Thursday 11th February
Nothing ever goes as planned! We were given
a time of 3.30 pm to be at the flats area of the canal where a pilot advisor
joins the boat. And we were scheduled to transit the canal with 'Bali Blue' and
'Raylah' with Jackamy being the centre boat. Richard Bolt from the BWR was our
4th line handler as each boat is required to have 4 line handlers. As we were
motoring over to the flats area we recieved a call to say our time had been
changed to 5.30 pm this gave us 2 hours to work on our bow thruster which we
realised wasn't working as we left the marina. So when we reached the flats
Adrian from 'Mercury Rising' who was a line handler on Bali Blue jumped on board
where he and Paul spent 2 hours trying and failing to fix it. This caused a
problem because without a bow thruster we couldn't be the centre
At 5.30 pm a pilot boat came along side us
and Dalton our advisor jumped on board. We explained the situation with the bow
thruster and the decision was made that we would raft up with 'Roundabout' and
Bali Blue and Raylah would raft up together. So we rafted up
alongside Roundabout in torrential rain just outside the first lock. Then
as we were about to enter the locks we were told to release from Roundabout and
raft up with Raylah and Bali Blue. This is all going on when it is pitch
We finally entered Gatun Locks at 8 pm!
Messenger lines with a monkey fist on the end were thrown down and we attached
our 125ft warps with a 2ft loop at the end of them, one on the stern and one on
As soon as we were in the lock the gates
closed and the water level started rising, filling the chamber in about 15
minutes. Our warps were put over huge bollards and we had to take up the slack
as the water rose. Amy was in charge of the bow line and Jack the
stern line. When the chamber was full the gates opened and we motored as a
raft of three into the next chamber. This was repeated a third time. We exited
the third chamber and entered Gatun Lake where we picked up a mooring buoy for
the night and the pilot boat came alongside to collect Dalton.
6am the following morning Franklin our
transit advisor for the next transit was dropped off. We had to motor for 4
hours across Gatun Lake, Gamboa and along the Galliard Cut to Pedro Miguel
locks. We rafted up with Raylah and Bali Blue and entered the locks again
catching the monkey fists and tying them to our warps. The first chamber at
Pedro Miguel locks lowered us 9 metres.
We stayed rafted together and motored one
mile across Miraflores Lake and entered the upper Miraflores lock where we were
lowered the remaining two steps to sea level. As the gates opened we entered the
Pacific Ocean. The raft broke up and we motored under the 'Bridge of Americas'
celebrating with a glass of champagne. We anchored early afternoon at 'La
Playita de Amador'.
All in all a successful transit, just
a little stressful at the start!