Panama Line Handler
Go on, grab a line
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1. Work started in 1881 and was completed in 1914.
2. Vessels are raised 85ft (26m) above sea level.
3. It is regarded as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
4. Sea level is about 20 cm higher on the Pacific side than the Atlantic due to the water being less dense on average on the Pacific side and due to the prevailing weather and ocean conditions. Such sea level differences are common across many short sections of land dividing ocean basins.
If the canal was open sea and not locks (i.e. if somehow a deep open cutting had been made rather than the canal system over the mountains) then there would be a current flowing from Pacific to Atlantic.
5. The large Panamax vessels that go through the Canal pay in the region of $250,000 USD for the privilege. Once the new locks are finished, some of the even larger vessels will pay close to $1 million per transit (or so we are told).
6. The Smithsonian has a research station on the largest island in the middle of Gatun Lake. Extremely shy wild jaguars have been filmed on the island.
7. General Noriager is confined in the prison on the southern bank of the lake a few miles from the Pedro Miguel locks.
8. There are multiple navigation buoys with the same number. Look out for 60¼ and 60½ and the others marked A, B, C etc. Additional buoys have been added over the years to improve navigation and instead of renumbering all the buoys, letters were used.

IntroTransit OverviewLine HandlersSkippersPre-transitPanama CanalFactsDo's & Dont'sLinksContact