Saturday, June 21, 2008

Colon N 09 20.879; W 079 54.134 -May 21 – June 2008

Gary’s first Canal Transit

We were very lucky to get a mooring at the Panama Canal Yacht Club. Med mooring with a big back yard for Doc. Gary had an opportunity to do a transit with the S/y Skylax with Captain Rod and first mate Lu. It was a great experience and a good idea to do your first transit on someone else’s boat before taking your own thru. And what I learned is that it is all about the timing…and the pilot is late for it all! Making it 1am before completing the first three up locks…it was quite easy, the key is having line handlers who can pull in the line or let it out corresponding with the flow in/out of the lock. After spending the night on Gaton Lake the early morning transit (7am) became more like leaving at 9am ‘cause that’s when the pilot showed up…but no hassle or worry as long as they are well fed. As long as you can make 8 knots (that’s the regulation, the reality was more like 5 kts) but no worries mate! We arrived to brisk headwinds in Panama and the anchorage of Balboa was not inviting in any way. The 2 hour bus ride back to Cristobel/Colon was exciting to say the least…involving a brutal physical attack, the army and police and a screaming woman…to make a long story short… be very careful in Panama!

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