Friday, January 22, 2016

FTV Transit Through the Panama Canal

Midnight at Milaforas Locks
Courtesy of Carol Eccleston
 We have final made it to the Panama Canal! This morning at around 0800 hours we anchored inside the break water of the canal. All around us there were many, many other vessels in anchorages waiting for their turn to go through the canal. Some vessels were also transferring cargo to other vessels so that the new ship could go continue the passage.

After seeing all of these ships and waiting a little bit more we proceeded to wait for quite some time. While we waited in the anchorage many people came on board. We had the canal pilots, the canal agent, and different inspectors come to make sure that we could bring the Kennedy through the
canal. Included in our groups of visitors we had a lot of  Mass Maritime alumni that were from Panama.  This was a great time to catch up with them.

Gatun locks
 Courtesy of Carol Eccleston
When it was finally our time to go in to the locks the tugs and we preceded into the first lock. The first lock took the Kennedy and raised us 80 feet up in to the next lock. We then went in to two more locks where we then went in to a giant lake. While we were in the lock, because the Kennedy is not a full Panamax sized vessel we shared the locks with two small sailboats that were tied up to a barge. We traveled through the lake for quite some time and then we preceded into an area the resembled more of a canal. We went under the bridge of the Americas and continued sailing through.

The set of locks were different. Instead of raising us it brought us down to another body of water and the next and final lock brought us down another level. By this time we exited the canal it was 2300.

We are now approaching our pier to dock and experience Panama City! This was truly an amazing experience to see and go through one of the man-made marvels in the world.  And just think we all get to do it again to come home!

Keep reading to hear about all of our fun adventures in Panama City!

Once we completed our Canal passage, we entered the Pacific Ocean, the home of El Nino. El Nino refers to the irregular warming in the sea surface temperature from the coasts of Peru and Ecuador to the equatorial central Pacific. This causes a disruption of the ocean-atmospheric system in the tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather around the globe. This phenomenon is not totally predictable but on average it occurs once every four years. It lasts for about 18 months and can effect the weather throughout the U.S.A. Learn more.

Explore the weather phenomena El Niño and La Niña and their effects, map where they occur, and discuss the benefits of accurately predicting these phenomena.
Use data to build understanding of the changes that happen to the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere during an El Niño event.
El Nino Returns; examine temperature and precipitation data to determine if climate variations are due to El Niño.

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