Well it’s been 3 days since we
arrived in Shelter Bay and the list of jobs is diminishing,
Sheralee had been busy with the varnishing, which
needed doing after the chain plate renewal.
I had been busy making sail
bags and painting new courtesy flags for our trip and Roger had been going
through his list.
The refrigeration, however,
remained a problem.
Ohenio, the refrigeration
engineer, had failed to return as promised, so we still had no refrigeration.
The only positive thing about his visit, was that he had left his vacuum pump,
so we knew he would have to return….. some day.
He was apparently having car
problems, but would be here definitely tomorrow!!
So not only did we not have
fresh meat, but our fresh vegetables were now not quite so fresh!!
The boat had been measured by
the Admeasurer and we now had our date for transit, it was to be February
14th, so it gave us time to get the refrigeration sorted, hopefully.
Admeasurer is the person who measures the overall length of the vessel which
decides how much your transit fees will be. So we decided to save $250 by
putting the dinghy on the coach roof.
Tito, our agent, had organised
for our lines and tyres. The lines are 125ft long and you are required to have 4
on board for the transit. As they are very expensive not to mention bulky for
stowing, you can rent them. The tyres are a precautionary measure, we had
fenders on board, but the extra 10 tyres, protect the boat from potential damage
from the lock sides.
Tito was a very interesting
man. Unlike most business people in his position, Tito was paying forward his
good fortune. He ‘presented’ his number 68 son, Memo, to us.
Then he went on to explain
that he took on young boys, from the streets or from Grandparents who wanted to
give them a good start in life. He would provide them with work shoes and
clothes and would teach them to respect each other, he would bring them along to
the marinas and would generally familiarise them with the whole business. He
would then start them off on a small task, like wrapping the tyres, or sorting
the lines. He would teach them so much and in doing so, would prepare them for a
career in shipping. Some of them went on to become line handlers for the canal
company. Memo, was the 68th child he had helped. He also told us how
he had just ‘lost’ 3 of his ‘sons’. Apparently they were asleep in their house
and some gangs outside started shooting and the bullets went straight through
the wall of the boys bedroom and they were killed. Bear in mind that they use
automatic and semi automatic weapons here. It made me appreciate how lucky we
are, we take so much for granted, like waking up each
It was so refreshing to meet
someone who wasn’t just making as much money as he could at the expense of
Friday and still no Ohenio!!!
He was still having problems with his car, but promised he would be with us at
9am on Saturday. It was getting rather critical, we were buying bags of ice to
try and save the perishables in the fridge, but until we had the problem sorted
we could finish provisioning.
Thankfully Eugenio came
through on Saturday and left us with a fully functioning fridge and
Our line handlers, Heather
& Bryan, arrived from Bocas, so we were now ready for our transit.
Everybody was getting hyped up
for the transit, as none of them had done it before and there are so many horror
stories about what can go wrong. I prepared food for the next couple of days, as
that was to be my role….galley slave. The line handlers practiced their knots
and generally the levels of excitement were rising. We had been told we would be
rafting up with 2 other boats. The British flagged Silandra V, a 76 ft carbon
fibre Swan built yacht and Badinguet, a French flagged 55ft Super Marimou, so
Roger went over to talk to the skippers and discuss how they would manage it.
Well, when he told Silandra’s skipper, he was not happy, saying he had booked a
solo transit 2 months ago.
Right up until we went
through, we thought they had got what they wanted as we had subsequently been
told we would be rafted up to Badinguet only. Either way we had it easy. As they
were bigger boats than we were, they would be using their engines to control the