Tuesday, July 21, 2009
After all the reading, preparation, anticipation etc. the Panama Canal transit was a relative breeze. Thanks to the organisational skills of our agent, Tina McBride and her team of colleagues the whole process was very professional and the transit staff courteous and very helpful. The first set of locks known at the Gatun Locks were transited without incidence thanks to our skilled handlers, in particular Rudi who instructed Chris on the finer details of Panama Canal line handling. We now have visions of Chris' future career! We spent the night on Lake Gatun where the howling monkeys kept us company in the thick jungle that surrounds the lake. We had an early start and moved down the "Banana Channel" to make our booking time for the "Miaflores Locks". Again our advisor was most helpful and provided us with many interesting stories and facts regarding the lock's history.For all of us the whole experience was quite amazing. We spent a few nights at Balboa Yacht Club before moving to Flamenco Marina to restock the boat for the long haul across the Pacific. After cooking, shopping, servicing engines, minor repairs, completing all the official paperwork we were ready to go and to say our goodbyes. Peaches our ship hamster found a new home on a fishing boat with Sagi, a 12 year old American boy. Anastasia and Jake where sad to see her go, but Australian quarantine will not allow her entry to our country, so a happy outcome really. Anastasia and Lisa said goodbye as well, as they head back to Australia for a semester of school. It will be another 6 weeks before Lisa rejoins them in Tahiti. So we waved goodbye from the dock and wish them fair winds and smooth seas en route to the Galapagos.