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Our Panama Canal Transit
At last the preparations for our transit are complete.  We have completed the mountain of paperwork, been visited by officials, been officially measured, procured long lines, masses of tires as fenders and we’re ready to transit the Panama Canal, a real landmark in every respect for ocean sailors as it takes us from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  We were in company with friends on Myrdinn and Meta, and more friends line-handling for us.  Having taken on our pilot, we head for the Gatun locks, where we rise 85 feet in a raft of 3 yachts, tucked behind a freighter.  We spend a night on the beautiful Gatun Lake and spend half of the next day motoring across the lake towards the Miraflores locks.  Passing through the Gaillard Cut we feel humbled as we consider the tens of thousands of lives that were lost to create this amazing feat of engineering but all too soon we’re in the Miraflores lock, waving to webcams as we drop down to the Pacific ocean and as we pass under the Bridges of the Americas we’ve arrived in the Pacific.  I felt a sense of anticlimax, and relief as we do not experience any of the damage that so many cruising folk love to talk about.  8,000 miles to go to NZ!
Date(s): February 2007. Album by Gerard Coulson. Photos by Gerard Coulson. 1 - 81 of 81 Total. 8 Visits.
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Enlarge photo 1

Myrdinn takes on her pilot

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and now we line up

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Our little convery heads for the Gatun locks

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Nina, one of our linehandlers

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Crocodile!!

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See, it really is a croc!

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We make up a raft

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Ben takes our line

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and the kids are quite excited!

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traffic behind us

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Ben talks to the chief pilot

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Ben

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We enter the first lock

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and in front is our larger companion

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Our pilot, Roy, looks on

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Panama Canal Transit 50

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Here we go

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The Myrdinn kids

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Ben receives a monkey's fist and attaches a shore line

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Beccy

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Skipper

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Nina and Angus

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Panama Canal Transit 64

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Goodbye Caribbean

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Clarabella turns her transom on the Caribbean

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Panama Canal Transit 68

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The gates close

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Panama Canal Transit 74

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Ernst on Myrdinn

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Panama Canal Transit 78

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And up we go

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Eric and I chat about how it's going

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Sarah and Roger

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Our view astern, now that we've risen

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Nina keeps the kids happy

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Panama Canal Transit 96

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After the first set of locks we moor for the night in the Gatun Lake, alongside a huge buoy

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Early next morning

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The brothers enjoy a cuppa

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Panama Canal Transit 108

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Sunrise

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Ruth plays Top Trumps with Tom

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Rebecca reads a book

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and Nina knits

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We head off across the Gatun lake

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Throught Banana Cut, following the route of an old railway!

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We slowly catch up Myrdinn

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Panama Canal Transit 124

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and overtake

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Panama Canal Transit 133

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This is how we look as we push past

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and here comes Meta

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Panama Canal Transit 137

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Our pilot for this day, Victor, spent his time chatting on our VHF radio and reading kids books and not much else

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Some traffic going the other way

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Passing down the Gaillard Cut, where many thousands of lives were lost in its making

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More oncimg traffic

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Panama Canal Transit 151

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Which would you rather be on!

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The ineffectual Victor

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Our raft approaches the first of the down-locks

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Panama Canal Transit 157

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Ruth and Angus, line-handling for Meta

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Ben and Me

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Ben and Nina

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Panama Canal Transit 167

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One mile to the Miraflores locks

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Panama Canal Transit 173

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Margrita from Myrdinn locks down on us!

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Panama Canal Transit 175

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and this is how we look!

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Getting ready for our first glimpse of the Pacific

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and here it is! The PACIFIC

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Victor does not too impressed however

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Ben tidies lines up as we approach the Bridges of The Americas which joins North and South America

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A tired but happy Dad cuddles his kids

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Panama Canal Transit 186

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Monica looking glamorous for the Pacific!

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Meta

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Myrdinn

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The Bridge of the Americas, and we enter the Pacific

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