Southbound to the Pacific, through the Panama Canal has been completed safely! With some Excitement and Adventure, but no negative effects. (Oh, My Gosh, we can’t believe the tug boat that was with us in the 2nd to last lock, went sideways, the current was Very strong.) Fortunately, Rick was able to prevent us from colliding with the tug that was out of control. (This was the same location where our previous accident occurred.) Thank YOU, JESUS!!!!
July 5, is our transit date. YIPPEE!!!!!! We are so ready!! Departing Shelter Bay Marina 2 pm, with Matthias, Leo & 2 other line-handlers on board with us. According to the Canal Officials, our advisor will arrive at 4pm, we will transit the Gatun Locks 3 of them on the Caribbean side of the canal & over-night in Gatun Lake. Then complete the Miraflores locks 3 of them on the Pacific side on Friday, July 6.
For those who would like to see us at the Miraflores Locks, can check out the Multimedia section of: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/op/index.html which will be on Friday mid to late afternoon. And of course, this is Panama & Everything is subject to change………..
We are grateful & excited to be on our way! So looking forward to our crossing to the Marquesas. Hopefully, depart by Sunday.
Update 10am, July 5: Rick called to confirm with Canal officials on time for today & they said that they have no advisors for today! Well, there you have it……………. Our new departure time is 4:45am on Friday morning, now we should make it all the way through to the Pacific side by tomorrow late afternoon. But, then again, it is Panama!!!
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!