We called the Admeasurer Office (443 2293) and went there on Tuesday 6th March to leave a copy of our passports and ships papers.
Laura in the office, who speaks perfect English, gave us her number (9443 2298) to call and confirm the visit of the Admeasurer on Thursday.
We called as requested at 7:15 am and by 9.30 we had the Admeasurer sitting in our cockpit doing the important paperwork.
Soon after he left we went to Citybank in Colon to pay $1500 cash (part fee, part deposit). Lucky there is a HSBC bank along the street, where we could get cash at the counter to make up the sum.
The confirmation of the payment was faxed through to the Canal Authorities as we stood at the counter.
After 6 pm we called Marine Traffic Control (272 4202) and received our date and time for Monday 12th March (which was in 4days time!!!). We were asked to call again to confirm time and date as changes can be likely.
Now we had to organise line handlers. On our way back to the boat we were surprised by Jon and Zuzana, who were here with some friends. So much excitement on one day!
Well to cut a long story short they brought ‘Double Bruyn’ to shelter Bay to get admeasured and then sail back to the San Blas and Transit sometime in April. It turned out that they were free to be our Line handlers and needed to be at Flamingo Marina by Wednesday for a job on a private yacht sailing to the Galapagos. Our new Canadian friend Eric, who was still in Portobello with his family (Amy and girls Martha and Audrey)on ‘Papillon’ offered to come along to experience the Transit before going through themselves.
We could not have wished for and organised a better crew!
We hired the lines and fenders from the chandlers at Shelter Bay, because it was easy to drop them off on the other side at Flamenco Marina.
Paul, Zuzana, Jon and Eric waiting in the Flats for our Advisor to board Kahia Regis our Advisor turned out to be a very experienced Pilot and gives us our briefing
On our way to the first lock! And then it started to rain!
Spotting our first crocodiles
This is how high we are going to go. The huge lock which can take two ships filled at a rate of about one foot every 12-15 seconds from the water flowing in from Gatun Lake.
No pumps are involved in this process; it is all achieved by gravity.
Jon and Zuzana are doing a brilliant job at the bow and Eric at the stern, having deep reaching conversations with Paul. Regis gave excellent instructions and guidance, always calm and clear.
After three locks upwards, tied alongside a catamaran from South Africa we reached Gatun Lake
Dinner motoring through Gatun Lake
To safe water and get more yachts through, we were part of a new scheme of doing an overnight Transit with smaller ships in the locks. It saves time but we missed out on a romantic night anchorage in the lake and beautiful views. Regis preferred a transit out of the hot sun of the day.
We were lucky to tie up alongside a tug boat for the three downward locks, which made the whole line handling process redundant and much easier for us.