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matts blog 17.

May 26, 2014 | General

matts blog 17.

matts blog 17.


The Panama canal was incredible and the transit went extremely smoothly. We had a senior pilot on board who really new his stuff and was fantastic help, he had been to New Zealand recently and loved it and it was all he wanted to talk about. The locks are an incredible piece of engineering history and the only real evidence that the canal is a hundred years old are the concrete and brick archways in the side walls. the gates are huge steel walls, heavily dented from impatient ships, that are opened and closed by massive hydraulic rams. Big ships are connected to locomotives known as mules that tow them and support them through the locks. We were lucky in getting the commonly agreed 'best' transit figuration in that we were alongside a canal boat. This meant we simply had to pass lines to the boat who was against the wall and had to do the hard work of easing out the lines or working them in depending on if we were going up or down. inside the canal, transitting the lakes was absolutely spectacular. You are literally driving through the middle of a jungle and it really does show. once we completed the canal transit, after roughly ten hours, we dropped anchor inside the carribean break water. It was only fitting to open up the rum and celebrate entry into the carribean. Expecting pristine weather and smooth sailing with amazing scenery through one of the worlds most popular cruising waters, i have been heavily disappointed. We are in the worst sea conditions we have had all trip and its not supposed to smooth out any time soon. originally we were supposed to be going to Antigua but the guy who was going to replace me on board is unable to make it so now we are heading straight to Bermuda possibly via Jamaica. The natural course from Panama to Bermuda is North East straight Past the East coast of Jamaica and Cuba, we have had to divert west and are likely to be going up the west coast of Jamaica then tacking back to head up the east coast of Cuba. The sea inside the Columbian basin where we are now is extremely confused, there is no prominent swell direction and it's not towering waves that are affecting us it's the odd crater big enough for the hole boat to fall into. We have reduced speed down to a measly 6.5 knots to maintain comfort. Without stopping at Jamaica we should arrive in Bermuda in approximately 8 days, maybe longer if this sea doesn't smooth itself out.
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At 25/05/2014 11:00 (utc) our position was 11°38.07'N 078°59.71'W course 020T speed 6.8 True Wind Direction 081T True Wind Speed19.1
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