Sunday, July 29, 2012

Balboa Yacht Club

 The Bridge of the Americas viewed from Talaria in Balboa Yacht Club (BYC). We spent almost a month there on a mooring. Now after El Salvador I interrogate the manager regarding the mooring weight and maintenance. Our mooring was 2 train wheels with 1/2 inch chain, inspected annually. Ok, I was satisfied with that. It was an exciting place to be with huge ships passing alongside the mooring field day and night and sunsets behind the Bridge of the Americas.
ships pass quite close to the mooring field

2 ships passing each other in the channel

This ship is heading south from the bridge after going through the canal

Launcha boats took us back and forth between Talaria and land

dock from the launcha
Talaria in the mooring field with tires, ready to go through the canal

the connection to the mooring

a ship passing south of the bridge at sunset

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Miraflores Locks museum

 The Miraflores Locks museum has an observation area, movie about the construction and display area with models of the equipment used to build the locks.
tugs and ship going through the locks

The locks fill by gravity from Lake Gatun. The locks being constructed now will fill using pumps, recirculating the water.

 There was a hospital on the island of Taboga to care for the malaria and Typhoid victims during the construction of the canal.
a dredging boat model caught Rick's eye

this is a model of the doors on the locks

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Panama Canal Administration building

 The area of Panama City that was used by the Americans to create a city within a city for management of building and maintaining the canal is beautiful. The pict on the left is some of the housing for canal employees near the administration building. The administration building is on top of a hill overlooking the Bridge of the Americas, port of Balboa, railways and an airport. Views from 3 sides are beautiful and the 4th side is another hill with luch tropical foliage and birds.
the north side of the administration building with the Bridge of the Americas in the background

LOCK GATES:  beautiful murals were painted in the rotunda by William B Van Ingen

MIRAFLORES LOCKS:  these murals portray the monumental labor involved in building the canal



 The rotunda is buiilt of marble. Murals were recently restored by Madison WI artist, Anton Rajer.

etchings documenting the construction

 This staircase going up 3 floors is made of Tennessee pink marble and mahogany wood for the railings. It is beautiful.
looking up the staircase

The entrance of the administration building by car.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Preparing for our transit of the Panama Canal

La Playita anchorage
S/V Palm waiting for admeasurer

 Calendars aren't necessary in the cruising lifestyle, but now we had appointments to prepare for our transit. The first was to meet an admeasurer at La Playita anchorage to be measured for the transit and instructions on the steps of preparation. While waiting at La Playita someone came up to our boat in their dinghy with tires from their trip through the canal, from the Atlantic the day before. How Lucky is that!
Rick securing the tires to the deck

Solar panels secured

the lines are layed out on the deck
tires positioned to protect our home

 Then we went to the Citi Bank to pay our fees, $1575 ( $775 for the transit and $800 deposit in case we damage the canal with our boat). Now I really do not understand how our 42 sailboat weighing 20 tons can damage a cement canal that has endured 98 years of use. After the payment, we were able to make a reservation for 8/5 for our transit. It was necessary to line the sides of the boat with old tires, covered with plastic bags and tape. We used 8 tires on a side, doubled at the widest part of the boat. What was the purpose? To make sure our boat was not damaged by the cement sides of the canal. We were blessed to borrow 4 - 125 ft long lines from S/V Blue. The admeasurer suggested to move our solar panels from the sides of the boat to prevent damage. Rick laid them on top of the panels on the stern pulpit with PVC pipe between them. Now we were excited to go!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Panama City Anchorage at Los Brisas

skyscrapers of Panama City in the background
 Las Brisas anchorage was where we spent our first week in Panama City. It is supposed to have calm waters but the storms caused 1 to 3 foot wind waves. That is ok until you try to take the dinghy to shore and get slapped in the face several times.
The third morning I leisurely took my coffee up to the cockpit to the sight of a boat floating loose in the anchorage. This is alarming as it could hit other boats in its travels. Rick and I along with 3 other sailors in dinghies went to rescue it. It was a derelict boat with no power, couldn't hot wire the engine, anchor was rusted off the cable and no other anchor on board to reset it. After pushing on it with the 4 dinghies for an hour, finally we agreed it couldn't be saved and let it go up against the causeway rocks. As you can see below that could be the end of a boat, but this was a steel boat and the Panamanian Navy came to it's rescue. The Port Captain told us a couple of days later that they were not able to reach the owner and Panama has no laws to keep people from just abandoning their boat at anchor in the waters of Panama. Irresponsible boaters can cause problems for everyone.
a ship going through the canal channel behind the causeway

storm skirts provide privacy for cockpit showers

the Bridge of the Americas

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sailing from Bahia Honda to Panama City

Buddy boating is the safest way to travel the long, remote distances along the coastline to Panama City. S/V Blue and S/V Palm accompanied Talaria in this leg of our journey. We anchored on the north side of Isla Cebaco and then in Bahia Naranjo giving us 2 day trips before the 24 hour voyage to round Punt Mala into the Bay of Panama. We expected good weather but were surprised as we neared Punta Mala with northerlies right on our noses. 36 hours of rough seas and motor sailing into the wind is NOT what you see in ads for sailing boats. We were grateful to find the south anchorage at Isla Otoque to be protected by the high elevation on the island. We hid from the north winds (completely unexpected in this season) for 2 nights. A day trip to Taboga Island was disappointing as we hoped to get a mooring buoy but they were full. We anchored off the north side of the island with a strong north wind still howling through the rigging. The following day Blue and Palm traveled to Vacamonte to investigate the work yard and we proceeded to the Las Brisas Anchorage off Panama City.
No pictures due to the broken camera........