Days like this make me so glad I own a ragtop.
Got a fabulous email from former and soon to be neighbors again the Foleys. They have transited the Panama Canal. Here’s Lisas email.
After a long wait and multiple changes in dates and times for various reasons, we have successfully transited the Panama Canal!
March 17 - St. Patrick's Day was the day Albatross transited the Panama Canal. It is required to have 4 line handlers and a Canal Advisor aboard, as well as the vessels captain and crew. We were lucky to have other sailors offer to come along with us so Rick and Sue from s/v Moonshine and Mark and his young son Oscar from s/v Xanadu accompanied the Albatross crew. All said we had 6 adults and 3 boys ages 10-12 aboard our 32 foot boat. It was a bit crowded but with a bit of food and storytelling we made it work.
We had a great advisor, Carlos who's regular job in the canal is working one of the largest cranes in the world - Titan. Every 3 months he gets to climb to the top and inspect the pulleys. Not sure what danger pay is here in Panama.
We went thru the 3 Milaflores Locks with a 450 foot Pleasure boat - Serene and two ferries fully loaded with of tourists! The kids had fun and sold lanyards and palm frond birds to the tourists, they got lots of cash and even had the steward toss them several cans of soda - great for the sugar burst and nowhere to go later!
As we transited the Guillard cut and Gatun Lake the winds built but our advisor was very knowledgeable about the canal so lots of stories.
Carlos even drove our boat and was happier than a clam, even when it started to rain he stayed driving and when we could put the sails up and motor sail for extra speed he did very well.
Still after trying hard we did not make it to the second set of locks in time so we anchored in Gatun lake in 70 feet, there used to be a buoy to tie to but things change every day in Panama and it has now been removed. Sleeping was a bit of a challenge but the boys got 3 in the V-berth and only one person had to sleep in the cockpit.
Unfortunately, we had a canal workboat wake us (zips past us at high speed and creates huge wakes just for the fun of seeing us rock and roll - happens way too much here in Panama!) We rocked rail to rail and didn't lose a person thankfully, but the solar panels which had to be removed for the transit and were just being repositioned to allow for sleeping, took a dive, never to be seen again!
After a somber night, we did some early morning fishing but did not come up with any panels. Our second day of transit was with a different advisor who we all disliked immediately, we got into the 1st lock and tied up to a workboat, then watched as the Nord Spirit ship squeezed into the lock and settled close behind us. We went thru this routine 3 times, but the third was not charmed and we got a bit of a bump from the workboat that didn't stay tucked into the wall as we approached. So, Albatross now has "Canal Rash" on the starboard side and two bent stanchions. All cosmetic thankfully, but a girl does have her pride so she'll just be showing her port side off.
But she did make a dramatic exit and stuck her tongue out at the entire canal!
Finally the last gates open, as the fresh and salt water mix it creates great turbulence along with the very strong winds blowing into the canal it makes our exit very difficult and we begin get swirled around. Captain has it all under control and we make a dramatic exit backwards out of the lock and into Limon Bay! The entire crew of the Nord Spirit (the huge cargo ship behind us) gave Captain Kevin a big cheer and a round of applause! Never done before and never to be done again!
We are just happy to be on the Atlantic side!
A big thank you to all of you who diligently pray for our safe passage, it's working and as you can see we need all the help we can get!
From Kevin and Lisa and the Albatross Crew, Teagan and Mick Working our way home to Texas from here but our route is not yet planned as we lost 3 weeks waiting for the canal transit to happen.
This just in from neighbor Senor Beans!
Hey Friends! Just got a last minute booking for Jackie B's for Saturday night, 8:30 ~ 12:30 (or so).
Jackie's is the bar at Sudie's Catfish Kitchen on the East side of the Gulf Freeway and just North of FM518. (League City)
The food and drinks are great and the deck will be rocking. This would be a good stop after the Boat Show! Hope to see you there!
Remember, if you get bored Saturday swing by the Shivers.
Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.
Have a great weekend!