Panama Day 3- Panama Canal

I got up early again and had pancakes and bananas, again, for breakfast. The plan was to head to the Panama canal this morning since my brother was supposedly arriving in the afternoon and he had already been to the canal.

At breakfast I saw Lucinda who had gathered a group together since it was a popular destination. In total there were 6 of us.

We took 2 separate cabs and the driver agreed to $8 for each to the Miraflores locks.
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The canal was a 15 minute drive from Casco Viejo. Full entry was $8 which included the viewpoint, a movie, and the museum.
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There were a few levels for the view point, and it took about 45 minutes for us to watch a ship come through. It was pretty interesting.
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Basically there are 3 locks on each side, the pacific and Atlantic sides. There is a big lake in the middle which is above sea level which is why they need locks to lift the ships then bring them back to sea level.
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The canal was celebrating its 100 year anniversary and they were adding a 3rd channel that is bigger and deeper to accommodate larger ships.
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The ships would queue up in the bay and have to wait 30 hours before they could proceed through the canal. In total it takes 8-10 hours for a vessel to go through and I heard they pay by weight about 20 grand to pass through.
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The museum was pretty interesting and also took about 45 mins to explore. There were 3 levels that went over the construction and upgrade of the canal.
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The movie was short and fairly entertaining but could have done without. It played twice per hour, alternating between English and Spanish. I thought the shipping route map was interesting.
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On the way back the cab wanted $12, since obviously we needed them to get home and they knew that. We jumped in an unmarked taxi which was a little sketchy as the guy didn’t want to get in trouble by the cops for bringing us.

We got out at the fish market down the road and got some serviche, which is basically raw fish mixed with lemon, onions, etc. It was very fresh and very good. Was $7 for that and a soda which seemed very cheap for all that fish, squid, and lobster.
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When we got back to the hostel, my brother was there. I was glad to see he made it.

We hung out for the rest of the afternoon just relaxing. We were trying to decide what to do the next day since we knew we definitely did not want to be in the city anymore.

We planned to head over to Santa Catalina where we could get to do some great diving on Coiba. I was told there are big things to see there like whales and sharks.

Our other option was Portobelo which actually sounded really cool. There were abandoned cannons there sunken underwater with coral and sunken warships you could dive. Ultimately, we decided against this since it was out of the way and we wanted to start covering so!r ground.

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