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Panama Canal: Saying Goodbye to a Continent Previous Log
Date: 4 March 2008 Next Log
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Leaving Colon - Starting the long motor to the first set of locks in the afternoon.It can all be summed up quite simply: The Pacifico Project is a go!

February has been an incredibly long month of Pana-mania, but we've finally made our way through the canal and we're now sitting happily on an southwest-facing anchorage making final preparations and provisioning for the next few long months of crossing the world's largest body of water, the Pacific Ocean!

It seems strange to say it since I've been traveling for over 2 months now, but it really feels like this adventure is FINALLY BEGINNING!

Curious Shipment - You guys need crew?I've hitchhiked a new ride on "Aries Tor", a 34-foot sloop from Toronto, owned by a guy named Rob who seems to have always dreamed of sailing around the world, and one day just decided to start. He bought the boat a few months ago and sailed it down from Lake Ontario in the autumn. Rob is 29, an ex-vegetarian, plays guitar and makes a mean bean burrito. We're set!

Although our COMBINED age is about the average age of most ocean circumnavigation sailors, it doesn't seem to matter much. Everyone seems to take us as seriously as anyone else. It's a very nice feeling.

The Approach - Small boats normally start from Colon at night, ascend the Gatun locks and anchor for the night in Gatun Lake.In the meantime, we're quite happy to leave the Caribbean after being anchored in Colon for a week while dodging muggings and waiting for a canal transit date. On the flip side, we can't watch any more of the filming of James Bond's newest movie on Colon's loading docks!

We plan to haul anchor tomorrow morning and sail out of Panama City towards the Perlas Archipelago (just off the coast, as seen on Survivor) rest up and scrape barnicles, then continue south. Due to duldrums, we expect to follow the Columbian and Ecuadorian coasts until we reach the equator, then head directly west to the Galapagos. This is a big step for me; I've never been more than just a few hours offshore.

The Night Shift - Your's truly hauling the bow line under the floodlights.I expect to be offline for about 10 days starting.... now!

As for the Panama Canal, I assume you've all done your homework on it, so I won't bore you with needless facts and data; I would have just copied and pasted it from Wikipedia anyhow. Just enjoy the photos!

Cheers! Next time you hear from me, I'll hopefully be in the Galapagos!

Gatun Lake
The next morning, headed through Gatun Lake.
Morning Rush-hour Traffic
Car Carrier on Gatun Lake
Apparently these things carry 5000 cars each, and we saw several each day. Makes you think, eh.
Sailing the Canal
When the going get tough (ie your motor isn't fast enough), the tough get the sails up!
Biohazards in the Guillard Cut
This is the narrowest portion of the canal, which is being widened in a mad rush.
Centennial Bridge
Guillard Cut widening
An additional third set of locks will accomodate much larger ships, due to open in 2015 or so.
Step 1
Raft up and enter lock.
Step 2
Go down!
Step 3
Exit lock. Do it a couple more times. Piece of cake!
Canal Workers
Just catch the monkey fist and don't argue with these guys.
Miraflores Locks
Rob says:
This is MY lock!
Then Rob says:
Oops..er, Pardon us, Sir
Serious Canal Snacking
Aries Tor in Miraflores Locks
Locking-through always interrupts our snacking (Aries Tor left-most in photo, starboard side of the raft)
Moasi in Miraflores Locks
Congrats Ian and Julia! I'm the little speck on the catamarans deck.
Descending in Miraflores
The doors open and...
and.... presto! The Pacific Ocean lies just beyond!
Leaving Miraflores
You're really getting the play-by-play here..
The Home Stretch
The Finish Line!
Ship passing under the Bridge of the Americas, headed into the Pacific.
Northern Sky enters the Pacific
Congrats to Jerry (of Dawson City Yukon) and wife Isolde, as well as crewmates Cody and Zach!
Aries Tor enters the Pacific!
Wahoo! Finally!
Pop the Bubbly!
A toast to the Pacific with Rob, Bart, Santiago and Gemma. And me, drunk at the wheel again.
The Pacifico Project
The Project is on!
The Maltese Falcon
World's largest privately owned sailing yacht; 289-foot long, and cost approx 250 million dollars to build. Viagara is cheaper, Bub!
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