Our transit from Atlantic to Pacific was scheduled for Tuesday the 21st of Feb at 2pm. Unfortunately the ShelterBay shipyard had not relaunched TonTin on Saturday, while I was doing my trial run through the canal. So on Monday morning it was upsetting to find that they had another boat scheduled and couldn't fit us in. Plus their crane driver hasn't turned up to work till 1pm!
However I said that we were originally scheduled to transit on Monday at 3pm, and they didn't hear the "originally" and got te painting finished and the boat in the water by 2pm. That gave us time to collect the repaired sails, fill with water, hose off the dust etc. We had also had the help of Pierric Bages, a very helpful French electrician, trying to sort out issues with loss of battery power, and he worked up to the last moment investigating the problem before we left.
We motored over to anchor at The Flats to wait for our adviser/ pilot and by 5pm were rafter up with another yacht and entering the first of the three lock Gatun series. Ahead we had a cargo vessel and a large motor boat. Our team took one pair of lines, while our companion boat took the port side pair. By the time we had reached the top lock it was pitch black, and we motored quickly to the designated mooring buoys. Here we took a chance and used red paint to stencil TIN TIN ROUND THE WORLD onto the faded red buoy, hoping we wouldn't get arrested. However at breakfast it was obvious that no one was likely to spot our red on red graffiti!
The next day got off to a slow start as Omar didn't arrive till about 10:30 and then we only motored at about 5-6 knots all the way, overtaking large vessels that all seemed to have to wait till critical bends in the channel were clear of boats heading north. So it was5pm when we picked up the last available mooring at Balboa Yacht Club, and handed our lines and fenders to the boatman with the required $12. Once we'd got our selves sorted we got ferried ashore by the club boat to the pontoon at the end of a long bridge to the shore. The plastic thatched bar of the Yacht Club soon delivered supper and cold drinks before we headed back to sleep, content that we were safely through this momentous crossing of the continent.