Monday, August 1, 2011

Two Gates, Two Oceans

The two main Oceans of the world the Atlantic and the Pacific are join by two passages that MegaYachts and ships can navigate to go from one to the other. These passages are the Northwest Passage and the Panama Canal. these strips of water provide a fast and efficient route from one Ocean to the other. The Northwest Passage is more extreme and expedition and exploration style yachts only attempt this crossing with their re-enforced ice breaking bows.

The Northwest Passage has been navigated since the early 1900s and was first navigated by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen between 1903 - 1906. The Northwest Passage from west to east runs through the Bering strait, the piece of water that separates Alaska and Russia. From there it runs through the Chukchi sea, Beaufort sea and then through different waterways that go through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. There is between 8 and 10 different routes through the Archipelago, and from here the passage goes through Baffin Bay and the Davis Strait into the Atlantic Ocean. Only some of these routes can be used through out the year, it depends on the ice pack and how far south it has traveled. Up until 2009 the Northwest passage could only be traveled at certain times of the year and due to climate change there is now more water to navigate. Now yachts without ice breaking bows can attempt the passage but it is still left up to the expedition yachts.
MegaYacht Octopus 412ft owned by Microsoft's Paul Allen filed plans with the Canadian coast guard to attempt the passage in September 2010, and was then seen ancored at the northern tip of Baffin Island waiting for it crossing of the passage.
Another MegaYacht that is thought to be preparing its self for the crossing this winter is Big Fish in their trip to circumnavigate the globe. The other Passage between the Oceans is the Panama Canal.

The Panama Canal was built from 1904 - 1914 and is 77km long which goes from the Atlantic Caribbean Sea to The Pacific Gulf of Panama. The construction of this canal was a revolutionary break through in shipping from east to west and west to east. The time was shortened considerably for the ships. The time for ship and MegaTachts to travel from New York to San Francisco has more than halved from 22,500nm to 9,500nm. Close to 1 million vessels have passed through the canal since it opened. The yacht that is maxed out to the limit of what the canal can hold is called a Panamax, so this is where the recently launched Hetairos by Baltis Yachts got its project name Panamax.
There are many superyacht that have made this short journey through the canal so they can go and explore the Pacific and what it has to offer. Some places that yacht will go to are the Galapagos Islands, South Pacific Islands and then on to New Zealand and Australia.
The first attempt at building the Panama Canal was from the French in 1880 but construction was stopped due to the workers suffering from disease. Then the American re-started the canal in 1903 and was completed in 1914. In December 1999 the control of the canal was handed over to the Panamanian Government and is now run by the Panama Canal Authority

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