Under a Bridge

Jenn at Traveling at Wits End has a weekly photo challenge. This week’s challenge is to “photograph under a bridge.”

From a cruise ship on the St. Lawrence River, Quebec Province, Canada
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SONY DSCFrom a cruise ship, Panama Canal
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I end with an appropriate song, one of my favorites, from my favorite music duo, Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.

CB&WPC: Hickory Dickory Dock…

…the mouse ran up the clock!  The theme for Cee’s B&W photo challenge this week is words ending in -ock.  These are “-ocks” from my travel over the last two years.

Clock

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Flower clock in the historic district of Curitiba, PR, Brazil, Nov. 2016

 

Locks

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Gatun Locks, Panama Canal (March 2017)

 

Rocks

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Rocks at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (April 2017)

 

Wedlock

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Newly united in wedlock:  Allie Lovejoy & Alex Wooden, Woodbury, MN  (May 20, 2017)

 

Dock

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Dale prepares to go fishing, dock at Blacks Cliff Resort, Lower Kaubashine Lake, WI (July 2017)

 

Flock

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The Holy Family overwhelmed by a huge flock of sheep! Nativity scene, Our Lord in the Attic Church, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Jan. 2018)

 

And now, a rock hit from 2018: Guns ‘n Roses, Sweet Child of Mine. (Also in B&W!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APAW: “A Crowd of People Stood and Stared”*

Nancy Merrill’s “A Photo a Week” (APAW) topic for this week is Crowd.

 

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A crowd of people on board m/s Veendam watch the gates of a lock open at the Panama Canal.

 

 

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A crowd of people in the ballroom at Chicago’s Symphony Center watch Mexican dancers during the intermission of Chicago Sinfonietta’s Day of the Dead concert.

 

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Chicago Sinfonietta concert intermission activity: make marigolds out of tissue paper for a Mexican-style Day of the Dead altar. My friend Marcia (far left blonde hair) shows a crowd of people how to do this.

 

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A crowd of family members at a post-Thanksgiving gathering in Madison, WI at a cousin’s house. (A bit of a cheat here: My brother-in-law took the picture using my cellphone camera!)

 

 

 

*From A Day In the Life by the Beatles

Traversing the Panama Canal

March 27, 2017

Today we traversed the Panama Canal!  We entered the canal from the Caribbean side at about 6:00 a.m. A narrator came on board to broadcast what we were watching. When I woke up enough to go outside on our veranda, I took some pictures of the rising sun silhouetting some of the large equipment as we entered the canal.

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Dale (my husband) took this one – he got up earlier than I did!

Entering on the Caribbean side, ships enter a large bay next to which the city of Colón is situated; then they wait their turn to enter the channel into the Gatún Locks. The Veendam entered the narrower of the older locks. From the ship’s deck, I could see cars and trucks going across on an underpass – hard to believe there’s a road down there. Next to the Veendam was the Norwegian Pearl, a larger cruise ship that needs more width. The New Locks were built to accommodate even large cargo and cruise vessels. These were built a little distance away. We pulled up alongside the Norwegian Pearl and watched as it was raised, gradually revealing each of its lower decks. Passengers lined the decks of both ships.

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Railroad tracks on either side of the locks were used for locomotives tethered to the ships at various points. The Veendam employed about six of these locomotives, which did not actually pull the vessel. The ship operated on its own power but the locomotives with taut ropes attached to the ship kept the ship centered, even though it was nearly as wide as the channel. These motorized engines drove up and down the tracks on incline and decline ramps as we passed through each lock stage. The doors of each lock were almost completely submerged, but rose as the water emptied from one section of the locks to the next. We started out being raised at a series of three stages, each set of doors submerge as the water level filled to match the next stage.
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The canal is an amazing feat of engineering, especially since it was conceived and built a century ago against all odds. The locks technology, of course, was already well-known, there being a number of examples early in the 19th century. But originally the French engineer put in charge wanted to simply carve a passage straight through the isthmus, as had been his experience building the Suez Canal. However, the isthmus of Panama had mountains and its terrain covered with jungle. It rains – hard – half the year, making construction projects even more difficult. It was an American engineer, John Frank Stevens, who conceived of a series of locks through the mountains, ending in the largest manmade lake at that time, Gatún Lake, the result of damming the river. This dam was necessary in order to maintain the water level of the lake at 88.5 feet.

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Cargo ship owned by Japanese company NYK Line

 

For more on the history of the Panama Canal, the web site is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Canal

An excerpt from another web site explains how a ship goes through the canal:

To transit the Panama Canal, a ship entering from the Atlantic side at Colon would first navigate through roughly seven miles of dredged canal at sea level through marshy lowlands. At Gatun, the vessel would approach the enormous, sloping earthen dam that holds back the water in Gatun Lake. The vessel would then ascend a three-step lock and enter the man-made lake. From there, the next 32 miles of the journey to the Pacific Ocean would be upon the placid waters of Lake Gatun. After passing through the Culebra Cut, the lake would terminate at Pedro Miguel, where the ship would descend down a one-step lock into a small intermediary lake before descending the final two steps back to sea level at Miraflores. From there, the vessel would again navigate through another seven miles of dredged lowlands before entering the Pacific Ocean near Panama City.

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Although the Panamanian jungle was a challenge to the engineers of the canal, the high amount of rain ended up being an advantage: each vessel that passes through the canal uses 52,000,000 gallons of water per transit. An average of 25 ships pass through the canal daily. Multiply these two numbers and the importance of the rainy season becomes obvious – a lot of rain is required to replenish the amount of water displaced each day!
In 2016, construction on widening the locks to accommodate larger ships was completed.

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Gatún Lake is situated between the Gatún Locks on the Caribbean side and the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side. It snakes around in various directions  and has created many islands and peninsulas. The scenic views of this lake were quite pretty.
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In the lake, where we spent about two hours, I saw lots of cargo ships, mostly container ships, with some names I recognized – NYK, MSC – and some with names I was not familiar with. Large container ships have the capacity to carry up to about 14,000 20 ft. containers (or about 7,000 40 ft. containers).

At the far end of the lake, we passed under the Centennial Bridge, a fairly new construction.

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We then entered the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks which lowered the level of the water and we could watch as water poured out into the next section.

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Our ship was released on the Pacific side at 4:00 p.m. before passing under an even larger bridge, the Bridge of the Americas, which cost $104 million to build. This bridge marked the end of the canal and the entrance to the Pacific Ocean.

Both of these bridges sustain a lot of traffic and are high enough for tall ships to pass under them.

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A colorful building on the Panama City side of the isthmus. I don’t know what it is, but my guess is it is an arts center or concert venue.

 

The most difficult part of observing all this was the oppressive heat. I minimized my exposure to the direct sun by staying in the shade as much as possible.  Even though the water was warm, it was refreshing to take a dip in the swimming pool once we were through the canal!

 

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Dale and yours truly on deck

 

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The pool was a refreshing reprieve from the heat!

 

 

 

Ships on the Panama Canal

In March, we took a cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego, passing through the Panama Canal. Besides the amazing engineering that went into construction of this series of locks and lakes through the Isthmus of Panama, there were a variety of different types of ships passing through.  My first career was in export shipping and freight forwarding so the loading and passing  of container ships still holds my interest to this day.

Therefore, it was the perfect opportunity to participate in Nancy Merrill’s Photo A Week challenge with this week’s theme Boats and Ships.

First, let me introduce you to the ship we were on, the M/S Veendam, a smallish member of Holland America Line’s fleet.  Our first stop after sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was at an island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay.  The small boat off to the right is the tender, the boat that shuttles people back and forth from the ship, as there is no place for a cruise ship to dock at Half Moon Cay. Most impressive is the color of the water as it changes from turquoise near shore to dark blue where our ship awaits.

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When we entered the first stage of the canal, alongside us was the much larger cruise ship, the M/S Norwegian Pearl. It was fun to watch as that ship was lowered into a position below that allowed it to enter the first set of locks.

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In the middle of the isthmus is a large man-made lake, Lago Gatún.  This lake was created when the Gatún Dam was built between 1907 and 1913. This lake forms 33 km (21 mi) of the transit through the canal.

 

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Another cruise ship and a cargo ship on Lake Gatun

 

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Cargo ship being towed by a tug boat

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NYK is a major Japanese cargo/container ship company. 

 

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This Maersk Line ship seems to be overflowing with containers!

 

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Maersk Line is a Danish owned carrier which operates many container ships throughout the world.

 

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Loading or unloading at the port of Colon, Panama

 

 

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The small vessel alongside this massive cargo carrier is probably a pilot boat. When a large ship approaches or leaves a port, local pilots are brought out to board the ship to assist the ship’s captain in navigating into or out of the port. This is helpful because local pilots are the most knowledgeable about their local waterways.

Stay tuned for more on the Panama Canal in a future post!