Panama Canal
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Transit Movies
More Canal Photos
Four Winds' Transit

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Day 1 - We lock up at Gatun locks

Stanley - taxi driver, agent, tour guide - helps us with all our needs

We head for the first locks at 7pm

Handlines are attached to the boat

 

We move forward into position behind the ship

 

The turbulence is intense as many millions of gallons of water rushes into the chamber

 

After locking up to Gatun lake, we spend the night on the bouy and awake to a beautiful sunrise

 

Day 2 - We cross Gatun Lake

Gregory takes a turn at the wheel as our pilot/advisor checks out the ship traffic

Lots of ships move through the canal

Narrow spots are being widened.  THOR drills holes and dynamites the bottom

 

As long as everyone stays in their lane, things aren't too close

 

A tug is pulled along by the ship.  In narrow spots, all ships have a tug "just in case"

 

More dredging

The new Centenario Bridge with, of course, another ship

We pass under the bridge and head for Pedro Miguel lock

We'll be the first southbound traffic today

But have to wait for a few northbout ships

Our advisor talks to the ships and lockmaster by radio

We drift, relax and check out the sights while waiting our turn

 

We lock down at Pedro Miguel lock

Gail is in the rigging taking pictures

The lock doors are open and the ship is coming out

Our turn to head in

 

Tied up safely - center chamber - as the water goes out

 

No ships are in the lock with us so the locomotives get a break

 

Doors open, lines cast off and we head for Miraflores locks

 

We lock down at Miraflores lock

We are going to go center chamber.  They will throw 4  thin lines with heavy/hard "monkey fists" on the end to us.  We will attach our heavy mooring lines and they will pull them back up.  If all goes well, we will be tied in the middle of the lock away from the walls

Miraflores locks. They throw the handlines AT us

One canal linehandler is "missing" so we scramble to compensate...

...and send up our two lines on one handline.  He gets to scramble now

 

Lines are safely on and he heads off to have a word with the guy that is "missing"

 

The lock doors start closing behind us

 

Yes, those are inflatable pool toys protecting from damage to our solar panels when the lines are thrown.

Once the water is down, we move forward to the second chamber...

while the canal linehandlers walk our lines forward...

...past the lock control tower and into the final lock

We're down now and head into the Pacific

 

 

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We have a "monkey fist" as a trophy.  When their line broke, we were left holding the short end.  Picture to follow.

 

We celebrate

Gail gets the champagne out before we clear the lock gates

Denise is already thinking about tomorrow's transit on their boat

Another successful transit.  2 down and one to go.  The team is experienced now

We're happy, relieved, exhausted...

 

...and not thinking about the thousands of miles to Los Angeles

Sea Witch clears the Bridge of Americas and is officially in the Pacific Ocean