Into the Pacific
18 March 2018 | Balboa, Panama
Into the Pacific! Ok, we have been bad. No updates and this one will be short as well. We went home for most of the summer (2017) and visited and flew for 5 months. Returned to the boat in October in Bocas and worked on getting it ready for the Pacific. Due to weather seasons in the Pacific we picked a day of March 15 to be on the Pacific side of Panama. Lots of boat work in the meantime, service winches, windlass, cars, engine and, well, you name it. The list is a page and a half. Shawnda visited us in Bocas for Christmas taking a break from her 6 months of back packing Central America. It rained all but 3 days of her 3 week visit�... We did mention to her that since she was off work until May why not cross the Pacific with us? Her answer was �"no�" but the seed was set. About a month after her leaving she decided to join us after all! We were very happy! So she joined us in Colon prior to the Canal Transit. We sailed from Bocas to Colon in early January with the plan to get hauled for new bottom paint prior to the Pacific. That �"planned�" 7 day haul turned into 25 days. We had some issues with blisters on the outside of the keel and rudder, not into the fiberglass but between the epoxy coat and paint. The hull was fine. We ended up having the keel and rudder sandblasted down to the glass and did the repair including flying in Epoxy Barrier Coat from the US. The transport cost more than the 3 gallons of Barrier Coat�... So, we only launched the boat 4 days prior to our transit date, not the 2 weeks were planning. So much for a leisurely last few days to provision, sight see and get ready. Finally yesterday, March 18, our �"assigned�" transit date arrived. The night before we repositioned to the �"flats�" anchorage just prior to the canal entrance. (Should be call Mud Flats, the anchor is now a gooey mess) At 4:30 AM the �"Pilot Advisor�" joined us (via Pilot Boat) and off we went in the dark. You are required to have 4 line handlers on board so we hired 4 that do it part time vs. getting other cruisers who may or may not know what they are doing. Glad we did! The transit went smooth as silk. A couple of days prior to our transit a boat from the marina we were staying in went through the canal and a girl lost a finger handling the lines. So, we entered the first lock at Gatun at around 6 AM just as it was getting light. Most transits start in the afternoon and go up to Gatun Lake and moor for the night and then continue the next day. Ours however, was set to go all the way through in one day. Better for us! It was great going through the canal. Lots of BIG ships up real close including a US Military supply ship in the lock beside us as well as a cruise ship in the lock behind us. Photos to come�.... Oh, and one rather large Crocodile getting a sun tan on the shore of the canal. So, all the way through and into the Pacific Ocean by 4 PM! Here we are at the Balboa Yacht Club on a mooring for a couple of days while we finish up the last details, check weather, getting the satellite tracking working (there will be a NEW tracking link on our Website) and picking up a few last minute items. Top of the list: Peanut Butter! When we check out of Panama we will be heading to Les Perlas Islands, just a day sail away. We will stop there for a couple of days for final rigging of the boat for sea and re-commission the water maker. I can�'t do that here, the water is too dirty. Sorry this is so short but will be updating more often going forward. I hope to have time to upload photos before we leave.
Re new test 99
05 March 2018 | colon
Thanks Brian! Hope you are doing well. Canal transit on Saturday.... busy, busy....