It’s weird being in a marina again (the last time was more than 3 months ago when we were in Cape Verde)! Having unlimited water and electricity is sheer luxury! We arrived here on Monday and getting into the harbour was quite an experience with so many big ships around! On Tuesday morning somebody from the canal authorities came to measure the boat (a requirement before they schedule your transit). We could have gone through the canal on Wednesday but as we didn’t expect such a fast turnaround we simply weren’t ready and need to do the provisioning and maintenance jobs first (when we get to other side of the canal we will anchor and not be in marina making all those things harder to do). So we are now booked in for our transit on Monday. We will leave the marina around lunchtime together with 3 extra line handlers and a transit advisor (which is obligatory and provided by the canal authorities) and go through the first set of locks into Gatun Lake where we will anchor overnight. The next day we will then do the second stretch arriving in the Pacific mid afternoon.
The boys are having a ball hanging out with other marina kids who are also being neglected by their parents busy preparing their boats for the Pacific. The marina has great facilIties and the kids have been making great use of the swimming pool and the space to skateboard and scooter around. The air-conditioned library and lounge area have been perfect for morning school work and with other kids around it almost felt like being in a proper classroom! Our days are very busy here. My main job is to do the provisioning … Preparing for the Altantic crossing was easy in comparison. This trip is much longer and most of the Pacific Islands will not have supermarkets. We need to plan months and months ahead. I did the first part of the provisioning yesterday and managed to get a van load full of beer, water, juice, tinned foods, pasta, rice etc back to the boat. Now comes the job of stacking, storing and organising. We need to write down where everything is stored in the boxes under the beds as otherwise we’ll forget what we have and where to find it. Meanwhile Seathan is busy changing oil filters, servicing the engines and getting through his list of small fixes and repairs. We would have liked to install a windgenerator but it is impossible to get anything delivered here within a reasonable timeframe unless you pay an extortionate amount to FedEx or DHL for priority delivery. Even without those deliveries Panama has been a costly affair! The canal transit fees, cruising permit, tourist visas and harbour fees are all very expensive. But then again the alternative is to go all the way around Cape Horn and not really something I fancy (although I think Seathan wouldn’t mind 😉)