Traversing locks

This item appears on page 51 of the October 2010 issue.

Walt Huse’s story “Cruising Portugal’s Douro River” (Aug. ’10, pg. 6) brought to mind an observation I wish to share.

Being an Englishman, I was used to locks on the British canals, which date from the 19th century and are made of wood. For many of them, occupants of the passing barges do the work.

On Portuguese vessels this is not so at all, as I learned on a cruise I took in 2006. I was amazed at the modernity of the locks on the Douro River. Vessels apparently were raised or lowered at the press of a button. The raising or lowering was a continuous movement through a distance of 40 to 50 feet. Very impressive!


Chevy Chase, MD