|This freighter pilot leaned on its horn when Wayne guessed|
incorrectly where it was headed. Wayne adjusted course rapidly.
“Small yachts look out of place on the Panama canal lock,” notes our Panama Cruising Guide. With three days left to our Panama canal transit, it was time to leave our lazy days in Portobelo behind.
|Playing freighter slalom was required|
on our return to Shelter Bay Marina from
Portobelo. Each circle on our AIS
represents a ship – all were huge
freighters — within a 5 mile radius of
our little sailboat. Of course, many
were on the move – fast!
Here’s our canal prep checklist,
done without an agent,
in early part
of canal transit busy season
- Feb 1 2015Download required forms and submit to Panama Canal authorities with desired canal transit date of Feb 13, 2015
- Confirm paperwork received
- Feb 2 2015Set up appointment for Admeasure
- Feb 3 2015 Admeasure
- Feb 3 2015Visit designated bank in crime-ridden Colon to deposit $1800 cash for canal transit – unsuccessful as our cash included Euros which the bank would not accept or exchange*
- Feb 3 2015Contact friends and family to coordinate logistics for their availability as line handlers
- Feb 4 2015Return to crime-ridden Colon to find place to exchange Euros* and deposit $1800 cash for canal transit*
- Feb 4 2015Contact canal authorities to confirm desired transit date
- Feb 4 2015Arrange for rental of fenders (tires) and special lines for canal transit and pay RSVP deposit*
- Feb 9 2015Beg on Facebook to see if anyone can catch us on the live cams when we come through the canal locks (thank you Terry Toland & Bertie Weaver if you can!)
- Feb 10 2015Confirm delivery of fenders and lines
- Feb 11 2015Receive fenders and lines
- Feb 11 2015Stock up on provisions for us, line handlers and canal advisor (7-8 aboard for 2 days)
- Feb 11 2015Top off water supply
- Feb 11 2015Get laundry done (& take real showers land-based showers!)
- Feb 11 2015Move closer to Colon, outside Club Nautico anchorage (if room)
- Feb 12 2015Confirm canal transit date and time
- Feb 12 2015If internet available, update potential live cam followers of our ETA
- Feb 12 2015Prepare some transit food ahead of time
- Feb 12 2015Make final arrangements on when and where to meet friends and family
- Feb 12 2015Do another provisioning run? TBD
- Feb 13 2015Meet friends and family coming in as line handlers for canal transit
- Feb 13 2015Queue up for canal transit in the Flats
- Feb 13 2015Go! (then the real excitement begins! Transit takes 2 days)
|These pilings were added to the original rocks to form the |
protective breakwater into the canal and as well to
Shelter Bay Marina. While they were bathed in
lovely sunset hues, Wayne was squinting into the sun
on our way into the marina.
*For ~$450, these are the only steps that would be skipped if we went through an agent. We would pay the agent, who would handle the payment to the canal authorities, and also would provide our fenders, which we are paying about $100 for to rent them through Tito
|Panama canal map, courtesy Wikipedia.|
Start to finish, the canal is 48 miles,
as it traverses the Atlantic/Caribbean side
of Panama to the Pacific. At least, that’s
the direction we’ll be taking it.
|Miraculously, we were eating dinner in our|
cockpit by sunset at Shelter Bay Marina.
The temperature was perfect, though the
no-see-ums drove us inside our cabin
as we finished.