|Gatun locks Panama Canal gates open; view from visitor center.|
“Twenty-four point six million gallons flow through the locks in ten minuted via our gravity-fed system” the Panama Canal Gatun Locks visitor center tour guide informed us. That’s a LOT of water!
|Gatun Locks Panama Canal closed. The crew walking across|
the gate give you an idea of scale. Notice the difference in
water level? Locks are basically water elevators.
Tomorrow afternoon, between 4 and 6 pm we’ll be flowing through along with it; amid the afternoon wave of smaller boats — the freighters and cruise ship we observed were part of the early wave. Every day 35-40 boats transit the locks, we’re not sure how many will be in “our fleet.” Checking out the Panama Canal locks at the nearby Gatun Locks visitor center seemed like a good way to spend the afternoon together, our crew of six plus a canal advisor we’ll meet tomorrow.
|Our Panama Canal transit crew: Ron Bergman, Wayne, |
Tricia Bergman, Gunnel Seitz and Phil Seitz
(and me, taking the photo, not in it).
Our crew includes Wayne as the captain and pilot, me, Wayne’s dad Phil, who introduced Wayne to cruising, his wife Gunnel also a seasoned cruiser, and our dear and adventurous former Vancouver WA friends Ron and Tricia, experienced river rafter and happy to come along for the ride. Lucky for us, Panama is on their list of potential future places to live and the timing worked out perfectly. We’ll also be joined by a canal advisor; required aboard each transiting boat.
Nonetheless, all four seemed relieved they were staying in a nearby hotel tonight as our anchorage was rolly as heck. Over dinner aboard tonight, the plates were flying, due to a good stiff wind and lots of pilot boats kicking up wakes as they zipped by our “anchorage” outside Club Nautico. Ironically, the huge Princess Coral cruise ship that passed us by only 100 feet or so, and the massive freighters docking across from us for loading and unloading caused barely a ripple.
|Tito at forefront, offers lines and “fenders” for rent for the|
Panama canal crossing. Here’s he’s dropping off ours
at Shelter Bay Marina.
Yesterday we received our rented “fenders” (plastic wrapped tires) and special canal line at Shelter Bay marina, which we’ll return as soon as we arrive on the Pacific side, in time for the large rally following through the next day to use them.
Today’s dinner was a good test drive; it’s been years since I’ve cooked for more than four, and the first time I’ve done so aboard out boat. As our galley is only large enough for one person, with minimal counter space most of which doubles for access to the fridge (cold drinks!) and freezer, cooking anything is a challenge. And did I mention it was rolly?
Tonight’s leftover BBQ chicken will provide the meat for our main meal tomorrow, “Havana Hash.” It’s a dish I invented in Cuba when we were scraping by as we were unable to resupply our food until we could exchange some of our cash for Cuban CUCs. I’m hoping our guests will like it as much as we did. Here’s the recipe, when I make it just for two:
|Boats basked in the morning light anchored at the work yard|
near our current anchorage.