Location: Panama City, Panama
We have successfully motored through a continent from the now-familiar waters of the Caribbean Sea to the edge of the vast Pacific. The day started before the crack of dawn with a really nice quiet 6:30 am wake up and a somewhat sleepy/groggy 7 am granola breakfast. Once clear of the world’s largest mooring block- seriously, this thing was nearly an island on to itself- we were underway for the best part of 3 hours, motoring the length of the glassy yet busy Gatun Lake. Minutes prior to reaching the first of the locks, two crew members were strapped into bosun’s chairs and hoisted up to the spreaders so they could take photographs! Armed with sunscreen, water, Go-Pros, and a hat apiece, they were hoisted up for the duration of the remainder of the passage. Passage through the locks was slightly different today, with the lines being tossed from the canal walls with professional accuracy aided greatly by the wondrous monkey’s fist knot. Focus had to be maintained along with a high degree of professionalism, as when the locks emptied, the four lines had to ease with finesse, timing, and coordination between the starboard, port, bow, and stern line teams. All the while, surreptitious sampling of the surface waters of the canal was ongoing, tracking the rapid decline of salinity in the waters. When the final and third gates opened, we were the third boat to be released into the Pacific waters, where after a scant five minutes, we got our first glimpse of Panama City, and the salinity readings started to spike. With explorations of this ancient city, setting out on passage of the world’s largest ocean, equator crossings, and head shavings to come in the next few days, these blogs can only get better.