Panama Update – May 12, 2009

Hello Everyone! What an experience transiting the Panama Canal!

There are actually two parts to the process. Travel three locks up to Gatun Lake the first night….then sleep on the lake. The next morning on to the next three locks, down to the Pacific Ocean. Gary steered us thru the first three locks while we were rafted/tied to two other boats. Mike took the helm the next morning for the 20 mile ride across the lake and thru the channel, plus three more locks. We went thru the last 3 locks solo…which was nice. We are still anchored in Panama, just outside of Panama City. We popped the cork on the champagne when we emerged thru the Canal on Friday afternoon. We anchored about 1.5 miles outside of the Canal and took our celebratory plunge into the Pacific Ocean!

So here we are. Panama City boasts a beautiful skyline, although the city itself is quite dirty. The people are nice enough, although we struggle with not knowing much Spanish. I know some words and phrases to get us by; along with my English/Spanish dictionary….Gary and Mike are another story. It’s quite funny actually…Gary believes that if he shouts, they will understand his English. Mike on the other hand says that if you simply add ‘O’ to the end of your words…you are speaking basic Spanish—HA! That, along with lots of sign language is how he does it. An Australian man stopped me at the meat counter in the “SupermarketO” the other day and asked if I knew how to say ‘lamb’ in Spanish…..I had to confess he was out of luck with me on that note. Mike says, “you should have just said BaaaaaBaaaaa!” (Like I said, it’s actually quite funny!) I can’t wait til French Polynesia…that should really be interesting.

We are still here waiting for some boat parts to be sent from the U.S. We have been busy provisioning for the next leg of our trip. We hope to be able to leave for Galapagos Islands on Thursday of this week. Of course, weather permitting. It is approximately 800 nm from here to there, so 6-7 days of sailing. Apparently, the winds this time of year are not ideal for filling our sails, as they will be coming straight at us. We may go a little out of our way to catch some wind making our trip a little longer. We have met an Australian couple, also on a catamaran. We were tied to them for our first leg thru the Canal. They are on a similar sailing path as we are so we will keep in touch with them and perhaps do the Pacific crossing with them…if our schedules permit.

Christine and Ben (bikers from Maryland have been with us since last week) They have been helpful in translating for us as they both speak Spanish. Christine left this morning to head back to the U.S. and Ben has decided to make the sail to Galapagos with us…His first time sailing. Talk about a small world….Ben’s Mom went to the same grade school as I did in Philadelphia!

3 comments to Panama Update – May 12, 2009

  • Adela

    Hi guys,great to hear from you again,I can not imagine that every day for you guys is a new jurney,how wounderful,great experience,lots of good memorys for the future!!! about the Panama Canal how much do they charge?like for your boat,I am curious. I check the web cam is fascinating to see all those big cargo boat go by.
    Well keep safe,stay well,keep on sailing…till next time

  • Windy Gillespie

    Outstanding! So great hearing (reading) about all of this and I am just thrilled for you all. The pictures were a wonderful addition! Keep it coming. Safe sailing across the pacific, love and hugs!

  • Regina

    I have been following Christine and Ben’s travels on their blog…. Christine and I raced sailboats together last year in Baltimore. You’ll be missing out on a good crew member, but I’m happy to hear that she’s safe and on her way home. Safe travels and i hope you get your boat parts soon! GOod luck!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>