Through the Panama Canal 08.54N 079.31W

Sat 21 May 2011 04:01
Well, weâve done it, escaped the Atlantic! Up at 6.00am to wait for the pilot who arrived at 7.00am, then motored through Lake Gatun to the top of Miraflores run of locks. Again, we rafted up in the middle between a French boat and a cat, to go through the canal. A 27m Oyster called Symmetry followed us through â thank goodness we didnât have to worry about scratching their   perfect shiny dark blue topsides!! Itâs quite fun going through, first of all we all rafted up then went into the lock where the men on the sides threw thin ropes with monkey fist knots in the end onto the boats to then tie our lines to which were pulled up to the top on both sides. Then as we went down, the line handlers let them out and kept it all stable. Over 3 locks, we went down 26m, and to be honest, there was a huge song and dance about something less scary than the lock at P Solent with lots of wind, a busy time and a big tide!!
Anyway, we got through and are now in Flamenco marina, full of big motor boats, but wifi in the restaurant hence we are eating Lebanese food and drinking Mohitos. our last meal was 10 hours ago and hence this might be a bit slurred!! eating a great Lebanese meal, primarily because it has wifi and is the nearest restaurant to the boat. The marina itself is not great, expensive, no wifi and only menâs showers and toilets â I am assured I can use them as well, just donât look!!!
Problems so far are mainly due to waterpump on engine leaking, requiring manual bilge pump usage every 15 min or so â very good for upper arm muscles!  also, the electric bilge pump leaks everywhere so tomorrowâs job is for John to fix the engine and bilge pump while my John and I go to the shop and markets to buy a sack of onions, potatoes, cabbages etc. The fridge is a waste of time, hardly cool after 8 hours of engine but at least weâve got lots of tins and packets of food. Much discussion about importance of engine v sails etc between John A and Bernie, basically different views but coming to compromise. Either way, weâre aiming to go on Sunday morning.
so, thatâs it for tonight, pudding just arrived. sorbet and icecream so will now concentrate â the Johns are watching the belly dancers! sleep well,
Love John and Bernie and John xxx