The repair process…..

We must lift s/v Oceans out of the water to make the fiberglass repairs.  So far, there are no marina’s on the Pacific Side that can take her out.  s/v Oceans is too wide.  More research is being done, as I write this post.  But, we have made plans to transit back through the canal to Shelter Bay Marina, where they have a travel lift and a well wide enough to haul us out, without further fiberglass damage.   1st transit day available to go North bound is May 2nd.  So, at this time, we are scheduled to transit back to Caribbean side, repair s/v Oceans and request South bound transit back to the Pacific side.  No one is hurt, and we will push on!

Transit Day 2 , Canal transit gone wrong!

PSALM 112:7  “He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

ISAIAH 41:10  “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your GOD.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with MY righteous right hand.”

The Panama Canal is an amazing piece of 1914 engineering.  It consists of 3 locks going up 85 feet to Lake Gatun and 3 locks going back down to sea level.  Rick had volunteered on another sailboat to learn the details prior to s/v Oceans transit.  All went Well.

Day 2 did not go as planned.  Our agent advised us that departure from the mooring ball would be  9am, so alarms were set for 7am, with plenty of time to have breakfast for all on board.   Well, when alarms went off, our advisor was boarding from the pilot boat.   After departing from mooring ball, we had to motor 5hours to the locks, the lake was beautiful.   Snacks, lunch & more snacks were served.  The 3 locks on the Pacific side have LOTS of current in them.  Instead of rafting/nestling up prior to entering the lock, and going as 1 unit.  This time we had to go in separately & then raft up.  It was next too the last lock that trouble tried to bring us to the bottom!  We entered the almost 1000 foot long lock with 2 boats ahead of us.  A steel empty tour boat that ties too the far end wall and a 40 foot mono hull sailboat that ties to the tour boat.  With a Very Strong Current and over 20 knots of wind both pushing us hard, the sailboat had some trouble and went sideways in the lock, but they had lines tied to the tour boat and recovered.  We need to move next to the sailboat and tie to it.  The wind & current are pushing us Very Hard, as we carefully approach.  The bow line was thrown to tie us as the current is trying to turn us sideways.  The line thrown was never tied to the boat before being thrown, so it went into the water.  Everything happened so quickly!  s/v Oceans was loose and heading too fast into the HUGE steel lock doors, the engines were put in reverse and we pulled back from the doors.  The current twists us sideways toward the concrete wall.  The starboard engine quits and we hit the wall!  The engine restarts just fine,(this is the 1st time it just quit).    Now, we try to get to the sailboat.  With still no bow line, a very fast thinking and acting man on the sailboat provided a line and we tied the bow and then worked the stern in close for line there as well.  Everyone was trying so hard to help!  Once we were secured completely, I ran too the starboard stern to access damage, one look at my face, told Rick it was not good.  We have a hole, water coming in….  During the next 15 mins., with some help, Rick was able to make a temporary patch and stop the water from coming in.  We went through the final lock & web cam, thus the picture shown. ( Compliments of Josh Johnson, thank you very much, we really appreciate this picture!)  We are in the Pacific!

Transit Panama Canal, Day 1

The Panama Canal was carved through one of the narrowest and lowest saddles of the long, mountainous isthmus that joins the North and South American continents.  We enter at the port of Cristobal on the Atlantic side and exit at the Port of Balboa on the Pacific side.  There are 3 locks on each side of the lake, which is called Gatun Lake.

Today we are scheduled to through the 1st 3 locks that are connected together, into Gatun Lake.  We will go up 85 feet.  We spend the night in the lake.  In the morning, 5 hours across the lake.  Then down 3 locks that are connected together.  There s/v Oceans & crew will be in the Pacific.  Yippee!

Crew on board:  Rick & Myself, Mathais & 2 volunteer line handlers, Raf & Juana.

Check out:  www.pancanal.com   There are webcams of the activities in the locks, so anyone in the world can watch.  At this point we are scheduled to go through at 1730hr, 5:30 pm Central Time.  If anyone is able to take screen shots of us, we would be Very Happy!!  s/v Oceans will possibly be rafted with a monohaul on each side of us.

GOD IS GREAT!

Arrival into Panama

A few pictures around Panama

Colon, is a seaport that sits on the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal.Colon

Panama Canal Transit procedures

Admeasurement- process of determining the tonnage of a vessel.  The official comes out to the boat and physically measures the boat’s length including bowsprits, davits or any other protrusions.  The Admeasurer will inspect the vessel for transit requirements:  4 mooring lines not less than 38 meters (125 feet) long, 4 line handlers in addition to the Captain; anchor, adequate fenders to keep vessel away from the lock wall under turbulent conditions.  The final requirement is that the Pilot or Advisor be fed lunch, snacks and drinks, food must be hot, no sandwiches…

We the Crew at s/v Oceans decided to hire an agent to facilitate with all recommended procedures, plus we don’t speak Spanish.  Note to self:  Learn Spanish and French.

For more information on the canal, visit, www.pancanal.com.  Rick & Josh volunteered as line handlers on a 37 ft sailboat to go through the canal for some experience.

There are webcams for family to watch from anywhere in the world.  But, they are not real time & tend to be blurry, but, still pretty cool to see.  www.pancanal.com