Monday, April 22, 2019

Panama Canal: Good to Go Tomorrow!

April 22
La Playita Anchorage

We received our transit schedule for the Panama Canal early this morning.  On Saturday evening, we picked up six giant ball fenders and the four long lines required to go through through the canal.

Intermezzo is good to go tomorrow!

Our day will start early at 0445 when we dinghy over to the La Playita marina to pick up our line handler. A boat needs four line handlers, plus the master (skipper) for the canal. I only have three crew aboard and couldn’t press anyone I knew or met into service, so I have to hire a fourth line handler.

We then weigh anchor and proceed at 0530 to a waiting area between Buoys #2 and #4 to receive our mandatory Canal Advisor who is scheduled to board at 0600.  We’ll officially begin the transit upon our entry into the Gatun locks at 0730.  We will be doing a one-day transit (no overnight stop in Gatun lake) and are scheduled to complete our journey through the canal at 1600.  When we exit the canal, we’ll proceed to Shelter Bay Marina, where Intermezzo will have a rest for a couple of weeks.

Receiving the transit schedule this morning was a surprisingly emotional moment for me. I was flooded with memories from the past 3 1/2 years since leaving San Francisco, some very poignant ones arising of people and events unleashing a multitude of strong feelings. I also feel a combination of excitement-fear for tomorrow’s journey.  Going through the canal represents a point of no return for me, I can only proceed forward into new territory, there is no option of turning back.

It is a powerful metaphor for life.  We exist in impermanent moments of no return. The path taken ceases to exist. The start of the path ahead visible, what lies on it unknown, its end a mystery.

Deep stuff for me and my little boat going through a big ditch. Across a continent.

Looking back at the Petaluma River Turning Basin as Intermezzo began this Voyage on October 5, 2015