Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Report: Panama Canal

You may recall that during my previous transit of the Panama Canal on The Voyage I focused on what I think is the most interesting aspect of the experience, the "Mules" that assist ships through the locks. As we approached the Canal over this past week, I thought about how I might share the "larger" experience and decided that rather than shoot hours of memory-consuming video then try to play it back at high speed I would shoot it in stop-action.

So, in the dark at 3:30 this morning I lashed my camera to the starboard F-Deck railing and started filming as we made our final approach to the Miraflores Locks. Thankfully, this coincided with the breaking of dawn so only the first few frames are in the dark. I had planned to take shots at one minute intervals throughout the transit, but the rains came shortly after we cleared the first set of locks and forced me to interrupt the filming to protect my camera. Showers continued as we steamed through "the cut" and across "the lake" but abated just as we approached the Gatun Locks, so I was able to resume filming our exit from the Canal.

It's just as well, though, because the hours of travel between the locks isn't really very interesting and I probably would have edited it out of the final movie anyway. So, the result is this Report which presents what I think is a pretty good "summary" of what it is like to climb the locks from the Pacific side and descend the locks to the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. I hope you enjoy it! (Note: Thanks to Stephen Jacob for yet another lovely piece of background music!)

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