We is here! Panama Canal 09:23N 79:55W

Southern Princess
John & Irene Hunt
Thu 31 Jan 2008 14:31
At 03:48.48 on 300108 we passed the finishing line which was between the entrance port & starboard lights to the Panama Canal. Not an easy place to finish, particularly as the wind had dropped off and we were ghosting along under main and poled genoa and avoiding supertankers which were exiting the canal. Bloody hell it was like Pitt Street!
There are 7 yachts finished in front of us and we were made welcome even at that hour of the morning. The Shelter Bay Marina was a bit hard to get into in the dark and Chris saved the day with the search light, gifted to us a few years back by the O'Sullivans, when he picked up a rather substantial piece of real estate I was blithely steering into as I could not see it! Alls well and we a tucked up in a very nice marina.
From here we get 'measured' by the canal authority and then in the next couple of days we will transit the canal. We have to hire a line handler as the rules state that each craft must have 4 line handlers, (oh and we have to hire lines as well as they require 4 line 125 feet long on each boat) a helmsman and a pilot. The pilot is provided by the canal authority as part of the fees but the handler we have to hire, accommodate and feed ourselves unless we can coopt someone on another craft to assist.
Spent today cleaning up the yacht, inside and out and miles of laundry. The electrical power here is 60 cycles which means the washing machine wont run off shore power so the generator got ma big work out as the girls churned out load after load of washing.
We don't leave Panama City until the 8th of February and then it is off to La Libertad in Ecuador. I will continue the blog then.
John & Irene