Canal Crossing Preparations

Since returning from San Blas, we have been preparing for our canal crossing. We are using an agent to assist with bureaucracy and have decided to use the professional line handlers. Because of the size of Kariwa, we will have a pilot as opposed to a canal advisor. We will also have 4 line handlers.

It seems we will transit in the afternoon so all the canal crew will arrive soon after lunch. Here is the kicker. We may have to anchor overnight at Gamboa which is close to the Pacific-side locks. This means the line handlers will stay on board. 4 people? We have to feed them hot meals and provide bottled water. That will be the most people we have had on board. Ever. I am busy preparing food in advance. These guys are getting Boboti for dinner. Hope they like it.

We changed all the Racor filters yesterday, and also the fuel/water separator on the wing engine which happened to be leaking. We also got a grease gun to grease the nipples on the steering rods. We can’t risk anything going wrong during this transit. The fines for having a break down or delaying a lock closing are crippling.

Frank has discussed a strategy for leaving the dock in 25kt winds. The wind will be from the aft starboard quarter and so will blow the stern away. The plan has been decided. We will keep a long bow line, then let go all the lines starting from stern, working forwards except the bow line. This will cause the stern to blow around and we will do a 180deg pivot to face the exit. Fingers crossed. Fortunately the line handlers know what to do. I will be filming all this. Once outside the marina, we will be in “the flats”, which is a big anchorage for ships and cruising boats, where we will pick up the pilot before heading over to the first lock at Gatun.

Food is ready, cabins are ready, line handlers are on board. Lets do this.