Thursday, July 16, 2009


The Panama Canal Part 2 of 2

After a rainy night out on Gatun lake in the rainforest, we awoke to begin waiting. Waiting for a new Advisor to arrive by boat so that we could head out on our trek through the 3 locks stepping down to the Atlantic Ocean / Caribbean Sea. Interesting wildlife shared our boat that morning – dragonflies on the fingers and a giant beetle to oogle. You know that HAS to by our oldest son, Ryan's hands - he's the only one of us who can tolerate touching these critters.

Then we were off! The second day of our adventure went quite smoothly. All tossed lines were caught and we looked like professionals. Of course, we only had to catch lines that were tossed a short distance as now we entered the locks when the water level was almost to the top of the walls so we were close to the canal workers. Then the gates would close behind us and the water level would drop quickly.

So where’s Terry in all these photos? Well, I was the cook! Yep. Somebody had to feed this crew of 8 hungry people and that took a lot of meal, beverage and snack preparation and clean-up. As the only member of the crew, besides Jonesy who was at the helm, who doesn’t get seasick, I’m assigned the “down below” chores. My boys love to cook – but they just hadn’t been on the boat again long enough to get their sea tummies. And our friends were having a tough go of it too.

The "fun" began when we left the last lock and entered the big ocean. Wind! Lots of wind - at least 25 knots right on the nose. With this wind came waves. Welcome to the Caribbean! Our poor crew were once again popping sea sickness pills and looking a little pale around their sunburns. We motored towards the Shelter Bay Marina where we planned to spend a couple of nights resting. There were big ships moored everywhere and we had to dodge these monsters in the rough seas, figure out where to go, and avoid the shallow spots where other sailboats had run aground. Quite stressful for Jonesy at the helm.

The marina was our only option as just a few weeks before, the company which operates the freight terminal had bulldozed the Panama Yacht Club! So there was no use going to anchor over in that area (known as "the flats") because there was no way to get to shore anymore - no dinghy dock.

But, we made it safe and sound. Brett had even thought enough ahead to have bought a bottle of champagne so we toasted the sucessful transit (note the classy plastic glasses). Next adventure...the San Blas Islands of the Kuna Yala.

Wow! That is so exciting to read -- you're just like one of those old serial stories: "Stay tuned for next week's exciting episode!" :)
Oh! I really do NOT like that bug!
Was that on your boat? I would not like that at all.
Is that "Hunky guy" in the brown T-shirt, your son?
Yep - the bug was on our boat, and yep - the hunky guy is my baby boy, Brett!
Do you have to pay to go through the locks? Is there a limit of how many times in how many days you can go back and forth? I know, why would you want to.
That trip makes our complaints about adventures in the locks on the Mississippi seem like pikers. Very interesting!
He's a cutie!
Not the bug... your son!
So the Carribbean is known to be rough? Can't wait to see more places!
I agree, your hunky son is an absolute doll!
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