|Two big boys make their passage through the mighty Panama Canal|
PANAMA CITY: Traversing the canal in a tiny sailboat is a big deal. It's kinda intimidating when you realize they cram small boats next to those mammoths pictured in the photo above. Being the wimpy cruiser that I am, I was thrilled when our friends Howard and Lynn said "Me First!" to go through the canal, and enlisted our help line handling for them. "After YOU!" I cried happily, as we eagerly signed up to help them through. We would be taking feverish notes.
|Howard waves goodbye to the Pacific Ocean as the lock closes behind him. |
He won't see it again for a very long time.
This photo shows the "line handling" that is required to traverse boats through the canal. As the locks fill and empty (it shocked me how quickly they do so!) we must stay alert and loosen or tighten the lines as we rise or fall with the water. It's quite surgy and a bit intimidating. The boat is constantly being pulled from side to side during the process. They often get out of control and smash up against the wall -- hence the tires they require us to hang over the side.
|When the 100 year old doors slam shut it kinda feels like you're trapped |
inside some sort of a gigantic water torture dungeon.
|We were told that this behemoth tanker would be sharing the lock with us. OK. No problem...|
|We watched as he powered towards us...|
|Chris watches with anticipation|
...uh...OK...CLOSER...?!?!?...how close do these guys get?
(Note the teeny tiny line which holds him every-so-securely to the dock, or so we hope...)
|"OH, FOR THE LOVE OF...?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"|
|Howard has the only appropriate emotion for a human to have at this juncture...(LOL)...|
|"But seriously...what in the hell was I thinking?" (LOL)|
|Chris handled the stern line|
|Gabrielle and Pam handled the bow lines with great expertise|
|And lil' ol' me managed to handle the starboard stern line without screwing it up!|
We made it through all 6 locks without a hitch. This delivery crew was of the rare "mostly female" variety. In this photo, Howard encourages us to show off our a$$ets. Looks like the Wimpy Cruiser (me) was the only one who refused to come to the table in that area... :-)
|The complete Swift Current delivery crew, including William, our pilot|
After helping to secure Swift Current on the dock at the Shelter Bay Marina on the Atlantic side, we drove back across the isthmus to Panama City.
Next up: it's Espiritu's turn. Pacific Ocean -- do you have any last words?