Crossing the Panama Canal

After we returned from our overland trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we spend Easter weekend in Bocas del Toro and then made the trip down south to the port town of Colón. Before we left though, we met up with a friend from our super yacht days, Peter, and invited him to join us as crew for the Panama Canal transit.

Colón was a bit of a shock compared to Bocas del Toro. We came from beautiful jungle covered islands, surrounded by clear waters and we arrived in a dirty dilapidated “post apocalyptic” city. It was, however fascinating to watch all the massive ships in the port and we had friends with us to help pass the days waiting for the canal passage with lots of laughs and good conversation.

We arrived in Colón on the Wednesday after Easter weekend, Melody had her appointment to be measured the following day by one of the Panama Canal Officials and 5 days later wefinally  transited the Canal!

It was our first transit and there are so many horror stories passed between yachties that we were rather nervous, not to mention the seriously high price tag to go through and the fat deposit you have to put down in case something goes wrong in the canal…

In the end it was actually completely relaxed and most of our time was spent waiting – for the big ships to catch up and join us in the locks, for each lock to be filled or drained, depending on which side we were of the lake etc.

It was a victorious moment motoring out into the Pacific as we exited the last lock of the Canal. We are finally here!

Next stop: French Polynesia!!!!

checking out or neighbours in Colon. photo credit: Peter Thomas checking out or neighbours in Colon. photo credit: Peter Thomas Ruf and our advisor, as we enter the canal Ruf and our advisor, as we enter the canal on our way to the canal. photo credit: Peter Thomas on our way to the canal. photo credit: Peter Thomas Peter on the foredeck Peter on the foredeck friendly crew of the nearby ships in Colon harbour friendly crew of the nearby ships in Colon harbour José our friendly admeasurer, registering Melody for her canal transit José our friendly admeasurer, registering Melody for her canal transit Rufus next dream boat project... Rufus next dream boat project… sunset in Colon commercial harbour sunset in Colon commercial harbour fellow cruisers in the Colon anchorage, preparing for the canal transit fellow cruisers in the Colon anchorage, preparing for the canal transit João and Natali on one of their provisioning runs before they transit the canal João and Natali on one of their provisioning runs before they transit the canal it's official! it’s official! Paula & Luigi from S/Y Santavacanza Paula & Luigi from S/Y Santavacanza Colon City, Panama Colon City, Panama Colon City, Panama Colon City, Panama the the “yacht club” we anchored at in Colon Peter & Rufus prepping the fenders (tyres) and lines for the canal transit Peter & Rufus prepping the fenders (tyres) and lines for the canal transit Melody dressed in her new Melody dressed in her new “fenders” one of our friendly line handlers in the canal one of our friendly line handlers in the canal closing the lock closing the lock Rufus and I with our advisor in the first lock. photo credit: Peter Thomas Rufus and I with our advisor in the first lock. photo credit: Peter Thomas our fantastic line handers, João and Paula our fantastic line handers, João and Paula João in charge of our bow line João in charge of our bow line entering the Gatun Lock entering the Gatun Lock

Captain Ruf and his first mate ;) Captain Ruf and his first mate 😉 our trusty (tiny) fog horn our trusty (tiny) fog horn most of the canal transit is a waiting game - João catching some zzz while we wait for things to happen most of the canal transit is a waiting game – João catching some zzz while we wait for things to happen our neighbour in the locks our neighbour in the locks my boys :) my boys 🙂

in the last lock before we exit into the Pacific - Rufus standing on the foredeck, posing for the Canal cameras as our families watch online in the last lock before we exit into the Pacific – Rufus standing on the foredeck, posing for the Canal cameras as our families watch online our full team aboard Melody as we finally arrive in the Pacific! our full team aboard Melody as we finally arrive in the Pacific!

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