John AKA Galley Boy

Wed 29 Apr 2009 15:07
Well I have never replied so quickly to an invitation in my life! 10 days going through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific sounded too good to be true - until I found out I was galley boy when I arrived!
After a 21 hour journey via Madrid and Guatemala I arrived to find Gary waiting with transfer & hotel booked. So off to the hotel & drinking complimentary beer at 6am UK time - nothing new there!
Then on to Colon by local bus in a tropical storm & found Winya Wynah, Skipper and No.1 waiting in the rain. After 2 days preparation and a paddle in the Caribbean, we were off, having practised our knots, rope and hooking skills following extensive training.
Time to go to meet our advisor.
We were accompanied by dolphins to the first lock.
Training & teamwork proved itself & a fantastic experience ended in a night under the stars in Gatun Lake, complete with crocodiles and howler monkeys.
Next morning the main canal - what canal? they all seem the same from a Galley!
What a great journey - at speed - through the lake. The locks are fantastic & fun, especially when you are just feet from a large ship and rafted to other boats, but the lake is amazing.Tropical rain forest, islands, frigate birds, vultures, pelicans, cruise ships and container ships, tugs and so much more.
Then the Miraflores locks, the Bridge of the Americas and our mooring in the Pacific. Hugs all round, and bubbly to celebrate a great day with a job well done by a fantastic team. An experience never to be forgotten with friends who never will be.
Can't wait for the 3000 mile section - sorry all you folks at home.
Hasta la vista!
Photo's c/o John our official photographer (& Galley slave)!