Linking the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Panama Canal provides one of cruising's most unforgettable experiences. Over 10 years were needed to complete the canal's 51 miles in 1914 - so avoiding the lengthy and often dangerous voyage around Cape Horn. 'The Big Ditch' lifts vessels by a fascinating feat of mechanics aided by on-shore 'mule' locomotives through three great locks, traversing man-made lakes, channels blasted through rock, and the dense jungle. Two other special highlights of the canal are Gatun Lake and the Gaillard cut. Gatun Lake is one of the world's largest man-made lakes covering 163 square miles. Gaillard Cut is an 8 mile channel built through solid rock which was the most difficult excavation in the canal construction.
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