|Rafted up going through the Panama Canal|
|Keeping our eyes on things!|
|Approaching the Canal from The Flats in our "nest"|
We left Shelter Bay Marina at 1530 to begin our passage. We waited in an area called The Flats for the our Canal Advisor, Victor, to board. Each boat has an Advisor on board to assist though the process as the line handling is quite challenging. The delivery boat comes up next to you and a guy steps from one boat to the other with great skill. The helmsman of the delivery boat was very good at easing his boat to ours without bumping us.
There are actually three stages to the transit. First you pass into the Gatun Locks on the east end. This lock has three chambers to raise you up to the level on the interior Gatun Lake - about 26 meters or 84 feet. Each chamber is 110 feet wide and 1000 feet long. The length of this lock set is over a mile long from the entrance to the exit into Gatun Lake.
|We are required to serve hot meals to the Advisor|
Then another monohull, Avocet, did the same on the port side. We are now one unit or as they call it, nesting. It was an interesting test of the nerves having to come up against another yacht while underway. It sure tested my helmsman skills, but I was successful.
|The WARC Fleet passing through the Panama Canal|
|This is not the guy who mess up the lines!|
Then the excitement happened! The ACP linehandler on our stern line was asleep at the switch, as they say! As he was walking up the incline and paying out line, he failed to see that the messenger line became lodged in a concrete crevice. While he kept walking, the line was holding us back and turning our nest sideways. There was a lot of Spanish being thrown back and forth across the canal. I am guessing it was swearing! In fact, I am sure it was and it was very loud!
|Here are the lock gates closing behind us. Next the area|
will fill with water and we will all rise up to the top level.
|Mike on Vivo and Dennis had to maintain control|
after the workers on land messed up.
behind us were wondering what was going on. Later we learned the rumor in the fleet was that the guys on Trillium messed up. Our entire "nest" will set that straight!
|Excitement in the dark - again!|