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Location: Panama City, Panama

Aloha ahi ahi! (Good evening!) Today was eventful, to say the least. Waking up bright and early to the view of fog rolling above the banks of Gatun Lake, we were ready to start the day! We had early wake-ups today- when my alarm went off in my cabin, my bunkmate Gabby asked to be woken up last. I listened because I’m a cool skipper like that. The boys were difficult to wake up, but they brightened up when they smelled our yummy breakfast of egg scramble, potatoes, and toast! We were able to fit in a quick study session before our pilot for the day arrived, and most of us studied up for our nav master exam. Our pilot arrived mid-morning, and we were soon slathering ourselves in sunscreen, donning our PFDs, and struggling to get a reluctant few to put shirts on to avoid a nasty, nasty burn (I’m looking at you, Fargo…). The sun was hot, but the skies were clear, and smiles were shining. Sassy Pants reunited with us on our starboard side, and we appreciated the familiar faces as we were met with new Danish neighbors on our port side. We traveled through the locks together, held by lines tied between the boats. As lines were tossed from the attendants on the side of the canal onto our boat, Magdalena caught one perfectly! It sailed (haha, no pun intended) straight to her, and she snatched it out of the air like a pro. We cheered, and the attendant gave a proud head nod. I think she’s got a job lined up if Central America ever tickles her fancy. It was incredible to watch us lower in the locks, knowing every meter is a meter closer to the Pacific!

I enjoyed sitting in a teeny weeny bit of shade and looking up at all the birds circling overhead. As we cruised lock to lock, excitement grew- along with the amount of sweat soaking through our clothes. Toria reports, “my legs were drippy!!” Nice, Toria. Yummy. In truth, we were thriving in 97-degree heat with a high of 106. The sight of the Pacific Ocean being revealed as the giant gates opened up for the last time made everything worth it. Everyone flocked to the bow in awe and excitement- it was some of the crew’s first time seeing the Pacific! Me, Toria, and the west coast mainlanders made a point to emphasize how this was nothing we haven’t seen before (we were more excited than they were, in reality. We just wanted to play it cool. Like the Pacific. hehehee.)

Most of us went below deck to get lunch, nap, or work on classwork. A lucky few took their nav master exams, and they all did amazing! After, we enjoyed an amazing pasta dinner and pondered the question, “what food allergy or dietary group is the most annoying?” You may be thinking how strange of a question that is, and I agree. I can only say that after writing a three-page essay for oceanography, I didn’t have much brain power to think of a good squeeze question, and I had no choice but to take suggestions. Answers ranged from vegans, vegans who are annoyed about being vegans, people with peanut allergies “because that’s such an annoying thing to be,” and people who drink plant-based milk (hey! ouch!) As we looked at the faraway Panama City skyline, we talked about our plans for tomorrow- a class in the morning, then an afternoon on shore! It’s safe to say we’re all pretty stoked! I’m not sure what’s in store on land, but I’m certain we’ll end the day with lots of smiles and more than a few good laughs. We broke for cleanup, and our night begins! It will most likely consist of studying, relaxing, and tending to our bug bites- and anchor watch, of course! I’ve been told the following report: The deckie team struggled today- this was told to me by Charlie, who relayed this information with much more…creative…language. All is quiet on deck now, so I believe it’s safe to emerge from the chart house, as it doesn’t sound like they’re jousting with the deckie brushes anymore.

All in all, today was a day none of us will soon forget. Completing our Panama Canal transit with new best friends and a new family was a truly incredible experience. With this, I will say A hui hou (farewell) and goodnight!