Friday, December 16, 2011


No, not a mental institution (though there are days!) We are now committed to going through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific aboard Astarte. We have been “Admeasured” by the Canal Authority and have paid hundreds of our favorite US dollars to our excellent agent, Erick. And we have a date. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, December 28, 2011. You can watch us go through the locks on the Canal's website.

The Admeasuring took place on a rainy Tuesday. Ingrid was our Canal Authority official who came aboard to do the paperwork and measuring.

Yup. They take out a big tape measure and actually measure the boat bow to stern. Then its lots of questions and paperwork. Questions include how fast the boat will go, how much fuel you carry, do you have a clean, working toilet, will you have bottled water for the adviser etc. She was aboard about an hour and then we signed away a bunch of papers including the fact that anything that happens while in the locks is our fault!

With that completed, we called our agent Erick Galvez and picked a date. We thought it would be fun to be on the Pacific side for the New Year. Now we have to find three additional people to join us as line-handlers. You need four line-handlers and the captain aboard to go through the locks. Any volunteers? You have to be here by December 27 and it takes two days. We'll be in Panama City (Port of Balboa) by the afternoon of December 29).

After we paid Erick, we fueled up (ouch) and then left Shelter Bay Marina. We always love what we call “zero dollar days.” That's a day where we don't spend any money (sure we eat food that we bought earlier – but we don't actually spend any dollars.) Tuesday was anything BUT a zero dollar day. Between paying for the marina fees and the Panama Canal passage fees – we burnt through a couple of thousand bucks!

We have to head back to the marina on the 26th to get our tires for fenders and our four 250 ft. lines (the agent provides these) and some groceries for the Canal crossing. Now we are trying to find other cruisers to line handle for us and get the boat ready.

New photos have also been put on now that we have a better internet connection – pics of some of the yard work and new chain.

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