|Entering Colon harbor at dawn|
|This much shipping traffic - our AIS screen. Drift to the wrong side of the channel and harbor control is going to let you know about it.|
|Roberto the Panama Canal admeasurer. Eric got to help measure the Mothership|
|I got to help with paperwork|
South Africa-Cuba. Panamá-Galápagos-Hawai'i.
And so on, to the logical end.
But sometimes to make a big chunk of ocean go by under your keel, you have to get through a little hoop first. Like, for instance, the Panama Canal.
Alisa and I both get instinctively nervous when the movements of the barky are constrained by forces outside our own control.
So when friends shared the news that booking a slot to transit the Canal might get difficult during the peak months of February and March, we saw a problem that needed to be gotten after, quick-like.
We hope/plan/intend to cross to the Pacific side in February, after I return from a fortnight of work in the Great Land and one of those Lesser United States. Like everyone else we know who is transiting the Canal this season, we're making our own arrangements, without using an agent. So, in order to book a slot, we had to clear in to Panama (that doesn't happen when you arrive in the San Blas), get ourselves to Colon to get the boat measured, and then pay our fees.
So it's been a hectic week so far. Ripper sail to the Port of Entry Sunday, on Monday talked the Port official down from a $20 bribe request to $10 to check us in (Where was the steely, "we don't pay bribes" spine of Carolyn Goodlander when I needed it? The official just said to me, "That's fine. Go ahead and check in at Colon then"), caught a ride from friends to the fantastic town of Portobelo to make our peace with Migración and get SIM cards the same day, made our appointment for the admeasurer Tuesday, then journeyed to Colon (where we do not care to anchor) and back today (Wednesday) to get into the Canal system.
Whew. This carefree wanderin' life can be a rush when you're trying to get someplace.
But we feel like we've gotten away with something to get Galactic measured before I jet to Alaska on Sunday.
And meanwhile, we've been having plenty of fun in Panama in our spare time. The birds! The ruins! The Snails!