We awoke nice and early and found our surroundings to be calm and peaceful on Lake Gatun.
Our advisor for the day, Astro, joined us and we began our journey across the lake. We’d been told it takes 5-6 hours to cross over to the next locks, but with both engines going, we made it in 3 1/2 hours.
I’ve heard several say that the trip across the lake is so boring, but I thought it was beautiful! It amazed me that the jungle we were seeing was actually the tops of mountains before the lake was formed. Beautiful pink, yellow and white flowering trees stood out against the green of the coconut palms, mango trees, ceiba and giant kapok.
Small islands alive with birds song and beautiful growth are scattered all around.
When we reached the locks we waited for a couple of monohulls to arrive, and when they did we rafted them to either side of Tanda Malaika.
It felt strange and I prayed that all fenders had been placed well so that no scratching would take place on any of the boats.
We ended up with an Italian family off port and a Danish family off starboard.
Once again the creatures did an amazing job, as their experience allowed them to calmly set things up as they should be.
Poor Mycah spent the entire time in the canal sneezing up a storm. She tried various allergy medications, but nothing helped. Land just doesn’t seem to agree with her.
Danny did an amazing job at captaining not only Tanda Malaika, but the two attached boats. He maneuvered the huge mass around like he’d been doing it his entire life.
I am so in love with tug boats. I think they are the cutest vessels, and loved watching them push all sorts of things around.
The first lock of the day was a short distance from the second and third locks. The areas terrain didn’t allow for all three to be built right after the other like the three on our first day.
The line handlers up on the walls did a great job throwing the monkey fists onto the boats, and keeping us centered while we waited for the locks to empty.
The pickle took his place on the bow as a line handler too, and did a fine job as always. He seems to be so good at everything (except scuba diving)!
As the hours ticket away, everyone got goofier and goofier.
We kept Danny and Astro well fed and hydrated. Our excitement grew as we moved from one lock to the next, knowing that soon we would be in an entirely different ocean. Huge crowds of people waved at us as we passed the observation buildings. Finally we could see the blue of the Pacific on the other side!!
The 75ft of water in the lock slowly drained and finally, open sesame!!!
It was so wonderful having Suzanne with us for the trip. We are going to miss her so much.
Kiffin is still stuck with us for another month, and we are loving having her along for the adventure.
Now that we are finally at anchor in Balboa on the Pacific side, it is interesting to see the difference in the oceans. The Pacific has a different smell and the water is so much colder. Tide changes are huge here, about 20ft, so anchorages are deeper.
We are so excited to embark on the next adventure.