We were scheduled to pickup our advisor at 5:45am. The view above is looking up the Canal (north) toward the Bridge of the Americas as the rain comes in. Needless to say the advisor was rescheduled for 9am, not because of the weather – just because they wanted to get us up early. We drank coffee in the meantime.
As soon as Freddie showed up we took off for the first pair of locks, Mira Flores. We were scheduled for a ‘special lock’, which basically means there are no big ships going through. In our case it was us and the high-tech Canal tug Changuinola. The Changuinola ran along near us in the Canal as we made our way to the first locks. He decided to give us some entertainment along the way.
Here’s the Changuinola doing 360’s in the Canal, just to play with us. These tugs can turn, at high speed, full 360’s. They run forward or backward equally as fast. You’ll probably have to click on the above pic to see the spins. This is what you do when you have a Joystick and 5,845 horsepower. She has 30,000 gallons of fuel and almost 2,000 gallons of fire suppressant foam.
The Rentz appears to be setting up for a boarding and subsequent attack on the Peace Boat. The Peace Boat is an international relief boat http://www.peaceboat.org/english/
When you center-lock in the locks there are 4 line handlers on the sidewalls that throw a tag line down with a big monkey fist on the end. You take the line and tie it to your heavy 125 foot dock lines and they pull them back up to the pier. The bull's-eye target and the high-bar is where the line handlers practice their marksmanship. Twice a year they have a contest.
This is the maintenance yard in Gamboa near the Continental Divide on the Canal. The floating crane is the Titan, one of the worlds largest. It was built in Germany during WWII and confiscated as war booty by the US. It worked in Long Beach for 50 years and then came to the Canal in 1999. It does an easy job of picking up the lock gates and moving them for maintenance.
We got to Lake Gatun in the center of Canal about 2:30pm, normally early enough to lock down to the Atlantic side. This day they were only locking ships up in the afternoon. So we side tied to this giant rubber mooring, went swimming in the lake and drank beer.
About 30 minutes after you pass through the last locks you enter the inner anchorage in Cristobal. Here’s a Texaco tanker getting some major welding done – you can see the cutting torch sparks in the blow up.
I’m crewing on Kokomo’s transit on Monday. Pretty soon I’ll have this down.