Panama Canal

Arriving in Flamenco Marina was quite an experience, so many large boats coming and going all about to or having transited the Panama canal.  We had a couple of days there before our slot in which we could enjoy hotel air conditioning and the local beer.  We even managed to get half a day away from the boat to visit the canal museum and do a bit of shopping.  Engineering museums are not really my thing and as we were planning to pass through the canal I couldn’t get too excited about it but Triinngg (an experienced canal user and engineering geek) was in his element and had to be dragged away by Baz as the museum was closing.  The canal passes through Gatun lake which is quite spectacular.  Imagine tropical paradise; sun shining, lush rainforest, little islands, plenty of wildlife and huge Panamax (the largest boat the canal can accommodate, soon to be Post Panamax when the new, wider canal opens in 2014 – see I did pick up something at the museum!) boats come charging towards you, it’s quite something.  I guess not many people in life get to pass through the Panama Canal so I do feel again, that the race has given me some great opportunities to see and experience things in life that I wouldn’t have had the chance to do ordinarily.   To add to the experience we even had a Japanese war ship come through the last set of locks with us.  The Japanese seemed as excited to see us as we did to see them.  They were just 20 feet behind us waving like crazy from the bow and taking pictures of our 2 boats rafted up while we took pictures of them in return.  They are also off to New York and asked to meet for a drink but sadly we’ll not be there in time.

Right now I’m sitting on the deck under our tarpaulin sunshade while we wait for boat spares for one of the fleet.  We are now in Shelter Bay marina on the Atlantic side of the canal.  It’s hot, hot, hot and most crew members are taking advantage of the pool and the bar.  I’m off for lunch shortly with a glass of chilled white wine – lovely.  From here we sail through the Carribean sea through the gap between Haiti and Cuba then past the Bahamas and through the Bermuda Triangle!!!!  Should we make it out alive it’s then on up to New York.  The whole passage should take somewhere Around 14 days to New Jersey then onto our second Marina outside Ground Zero.  I’m off now for my wine and salad.

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2 Responses to Panama Canal

  1. David Cockburn says:

    Hi Lesley, as I type this you’ve just gone past Jamaica and only 4nm separating the first 9 boats, You are right in the mix and I see you’ve persuaded new skipper to stay on so fingers crossed for some close racing this time around.

  2. David Cockburn says:

    Initially looked poor decision / bad luck to go east, becoming becalmed and dropping back to ninth, but maybe that’s going to pay off in the end as the wind fills from the east and you are already up to 7th again. I know these comments from afar don’t matter, but all we are doing is letting you know that we are following your progress and every twist and turn. Good luck one again!

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