THE Panama Canal is amazing. 51 miles from Pacific to Carribean, it carries much commercial product distribution AND people. The tolls range based on weight and such, varying from $331,000 to $0.36 (for a skinny swimmer). It was a thrill to see how the ships go into the Miraflores lock from Lake Gatun (manmade by flooding the valleys, making mountains into islands). The ship hangs out for about 10 minutes while the lock drains to the level of the next lock (or sea) and then the gate opens, as in the image. The canal was built by USA in 1914 after a failed attempt and turned over to Panama management in December 1999. The Panamanians are doing a great job and are now building a new set of locks for 2014 opening to accommocate larger/longer ships than the current "Panamax" size. Incredible engineering feat.