Friday, 30 March 2012

Cap Beatrice (2010) - Post 2

Panama Canal transit - 23rd. May

For some time, I'd been wanting to transit the Panama Canal again to see any changes. While I was with Blue Star Line and later ANL, I'd transited the canal five times but the last of those was in 1981. For this transit, the Captain kindly allowed me to stay on the bridge and even use one of the pilot chairs. I think his generosity may have been partly due to the fact that I performed a needed magnetic compass adjustment, gratis, on the ship outside Savannah. In fact, before the canal pilots boarded the ship at the Cristobal (Colon) entrance to the canal, a canal official boarded to ensure that the ship's deviation (magnetic compass) certificate was current (less than 12 months old) and issued by a licensed adjustor. If not, the ship would not be allowed to enter the canal. Sounds like name your price as a compass adjuster at Cristobal and Balboa!

Arriving at Cristobal at dawn prior to entering the canal (ahead).

Ships at anchor off Cristobal, awaiting their transits.

Sunrise over Cristobal.

The captain conning the ship (L) and the helmsman (R).

Canal tugs coming alongside.

Canal mooring crew boarding.

One of the two canal pilots on board (L) and a canal mooring crew foreman (R).
Approaching the Gatun locks.

Pilot (L) and the captain at the starboard wing control console.
A US troop transport in the adjacent lock.
A bored sentry risking sunstroke guarding his ship.

The level of water in the next lock indicates how far the ship has to rise.
Moving into the next lock with the Gatun Lake (a flooded mountain valley) ahead.

The next ships following us into the locks.
Ships in the Gatun Lake, waiting to resume their transits.

The Chief Officer (L) and helmsman (R).
A ship heading the other way, towards the Gatun Locks.


Captain Stenderchuk and me.

The Third Mate, from Russia.
A passing, light tropical shower.

Halfway through the transit, the second canal pilot took over. Both pilots live in Panama City.
Approaching the Pedro Miguel locks.

The canal crews still use row boats to run mooring lines in the locks.

An alligator in the adjacent lock.

Being Russian, the Second Mate really felt the intense heat while being at stations on the after mooring deck.

This building at the Miraflores locks houses a museum about the canal, viewing decks and restaurants.
Arriving at Balboa where we berthed for 24 hours.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic series of shots, Tim. How interesting it must have been going through the Panama Canal!