Location: Gamboa Reach, Panama Canal
After a night of drinks on Panamanian docks, the clumsy sailors slumped out of bed, yearning for a hot shower and coffee at the marina bar. Coffee shifted into brunch, and our heroes ravenously consumed hash browns comparable to those of McDonald’s. Fast-forward an hour, and we find ourselves preparing to embark upon an esteemed passage. Our lazy morning met its end when we found ourselves facing history. We were to cross the Panama Canal by sunset. Personally, the canal largely influenced my decision to join SeaMester, considering the former’s rather storied past. The canal consumed the lives of many more men than I can imagine, men toiling against disease, famine, and heat to link the two largest oceans of the world. The French gave birth to the canal and orphaned it after realizing the magnitude of the task in front of them. The Americans adopted it, fulfilling the fabled dream, nourishing it to full strength. And as we approached the canal, we understood why the task had been so hard to accomplish.
70-foot locks towered over us as we took our given place in line, lingering behind the massive tanker Sjard. A small fish in a large Ocean, Argo flouted its beauty and grace, a gem in a desert replete with behemoths. Gargantuan tankers chugged along in tugboat sandwiches, unable to move as if stuck in a gluttonous coma. Argo demonstrated her nimble agility, operating solely on the sweat and bowlines of her crew. We rose with the water, and as I type, we are moving to our next destination along the canal. The Pacific awaits, with arms outstretched, waiting to pacify and frighten sailors who dare venture to cross. The hubris of the large tankers we saw today may cause them to falter, but we, the crew of Argo, retain our strength, resilience, and compassion for one another as well as for our vessel, she who has guided us through high seas and has emerged shimmering. Onward we sail, priding ourselves on our warmth and grace, un-envious of the cold, frigid, hulls that trudge through cold, distant water.
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