Photo of the Week
December 3, 2017

While doing research for the past couple of months about the first transits and blowing the Gamboa Dike, I had a thought as to why there wasn't much information about trial transits on the Pacific side.  While reading about the Cucaracha Slide I found this information from the Canal Record Vol. VII October 15, 1913:

"The first lockage at the Pacific end of the Canal was effected on Tuesday, October 14, when clapet No. 6, the tug Miraflores with three barges, and the steam launch Birdena, were raised together through the west flight of Miraflores Locks, from the Pacific entrance channel to the surface of Miraflores Lake, which was at elevation plus 36.82 feet at 8 a. m., on that date. '

The lockage was made without hitch of any kind, the gates, valves, controlling machines, and motors operating with the precision that has been obtained in the operations at Gatun Locks. The passage of the vessels was begun at 11:11 a. m.; they entered the lower level at 11:15 a. m., were raised to the elevation of the upper level at 12.15 p. m., and passed beyond the upper guard gates at 12.41 p. m. The entire operation consumed one hour and 30 minutes.

The gates and machinery of the east flight at Pedro Miguel Locks were in readiness to effect the lift to Culebra Cut on the same day, though it was impracticable to do so, because of insufficient depth of water in the Cut south of Cucaracha slide. The tug, clapet, and launch returned to Balboa, the return lockage occupying 45 minutes in time. When the water in the south end of the Cut is sufficiently deep to allow the passage of the vessels to Cucaracha slide, pipeline suction dredge No. S3 will be brought from its work at the Balboa terminal through Miraflores Locks and be passed through the single lift at Pedro Miguel Locks to Culebra Cut. The barges now in the lake are loaded with trusses and other materials to be used in the removal of the portable span recently installed in bridge No. 57 of the Panama railroad, across the Cut at Paraiso, when it is desired to pass vessels through the bridge."

The reference about the Cucaracha Slide was very significant and proved to be a major obstacle for water to enter the canal just north of Pedro Miguel Locks.   We will visit the situation of the Cucaracha Slide next week.  I never realized how significant the Cucaracha Slide was in almost stopping progress on the Canal.  With the blowing up of the Gamboa Dike, the water was supposed to fill the entire cut, and not just part of it.


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