The Coral Princess approaches the first lock of the Panama Canal, Atlantic Ocean side
An angled view back toward the open sea as the Coral Princess slowly enters the first lock of the Panama Canal
This little engine is called a mule. Cables are hooked from mules to the ship on both sides and help keep the ship clear of the walls of the canal and get them into the locks
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Holland American Line's Rotterdam approaches the locks of the Panama Canal aided by tug boats.
Men in small boats help get the cables from the mules to the ship.
The Coral Princess is entering the first lock. Across the concrete median the lock on the other side is seen. Two ships can go through the locks at the same time in this way.
Another mule to help guide the ship.
A lock on the other side for a second ship.
The giant doors of the lock can be moved with a small outboard motor.
The mules climb sharp grades to get to the next level of the canal
Looking straight down the side of the ship, it is easy to see how close she actually is to the wall of the lock.
A lot is seen in this photo: the other lock, the tight squeeze of the Coral Princess in its lock, the mules and their tracks, and the water level in the next lock.
While passing through the lock, Coral Princess photographers snapped photos of passengers watching the canal transit from their balconies.
These Coral Princess photographers also were taking pictures as the ship passed through the locks.
Grandma Bert and Grandpa Roy on their balcony as the Coral Princess passes through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal on 2 March 2005, the day before their wedding anniversary.
Here one can see how close the Coral Princess is to the wall of its side of the lock, the lock on the other side, the rail tracks for the mules and a mule approaching the incline, as well as the higher level of the water the ship has to reach.
Holland America Line's Rotterdam followed Coral Princess into the locks.
Forward section of the Rotterdam with passengers gathered to watch their passage through the locks of the Panama Canal.
A mule reaches the top of the incline while maintaining control of the Rotterdam's passage through the locks.
A mule also maintains control of the Rotterdam at the aft end of the ship.
Rotterdam's lock is filling with water. It only takes a few minutes for the water to lift the heavy ship. You can see how much mud is stirred up as the water pours in.
Once the water has reached the next level, the giant gates will be swung open, with a motor no larger than a small boat's outboard motor.
Even though the ships are connected with cables to the mules, men have to aid in guiding them through the locks.
The hydraulics laboratory, where the canal authority makes certain water flows correctly.
Grandma Bert enjoys breakfast on the balcony as the Coral Princess passes through the locks of the Panama Canal.
Grandpa enjoys his breakfast on the balcony of their cabin while the Coral Princess passes through the Gatun locks.
The Gatun Lock control building, which sits between the two locks of the canal.
It takes more than water and mules to operate the Panama Canal. A view of some equipment and Gatun Lake from Grandma and Grandpa's balcony.
The lighthouse near the entrance to the locks of the Panama Canal.
Grandma's picture gives a better idea of where the lighthouse is in relation to the locks.
The lock doors are closed.
A good look at the massive doors. The water behind them already has returned to the lower level.
Grandma is excited about passing through the locks of the Panama Canal!
The water levels are the same, the doors have begun to open, and soon the Rotterdam will move into the next lock of the canal.
A good picture by Grandma Bert of the difference in the water levels in the canal.
As can be seen, the Coral Princess is almost through the locks and approaching Gatun Lake. The mules have disconnected their cables from the ship.
Looking toward the rear of the two ships as they finish passing through the final lock into Gatun Lake.
Another successful transit: The Coral Princess is pulling away from the wall of the locks. Behind can be seen the last of the three locks on the Atlantic Ocean end of the Panama Canal.
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The damn at Gatun Lake after the Coral Princess had pulled out of the last lock.