This website collects loads of information and hyperlinks about the Panama Canal and Panama in general, including weather and a live TV camera on the Mira Flores Locks, the last set before the Pacific. You can also go directly to pancanal.com for Canal information and the live camera.
Time is running by rapidly, and arrangements happening so smoothly, that our transit through the Canal is already set for Tuesday, January 23. You won't be able to see us on the website TV camera then, however, because we won't go through that last set of locks for several weeks as we are stopping for projects at the Pedro Miguel Boat Club which is inside the Canal. We have heard, though not yet confirmed, that we will be able to give you the date and time of our exit through the Mira Flores Locks and you will be able to retrieve that "clip" after the fact. Much more practical than sitting around your computer for hours, especially as the "live" TV camera updates itself in 3 second jerks....plenty of speed for the lock action, but we may look a bit odd as we wave to you!!
Sitting in the "Flats"
-- the small-boat anchorage off the Panama Canal Yacht Club -- is
a little like being anchored in Charlotte Amalia x Crown Bay (of
St. Thomas) combined and multiplied by a factor of 10. Huge
The anchorage is close to the Panama Canal Yacht Club, a facility with an ambivalent attitude about the cruisers passing through, and, frankly, about life in general. Their continued existence is in some doubt as the property is now in the hands of the Chinese who bought the concession for the Canal operation! They'd rather stack more containers there than have a pretty yacht club! However they have a restaurant and a great, air-conditioned bar with draft beer, both of which the cruisers wholeheartedly support.
Colon shoulders a horrible reputation. Captain Fatty Goodlander of the Virgins, currently on a sponsored, fast-track circumnavigation, described the city as being "more like the spelling of its name than its pronunciation!" Everybody we know, including ourselves, came here with trepidation. We, however, have had quite a pleasant experience so far. The city we've seen is no worse than any other South American urban area (and the Yacht Club is an island in a relatively bad area), the taxi drivers know just what cruisers need and how to make it happen, and the bureaucracy, although a bit complex, has functioned smoothly and without delay! The people are friendly and many speak both Spanish and English.
We have also had access to the Internet for the first time in ages and have finally seen the winlink findu site (which is now a hyperlink on the www.thetwocaptains.com home page!) Now I see why Don's Dad gets so excited when he's caught the position report with in an hour of its posting. I will make an effort to send in reports more often even when we sit still so it won't look like old news when we don't move!
Saturday we will do our
first Canal transit as line handlers for a yacht called Maritime
Express. Always a good idea to practice on someone else's boat!
We are quite excited, and will let you know all about it.