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Date: 09 Mar 2012 02:37:00
Title: No turning back!

We arrived in Shelter Bay Marina, Panama, on 27th February. This is a significant mile stone in our travels. We are about to commit to transit the Panama Canal, the short cut from the Atlantic to the other side of the world, the Pacific Ocean. . . .no turning back!
We are using Eric Galvez as an agent, along with Vulcan Spirit and Twice Eleven.
The canal is 80kms long and involves going through 6 locks, 3 up and 3 down with Gatun Lake in the middle. As of 3 weeks ago, yachts travel through the canal at night with the smaller ships. Apparently this is to save water and money.
For a yacht our size it costs about 1000 dollars. this includes an Advisor who travels with you and coordinates the transit, 4, 80ft ropes, needed to guide the boat through the locks, 10 rubber tyres, to protect the boat, and all the paper work etc. .. .worth every cent!
Yesterday we traveled as line handlers on Vulcan Spirit,(each boat must have 4 line handlers) starting at 1pm, we arrived in the Pacific at 4am today, a good practice run! Twice Eleven leave today along with Moine and Freyda, and tomorrow its our turn ! (9th March)
You can watch us on the canal web cam at Pancanal.com ! We expect to leave at 1pm from the marina, arriving at 'the flats anchorage at about 2.30pm. our advisor will be delivered at 2.45pm and then we make our way to the canal entrance. . . but every step can change at the last minute, no stress then. . . .
We have been making the most of being in this great marina over the last few days. washing everything that is washable, cleaning everything that is cleanable, filling everything that is fillable and using the internet!
We havn't provisioned properly since America and we are about to embark on a long long passage to the other side of the world. . . .oh for a Cosco!
Amica joined us in Playon Chico, Kuna Yala, for 12 days and was hoping to go through the canal with us, but, as we have discovered, its impossible to plan a transit in advance.

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