FROM ONE OCEAN TO ANOTHER
02/02/2013, 09 22'N:79 57'W, PANAMA
FINALLY, A CONFIRMED TRANSIT DATE: FEB. 8
For our transit we leave from Colon on the Atlantic side and move to the locks where we will be lifted 85 ft. in three steps to Gatun Lake. After crossing the 31 mile lake, we will be dropped 31 ft. in a single step to Pedro Miguel and then enter Miraflores Lake. A mile further south, a double lockage and the final drop of 54 ft to the Pacific Ocean.
The water necessary to lock a ship through comes from Gatum Lake, a lake created by damming the River Chagres. This fresh water is funneled to the locks via a gravity system. Ships transiting the Canal use 52 million gallons of water in transiting through.
Moonbeam has been officially measured (photo above), fees paid and the boat is ready. One day before, we will be set up with the necessary 8 protection tires and the lines. Requirements for any yacht "locking through" is one skipper, one Panamanian "advisor", and 4 people for line handling the 150 ft one inch diameter lines. Handlers, 2 on each side, to make sure the boat is tied properly to the lock walls or to next boat.
Prior to Moonbeam's transit, Ken and Nancy have signed on as line handlers today on a Beneteau 46. Mike has also been able to pick up a handler's job on a very interesting boat that has been 'round the world and then he is flying home from Panama City on Feb 5. We will miss him, but glad that he has an opportunity to do a transit. Ken and Nancy return to Moonbeam by bus.
ABANDONED IN 1999
01/31/2013, 09 22'N:79 57'W, PANAMA
ABANDONED SINCE 1999
When the Americans departed, left behind were many of the support buildings for the canal's management, houses, a solar field and more. Still standing, they are derelict and gradually falling apart.
Before the Americans, there were Colombians and Spaniards. But the land really belongs to the original peoples of many thousands years ago. Indigenous peoples of various linguist groups living here for thousands of years before the Spanish arrived with their looted gold and silver from Peru in the sixteenth century.
Later in 1821, a wave of revolutionary forces transferred Panama to custody of the Columbian government. Attempts by the Panamanians to secede all failed until the U.S. arrived with a plan for a canal and gave support to the secessionists. A number of successful skirmishes resulted in Pres. Teddy Roosevelt recognizing the Republic of Panama. It was 1903. The following year a treaty was signed, giving America the right to control a strip of land along the canal's route, in perpetuity.
It took ten years to build, but in August 1914, the canal opened. Unrest and discontent between the two countries persisted as the U.S. held onto the Canal Zone, a country within a country. In 1977 a new treaty was signed transferring the canal to Panama in 22 years. On December 31, 1999, the canal and its administration were permanently handed over to Panama.
IT WAS A GREAT RIDE
01/29/2013, 09 22'N:79 57'W, SHELTER BAY MARINA
Any trip that begins with 4 straight days of perfect sailing and ends with 4 happy crew members is a great ride. We especially want to thank all of those that have been following our trip on the blog with comments and emails. While we can't respond to all of them, we do read them and appreciate greatly the support. KEEP THEM COMING.
The picture above is of the 4 happy crew members. Lee, Nancy, Ken and Michael.