Anchored in Gatun lake

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Tue 24 Jan 2012 03:49
9:15.6N 79:54.7W
After spending the afternoon in "small boat anchorage F" waiting for our turn in the lock, we finally entered the lower chamber of Gatun lock at 7:15 this evening, to the sound of howler monkeys in the trees lining the banks.  Immediately before entering the lock we formed rafts of two or three boats.  We had a monohull "fender" on each side of us to form our raft.
It was already dark as we slowly moved through the lock.  The catamaran rafts were controlled by central skipper using the dual engines, whereas the monohull rafts had to have two people synchronizing engines which was more of a challenge for them.
Each boat had an "advisor" to offer guidance.  The advisors are canal employees who do it in their spare time.  Our advisor was a lawyer working on the canal who was saving up for his retirement.  He showed us pictures of his recent holiday in London and Iceland.
Gatun lake is probably a really nice place most times, but unfortunately right now they are working 24/7 on a third set of locks.  There is a steady stream of dumper trucks along the shore close to where we are anchored for the night.  We probably won't get much sleep tonight.