On Friday we joined Chris on his 28' Vancouver Pilot, "SeaBear", as linehandlers and motored out to The Flats to await the arrival of the Adviser. There were two other boats there and it wasn't long before we all had our pilot advisers on board and set off the 4 miles to the first locks. Here we rafters up and the advisers decided that our little boat couldn't handle the lines, so the two larger ones handled the job. So there we were, four large blokes, teetering around the deck in blazing sun and no shade anywhere except under the tiny helmsman's Bimini which was as low as my shoulders. We followed a cargo vessel and sail training vessel,Argo, into the lock.
The triple lock up to Gatun Lake is impressive, with 4 meaty locomotives hauling the cargo ship through, and 4 people dealing with our lines. They throw a weighted line across to the boat, where we tie on a 150' mooring line. When we have got to the right spot the dock handlers haul in the morning lines and drop the loop over a bolllard. The boats crews then have a hard time hauling these in to maintain tension while a maelstrom of water is unleashed, filling the lock at about 1 foot per second.
Once through to the lake we were directed to moor to a buoy for the night. Chris produced a good super of roast chicken and pototoes and some welcome beer. Then Mark slept on deck and Chris in the cockpit while Steve Justin and I got berths below. Very hot night !
The following morning different advisers arrived at 06:30 and we set off to motor through the lakes. There is impressive forest cover to the water's edge and little islands from drowned hill tops. We spotted a couple of crocs too.
Once down the far side we were moored outside the Balboa Yacht Club at about 14:00 and went ashore for cold beers and a bite of lunch before our taxi took us and another crew back to Shelter Bay.
Altogether a very useful recce.
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Apologies for any text errors