Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal

My friend Astrid recently went to see the Panama Canal and I so wish I had been there, too!

But luckily Astrid made tons of movies of how a ship went through one of the locks, and kindly let me share those movies here. For your convenience I’ve combined 7 movies spanning the 15 minutes it took the ship to go through the lock into the movie below.

The Miraflores lock is on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. In two steps, ships are lifted or lowered 16.5 m here. That’s about 2/3 of the total height ships are being lifted when traveling through the Panama Canal.

I am so impressed with those locks. Can you imagine the forces they have to withstand? There would be a lot of water spilling if they ever gave way. I wouldn’t want to be downstream of a broken lock…

Also did you notice those “mules”, those tugs, on either side of the basin, keeping the ship in position?