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Date: 29 Mar 2015 00:48:23
Title: Balboa to Galapagos

08:56:1N 079:33:3W

Monday 23rd March 2015
Panama Canal Transit / Balboa YC

Howler Monkeys
As I awoke to a beautiful sunny day. I heard what I thought was dogs at a kennel barking, it turned out to be a chorus of howler monkeys on the nearby island. McLean, our adviser for the day arrived, he was quiet and much more reserved than Robin from the day before. McLean was also head of security for the canal and became an adviser during his holiday. He slowly mellowed during the day as his hangover cleared.

Transiting the Other Half
We were off at a steady pace of six knots. SV Elin and the French yacht switching places with us to lead. We passed by crocodiles as we went along, thank goodness no one went swimming. A huge amount of work was going on along the canal. It was obvious they are widening and straightening it so that larger ships can transit and use the new mammoth locks being constructed. This canal will be in direct competition with the Nicaraguan canal that the Chinese are building. It amazes me that there will be enough traffic. It costs USD250,000 for a ship to transit. They water they are travelling through will be the Colon drinking water...that explains why Shelter Bay potable water is so chlorinated!

Rafting Up
We rafted up to the other two yachts in the same order and stepped down through, Pedro Mede's and Mira Flores locks. The turbulence pushed us forward and our line handlers had to take care as huge strains pulled at the mooring lines slipping them even when turned around the cleats. Our winches were used as a backup break at one stage.

Balboa YC
We shot out of the bottom lock and were the first to peel away from the raft, as we wanted to make sure we would get a mooring at Balboa Yacht Club. SV Elin followed us in. They were great company, I hope no offence was taken with our banter! McLean took his leave, Roy Bravo arrived and Robert quickly departed, he was anxious to get away, not list because he was concerned for Marisa, who had her bag stolen in Canada and was struggling to get permission to travel home to Trinidad. Robert was doing his best to pull a few diplomatic strings. Will she be able meet us in Galapagos we all wonder?

Just as we are preparing to leave Kenny from SV Elin contacted us, would we like to sail with them to Galapagos? Piracy off Columbia mustn't go too close, so obviously English humour doesn't offend.

Galapagos here we come!

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