We arrived there at about 3pm when a heavy downpour started. Massive cauliflower clouds had already warned us and finally a pitch black cloud opened her bowls. Fortunately we found shelter on the veranda of the visitor center`s cafe which is also the observation point for Miraflores spectators. The locks were empty then - no ships were in sight.
The shower lasted about 30 minutes; shortly after it had stopped, ships appeared on the horizon, approaching from the land side. First we spotted a huge container ship on the horizon behind the locks which went to another lock system. Those vessels are too big for the 1914 completed original canal and they use a third system of locks, part of the Panama Canal expansion project, which were finished in 2016 (I recommend reading the fascinating history of the canal construction. Here my review driveby ).
Minutes later more ships approached, this time heading to the Miraflores locks. The complex contains 4 chambers, two parallel, so that two big ships can pass the locks simultaneously. The ships are not allowed to run their own engines, instead the vessels are moved by strong rail-bound locomotives, called mules. Four of them are pulling the ship, two are behind the vessel, correcting the passage.
Observing the Miraflores locks was quite an experience.