Gallery – Panama Canal

Then plans change: We decide that we and Mabul are not yet ready for the Pacific and that we would stay one more season on the Caribbean side. Of course, we still keep our promise to be line handlers for SV My Motu during their Panama Canal transit. So we moor Mabul in the Turtle Cay Marina and go on board SV My Motu. Together we make our way to Shelter Bay Marina in Colon. This is the first (almost) necessary stop before heading into the canal. There, the final preparations are made, large fenders and long lines are delivered by the agent and we get a briefing. Then we set off shortly after four o’clock in the morning.

The pilot comes on board and directs us to the Canal entry. But the journey nearly ends before we reach the entrance of the Canal. The propeller gets entangled in the line of a large buoy. Jeroen, Rajesh and Karin dive for an hour in pitch darkness to cut it free. Finally we make it to the entrance and start our ascent through three locks to the Lake Gatún. For almost 20 nautical miles we motor across the lake to then descend through three locks to the other side of Panama. At sunset, after a 14 hours journey, we are officially in Pacific waters.

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