panama canal transit ~ day 2
March 4, 2013
0530 hours came early. In order to make sure breakfast was ready by the time our next adviser arrived, I needed at least a good hour. The rest of the crew rose about a half hour later. Thank goodness the adviser was just a tad late, so all was ready to go by the time the pilot boat dropped him off. It wasn’t long after George’s arrival that we pushed off from the buoy, and started our journey across Gatun Lake. Everyone seemed quite content with the pancake breakfast which we ate while underway.
gray skies & s/v Nirvana behind us on Gatun Lake
clearing skies ahead of us on Gatun Lake
it was so chilly, it was like a brisk fall day for us!
a local dredge on Gatun Lake
approaching Centennial Bridge
arriving at the first set of locks for the day ~ Pedro Miguel Locks
After motoring individually across Gatun Lake, it was time to raft the boats again for the next run of locks, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores. First, we flawlessly rafted with s/v Nirvana. s/v Supertramp III was next, and unfortunately, it wasn’t as successful as previously. s/v Supertramp III was coming in way too fast. We all started yelling for him to slow down, but it was too late. SMACK! As he tried to slow and turn the boat, his stern smashed into our starboard transom. This time we weren’t as lucky as we had been with the pilot boat from the night before. Allan (s/v Supertramp III) felt so badly about it, that later he gave us a can of 3M vinyl ester for repairs.
Adviser George making sure all is going well
lots of fenders & tires together!
Since we were the middle boat, and our line handlers weren’t needed during our time in the locks, I was able to serve lunch while in the Pedro Miguel Locks. I only needed to relieve Wil from the helm, so he could have a quick bite to eat. The crew members from our neighbor boats were drooling over the fact that we were getting to eat and they had to wait.
I don’t remember exactly which lock, but we almost had one major mishap. As we were entering the lock, one of the canal line handlers on the wall walked right past the cleat he was supposed to tie the starboard stern line of our raft. With the wind behind us, it was crucial to be able to stop forward movement of the raft with the stern lines. Thank goodness, George caught the mistake and quickly yelled at the line handler. They managed to get the line back to the cleat before the whole raft of boats would have torqued to the side, possibly running Supertramp III into the wall. Yeah, George!
freighters look even bigger up close!
Pedro Miguel locks closing behind us
now it's a walkway!
a webcam view of Full Monty in the locks ~ we look so tiny!
entered at the top
slowly going down
we've been lowered & the gates are opening
revealing our next destination
looking back towards Pedro Miguel
a great helmsman!
posing at the Miraflores Locks
going down in the first set of Miraflores Locks
spectators at Miraflores
We had been told ahead of time that the last lock of Miraflores could be the most difficult. As you enter the lock, the wind tends to funnel its way through and wreak havoc with unsuspecting helmsmen. Therefore, it was critical to maintain control of the boats as we entered. We are glad we had this warning because not only was it a windy day anyway, but it all came into a narrow wind tunnel. We were all prepared, and we all handled it beautifully.
moving to the last Miraflores lock ~ AND the last lock before the Pacific!
going down at Miraflores
line handlers on Supertramp III working hard
looking forward towards the last gate
excited about the last lock
the starting point in the last Miraflores lock
our line handlers in Miraflores
our first glimpse at the Pacific side
motoring towards the Bridge of the Americas
collecting lines & tires
Bridge of the Americas
tires and lines from the starboard side
removing the tires from port side
resting place for the pilot boats
adviser, George, making the leap to pilot boat
our first view of Panama City
Coming to the end of the Panama Canal, and out towards the Pacific Ocean, gave us a whole, brand-new feeling. An entire new world of opportunities had just opened up for us, and there was no going back. Sure we had a plan for where we were going, but we could change our minds if we wanted to. We had a new sense of freedom. Now we could say, “We did it!”