01/25/2008, Balboa Yacht Club
08/1/21 to 22 Canal Transit - As we left Shelter Bay Marina the rain had started. Motoring over to the flats at around 3 p. m. the wind was howling a good 20 the rain had subsided and the sun was setting over the city of Colon. Many ships were awaiting transit and Gabriella motored amongst them waiting the boarding of our Canal Pilot, Francisco arrive the moon was shining bright close to being full Gabriella continued towards Gatun locks. With the evening sky darkening we entered the first lock with a center tie behind "Afric Star" a very large foreign freighter. The gates closed in the darkness, lines were thrown to Gabriella caught by our line handlers Trevor, Shane, John, and Sandy. Ted was at the helm with our pilot waiting further instructions. I was filming our mark of history on Gabriella's Voyage of Faith. The water started flooding in the darkness reminding me of the recent scene in the movie" National Treasure" where the people are trapped in the City of Gold with the stone door shutting and the water flooding gasping for their lives. Calling my mom on the phone with 2 cameras in my hands I had called Steve some how and was now out of minutes as we are passing through the web cam with family and friends watching. A total of three locks had risen us up 80 to 85 feet meeting the Gatun Lake water level, motoring out of the locks into Lake Gatun where we tied to a large buoy for dinner a good night sleep and grateful hearts to our Lord for safe passage. As we found out later that our friends on 3 Dolphins traveling behind us were slammed into the canal wall from a tugs bow thruster . damaging their dingy secured on aft deck and crushing Oasis their nesting partner. The two sailing vessels were rafted together and side tied to a tug upon departure the tugs bow thrusters we improperly aimed and the power of the water sent them into a 360 spin into the canal wall. Any thing can happen.
In the morning of the 23 we arose early and our new Canal Pilot Amodo arrived and we started our four hour journey at 7:26 a.m. across the lake where we were to enter Mira Flores Locks at 1 p.m.
Our exit through the last three locks which would land us on the Pacific Ocean was extremely smooth as we were side tied to "Atlas 111" a large work -tour boat which allowed a free passage as far as the line handlers are concern as you may have seen on the web camera us all waving. No lines to tend to just relax and enjoy the descending water. Un-tied from Atlas 111 we retreated backwards free from her thrusters allowing her the right away shortly we followed out the locks under the Bridge of Americas into the Pacific Ocean flowing to the shores of Panama City which is a beautiful view from the water as we anchor in Balboa the yachting section of the city.
01/21/2008, Shelter Bay Marina
Tonight is the night . We will leave Shelter May Marina at 3:30 for the flats out side the canal entrance and await our canal pilot who will arrive around 5 p.m. We will then wait until called and go through the first 3 locks continuing on into the lake to spend the night tied up to a mooring ball supposed to be large enough to walk on. This will be around 8 p.m. Our pilot will be picked up by a canal official and return to Gabriella around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. Ted Gail , Trevor, Shane John and Sandy will have dinner and a good night sleep. For this moment we are washing down Gabriella doing final laundry and showers. After crossing through the canal on Tuesday we will have a brief visit in Panama City doing last minute supplies and a cappuchino before heading out to Los Perlas where we will pick up Mary and John and head to the Galapagos Islands..See you on the other side!