To the Pacific

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 22 Feb 2013 23:27
Day Two of Our Panama Canal Transit

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After a short nights rest, I caught Rod hugging Nemo cushion at a quarter to six the next morning. We left the massive buoy on the dot of six, after Roy today’s advisor had joined us and Bear fed us all a hearty bowl of porridge. Rod and Steve get to rest as we cross the Gatun Lake, fortunately my face had settled to a warm pink. Hopefully the down locks will be easy compared to the up locks of yesterday. Sian gets to settle to a good book.


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There we are – all official.


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Altair Leader overtakes us (she has very similar statistics to Atlantic Highway).


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We enjoyed the Gatun lake, Zebedee in sight as we watch a chum pass by.


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I have to admit, I have since sent this picture of Alberto Aleman Zubieta to


Whilst I appreciate that is a sad thing to share, it shows just how much I still love any big machinery. Alberto was named after a feisty engineer who went on to be the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority. He (I’ll have to refer to him as a he) is a Back Hoe Dredger. His IMO is 9636058. He was finished in 2012 at IHC Global Production in the Netherlands. At nearly one hundred and ninety seven feet long and seventy five and a bit feet wide, he ticks my boxes as an awesome bit of kit. His depth is nearly seventeen feet. His draught (loaded) is just a bit less than eleven feet. His bucket is a huge forty square feet and the crane boom is nearly seventy six feet long. The stick is just shy of forty feet. His dredging depth is a cool sixty four feet. Total power two thousand kilowatts. Sweet.



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Bear took the wheel as we went under the Centennial Bridge (I went below to prepare lunch).


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Then we rafted up to a great bunch from Sweden. Mica on the wheel and I acted in tandem as a pair of engines – catamaran style. Ricky our advisor from yesterday was on the other boat and acted as ‘the voice’.


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A very long angle on one rope as we tether in the Pedro Miguel Lock, sadly no sign of Zebedee. A big girl in the adjoining lock, down we go
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What a great picture, lovely movement to slip in the reading specs. In the Miraflores Lock Steve texts wife Chris to look out for us. No rush as we convince Roy that Zebedee is going to make it. In fact we have lunch while we were waiting.
Moth does a brilliant job and sends us pictures that capture the moment
Moth captures the moment the gates begin to close but that is when we convince Roy that as we are early and no one else is behind us, “could we possibly wait”. Magic happens and he rings through and the gates open ready.
Zebedee makes it – Yeeha, the mules honk and we all cheer.
After a very long wait, going down.
Safely through.


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We see The Bridge of the Americas ahead and happily pose


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My first chum in the Pacific Ocean is MSC Maria Elena, no arguing that I give way to this girl as she sweeps in to the port. She is delivering after traveling from Callao in Peru, next port of call in San Antonio, Texas.

It was clear that this Panamanian flagged gargantuan of the sea was indeed a post-Panamax. Her length at one thousand, one hundred and five feet is too long for the current locks, too wide also with her one hundred and fifty one feet. Draught thirty three and a bit feet. Her deadweight tonnage is an enormous one hundred and ten thousand, eight hundred and thirty eight. Her maximum speed is a modest twelve knots, cruising at slightly less, but her size fast enough, no emergency stops possible from this handsome lady.



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The A Team – Roy, Sian, Rod and Steve – a million thanks are insufficient
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Time to help Roy on his way of course with a quick hug.
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We say farewell to the A Team, lines and tyres as Beez friend appears, circumnavigation completed, well done Zebedee
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A very special moment

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Beez Neez resting at anchor in the Pacific Ocean




                     A REAL WOW