9:00 pm update for delay of the transit of the canal Thursday night
January 26, 2012, 8:05 pm, 9 18.21'N:79 55.17'W, Enterance to the Gatun Locks Panama Canal
We are motoing to the locks now. 1.3 miles from entrance. ETA close to 10pm.
Delay of the transit of the canal Thursday night
January 26, 2012, 6:02 pm, 9 20.66'N:79 54.62'W, Enterance to the Gatun Locks Panama Canal
For those of you watching the web cam tonight to see us go thru the Gatun Locks, we are waiting at anchor outside the entrance to the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. Just recieved word that the Agents are delayed and our epected time to enter the locks is now 9:00 pm eastern. If this changes I will update the blog again. It will be a late night for us. We will not be anchoring until 3 am in the morning. Wonder when we will be leaving in the morning for the next locks. Hopefully, it won't be 6am. But if not, then the rest of the trip will be delyed as well.
After today, it will be harder to turn back
January 26, 2012, 7:12 am, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon Panama
We start the transit of the canal today. Janet, our friend Andrea and I visited the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal yesterday. It was very interesting to see. The pictures of the passage to Panama, the San Blas Islands and our tour of the canal are now posted to the photo gallery. Take a look under the folder of Panama.
Here is the schedule of events for our canal transit (in eastern time).
Leave the marina at noon today, Thursday 1/26
Anchor just before the Gatun locks from 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Raft with a catamaran " Southern Cross" and a sloop "Glamorous Galah"
Were are boarded by canal agents (1 per boat) to assist us thru the canal
A group of 4 rafts of a total of 11 boats enter the first of 3 canal locks at 6 pm and exit near midnight. We then anchor just outside of the locks.
We should be in the last raft of boats. You may be able to see At Last and the rest of the boats go thru these locks in real-time by looking at the web cam at the Gatun locks at this link. Though the locks are lighted, the picture may not be that good given the night time conditions
There are lines cast from the top of the locks to the boats in the canal. These lines are handled by men who walk the distance of the locks and keep the boats from hitting the canal walls.
Friday at 6 am we are boarded again by the agents to motor to the second set of locks. We enter the lock around 9 am.
At approximately 11am - 12 noon on Friday, the group of 4 rafts enter the last set of locks called Miraflores. You can see us and the rest of the boats go thru these locks in real-time by looking at the web cam at the Miraflores locks at this link. If someone could record us going thru the lock or take a snap shot, it would be great. This will be a very interesting experience.
Remember you can see the location of the boats at any time by clicking on the link to the World ARC Circumnavigation on the left side of our home page. Then click on the link to the "fleet viewer" in the upper right corner. The location of the boats will be updated every 20 minutes to this web site during the canal transit.
We exit the lock to the Pacific Ocean around 3:00 pm and anchor near Panama City. We will be updating the blog again once we are thru the canal.
Thanks for all of the comments to the blog. They are always appreciated and fun to read.
What to do
January 21, 2012, 3:38 pm, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
We are here until our transit of the canal on January 26, 2012. We are thrilled that our good friend Andrea will be joining us for the transit. She arrives on the 23rd and Mark and I want to get as much of the work done as possible before she gets here. That may be close to impossible given our to do lists which we are sharing with you:
Vacuum out all air conditioning screens
Empty water from air conditioning unit in main cabin, check other units
Wash galley floor
Wash cushions in main cabin
Provisioning (grocery shopping)
Cook and freeze meals for next several passages
Clean and drain fridge and freezer, defrost freezer
Wipe down all of the interior wood
Close macerator seacock
Check shower drains for clogs (YUCK!!!)
Wash bathing suits in hand crank washing machine
Clean enclosure windows inside and out
Clean stainless on the deck
Fix traveler which is making a clicking sound
Tighten bolts on the windless
Unfurl spinnaker and retie lines which were fowled
Adjust staysail which is too loose
Fix wind anometer (this will require me hoisting Mark up to the top of the mast)
Fix swim platform (yes, the same side broke again on the passage)
Fix clicking of the auto pilot
Blow up extra fenders for transit through canal
Change generator oil and filters
Recalibrate anchor rode counter
Fix short in VHF radio in cockpit
Replenish important boat supplies (vodka)
Edit Janet's Blog postings
Show Janet how to post the pictures to the blog gallery
Call Mom and Grace
Find a picture to insert into this posting
That is all for now, we need to get back to work!
This commute has some heavy traffic
January 20, 2012, 3:14 pm, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
This is a picture of our GPS unit as we are entering the breakwater of the canal. The marina we are staying at is just inside the breakwater. Each triangle on the GPS readout is one ship. That is how many boats there were today as we began to enter the canal. Almost all of the boats were anchored and waiting to transit the canal. Mark went through the AIS list (the larger boats transmit information which we can view on our GPS unit) and found that the largest boat was almost 1,000 feet. We cannot believe that we will be going through the canal at the same time as many of these huge cargo ships. It will be amazing.
We had some difficulties getting into the marina today. We were one of quite a few boats that were arriving at the marina and unfortunately we were all arriving at once. The World ARC staff were trying to get everyone settled as quickly as possible which was made even worse by high winds. We ended up on a dock with no electricity for several hours but later were assigned a slip with services. Mark and I got off the boat and checked in at the marina office. We went and had lunch at the restaurant and then for a swim in the pool. Delightful! Back on the boat Mark took a much deserved nap while I began to clean the boat. After Mark's nap, we moved the boat to our new slip and quickly plugged into the shore power. Now, we can use our air conditioning and I will be making some bread in my bread maker. The joys of shore power!
January 19, 2012, 2:17 pm, Bahia de Portobello
After a rather uneventful (finally) day sail, we dropped anchor in Portobello Bay in the late afternoon. We anchored again in about fifty feet of water and got good holding straight away. We have begun to adjust quickly to some of the daily changes we are experiencing in how we sail. We are now used to winds much greater than what we would sail in previously. If it was ever blowing 30 knots in Narragansett Bay we would never leave the slip. During our recent passage, we saw how well the boat could handle 40 knot winds and seem to have adjusted. We would also never leave the slip if the seas were going to be over 5 feet. Now, we realize that our boat can handle 20 foot seas. I cannot say that I enjoy these enhanced conditions but they are tolerable. Finally, we have begun to anchor in 50 plus feet of water when we would typically anchor in 10 to 12 feet of water back home. You definitely need to let out more chain and we are typically letting out over 200 feet when we anchor in the deeper waters. Luckily, we are finding that the sea beds are often clay which is excellent holding. I am also getting a better night's sleep while on anchor by having more confidence in our ability to anchor safely. I also think my good sleeping is because I am exhausted every night by about nine o'clock and am getting up very early every morning. This is quite unusual for me but we both seems to be going to sleep and rising more in line with the rising and setting of the sun.
Homes on the shore of Portobella Bay
A Warm Welcome from the Kuna Indians
January 18, 2012, 1:45 pm, Cayos Chichime, San Blas Islands
We arrived in Chichime Island late in the day after getting through customs and immigration at Porvenir. Today, we are being hosted by Umberto and his family at their village on the island. It is a rendezvous for the entire fleet which has all arrived in San Blas by now. It will be our first chance to see everyone and catch up on how everyone made out on the passage from St. Lucia.
The Kuna Indians inhabit much of the San Blas Islands. Their population is approximately 55,000 people. Their mainstay of the Kuna economy is coconuts which can be found abundantly on each of the islands. The Kuna women also sell molas, which are intricately embroidered fabrics. When you anchor at any of the islands, the Kuna women will paddle up to your boat in their ulus which is a dug out tree. We purchased bananas, a pineapple and a mola from some of the woman who came to our boat. Other boats were offered fresh lobsters that the men would go out and catch for them. The woman did ask us to fill their water jugs which we did gladly and other boats were asked to charge their cell phones.
At the rendezvous, we had a huge pot luck and were entertained by Umberto's family when they did a traditional dance and played music with a type of wind instrument. We were able to see many molas and other jewelry that the Kuna Indians craft and sell. Many of the Kuna were dressed in their traditional garb while others wore more American clothing. The homes that they live in are huts with compacted sand floors. The huts have hammocks in them and little other furniture. The walls of the huts are made out of cane and the roofs are made from a special palm leaf found in the jungle. The structures are completely held together by jungle creepers. The roofs last approximately 15 years and can withstand high winds and heavy rains.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in San Blas and were very taken with the Kula Indians. They live very long, disease free lives. They are often studied by medical researchers to better understand why they live so long and healthy lives. We were very curious about their way of life.
Unfortunately, we are leaving tomorrow to make the two day trip to the Shelter Bay Marina in Panama. I cannot imagine how many times on this trip we will feel saddened having to leave.