Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dam, That's Big

The Three Gorges Dam

Chinese characters reading "Three Gorges Dam Site."  The first character with the three lines means three - the only Chinese character we will never forget!
David standing in front of the dam

Our three-day trip down the Yangtze culminated with a visit to the Three Gorges Dam.  It is impossible to understate how large it is - 1.45 miles wide and 594 feet tall.  It is the largest powerplant in the world.  As of last month, all of the turbines are up and running giving it a capacity of 22,500 mW.  By comparison for those of you in Sylvania, Vogtle has a capacity of 2,400 mW (4,600 mW after the new reactors go online).

The locks by day

But the coolest part of the visit wasn’t even the dam – it was getting our big cruise ship around the dam.  There is a series of five huge locks connecting the reservoir with the river downstream.  We pulled into the first lock after the cultural dance show on our third night, and everyone rushed up to the top deck.  We stayed up late watching as our boat stepped down through the locks along with another cruise ship and a couple of big coal barges.

Taken from the top deck of our cruise ship after we arrived in the first lock.  Two coal barges are on the right side and another cruise ship is entering behind us.
Sara on the top deck of the cruise ship touching the wall of the lock - that's how close we were!
When we entered the lock the water level was just under 155 meters above sea level
When we left the lock just fifteen minutes later, the water level was just under 135 meters.  It was amazing how quickly we dropped!


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