on the dishHere I am in Panama putting the finishing touches on our satellite dish.  The blue box in front contains the amplifiers that power our signal all the way into space.  The white spot is a drop of rain.  The ground here is very wet and it rains every day between 3pm and 5pm.

another picture of me working on the dishHere I am working on the dish some more.  You can see every thing is up on pallets and plywood.  The yellow cord is the power cord and the white van behind me is a live truck for the local government TV station.  The building at the top of the hill is offices.  Our Master Control Room(MCR).  Most of the electronics are up there.  Down at the dish is just the amplifier and the dish.  The hill is the difference in height for one of the locks that we are right next to.

Jeff at the canalThis is the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal.  The house back there is the control house that controls 2 locks of the canal.  That is a big boat in the back ground and they are just now closing the lock doors bedind it.  This boat is on its way to the Pacific Ocean.  There are 2 locks here at Miraflores and 1 more two miles up the river.  Then the boats travel across Panama and are lowered back down to the Atlantic.

wide shot top of hill

Here is a wide shot of the area.  The Canal runs across the top right side.  The gray thing in the back is a draw bridge that we never saw them use.  Down front on the right is our dish and the blue blob next to it is the boxes it comes in.  Lots of TV trucks all from local News stations ans agencies.  Right next to the Canal on both sides are special rail road tracks.  In this picture you can see 3 Mules on the tracks. Two are next to each other and the 3rd is half cut off.  These Mules pull the boats through the canal.  A big ship takes 6 mules to help it through. 3 on each side Or 4 in front to pull the ship and two in the rear to act as brakes.

2 boats in the canal

Here are 2 big container ships coming through.  The mules are in front pulling the boats along.  They are both going right to left from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  Their cargo is the orange boxes called simply containers.  These are 36 - 46 feet long and they can lift them right off the boat and put them directly on a truck or a train.  Most of the ships we saw comming through the canal were container ships.

view from the bottom of the canalNow I am at the far south end of the Canal.  Behind me is the Pacific Ocean.  In front is the control tower, the big gate, the tents and trucks, and MCR on top of the hill.  On the gate youu can see the light and dark line.  The water is low right now and it raises to the level of that line.  It takes about 10 minutes for one lock to fill or drain of water.   The water to fill this lock comes from the water in the lock right behind it.  That water comes from a lake up river.  Then it all empties into the ocean.  There are no pumps used to move the water around just the power of gravity.

<>Big shipHere you get an idea of how big these ships are.  The mule giding it along and two people under the blue tent.  That is out livve shot location.  If you saw a live shot on CBS, NBC, or CNN this is probably where it came from.  The Mexican tv network TV Azteca got lucky and had a ship moving through there live shot.  You can see the containers stacked 3 and 4 high.  then there are about 13 rows front to back and 8 across.  That is a lot of cargo.


cruise shipOnce a day we would see a cruise ship come through the canal.  These boats were fun because all the people would stand and wave and shout and it was just nice to see a clean white ship all pretty and dressed up.  The camera man let me shoot a bit with his camera so i let him shoot a bit with mine.

| BACK |