Southern Caribbean Cruising — Panama Canal; Agua Clara Locks at Work


The new locks being moved into place during construction

Today we continue with our exploration of the Agua Clara locks at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal expansion. I’ll be paying particular attention to the action of the locks themselves, as they are quite a departure from the pivoting locks used in the original system. In this first photo you can see the locks retracting into their side bays:

Agua Clara locks starting to open

It’s not a fast process. Here are the same locks just one minute, forty-five seconds later:

Agua Clara locks almost two minutes later

In the distance you can see ships transiting the original lock system to the west:

The original locks to the west

The goal in either system of locks is to either raise or lower a ship from sea level to the level of Gatún Lake, seen here:

Ships waiting canal transit in Gatún Lake

Here are some photos of the process. In the first photo the ship has entered a lock, and water is raising the ship to the next level:

Awaiting a lift

Same ship nearly four minutes later:

Nearly four minutes later

Once the ship is raised, a tugboat pulls the ship along to the next lock or out of the canal:

Tugs are used in the new canal; locomotive “mules” are used in the older locks

Here once again here is my YouTube video of the process:

Transiting the Agua Clara locks (at 2x speed)

Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!)

2 Comments

Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

2 responses to “Southern Caribbean Cruising — Panama Canal; Agua Clara Locks at Work

  1. We went through the new locks 11/22/2019. Amazing transit. The amount of engineering that is involved is mind blowing. Thanks for the memories!