Friday, December 16, 2016


They FINALLY got their transit time slot and were off like a prom dress. 
Funny enough, they are following the Damgracht southbound through the Canal. 
This is the freighter that will be picking up the boat in Costa Rica in 4 weeks time and shipping it to Ensenada, Mexico. Brad will then cruise INCOGNITO home on final leg of the Chasing the Sun Tour III voyage from Ensenada once the freighter arrives. 

One pilot and two line handlers later, they are ready. The newest requirement since we went through the canal two years ago was that full meals are to be included for the line handlers and that they MUST include red meat. How funny is that?!

Here's a view what the radar looks like as al the boats are lined up at the mouth of the canal.

The guys awoke to a beautiful day and were ready to get the canal passage underway!

Ah...the pilot boat arrives with our pilot and line handlers for the first transition
until they change out in Gatun Lake which is about halfway through the canal. That's where they spent the night prior to commencing the next leg of the locks. The pilot got off the boat, but the line handlers stayed all night.
Time to board...
The first locks that they will transit are what are called the Atlantic locks. There are 3 sets of locks total that they will go up one at a time, before arriving at Lake Gatun. Interestingly, the concrete cranes you see on either side of this photo are where the new bridge over the canal is going to be.

Here's what transitioning the canal looks like on our radar...
Here's B-rad entering the first set of locks.

And here's their new neighbor pulling up nice & close...
It's TIME to get this show on the road...

The transit up the Atlantic locks was in the "nested" position, which meant Brad had a boat on either side of him. This is a pic of the 45' sailboat that was tied to his starboard side. It's a tight fit!
The following 2 pix is of a 45' catamaran tied to their port side.
They were a friendly bunch!
When they exited the third lock entering Gatun Lake, the freighter in front of them hit the throttles and caused all sorts of prop wash that pitched their 3 boats tied together all caddywompus. It was quite a chore to keep the boats off the wall, and Brad was the only one under power. That meant it was his responsibility to make sure no fiberglass met concrete. NO pressure!
The feeling of cruising through the Panama Canal is nothing short of...

Nightfall was upon them...
That light sure casts the perfect reflection on the water as they transition to Gatun Lake for the night.

The boys transited the Atlantic locks and then had to spend the night at anchor in Gatun Lake.

The Pilot left once they arrived in Gatun lake. The champagne was then popped....
 and a special Bishtastic dinner was served.
They spent the night there along with the two line handlers who camped out on the cockpit floor on the lounge chair cushions. Odd feeling having strangers camping out in your closest quarters, but part of the gig.

The boys took off the next day around noon as they had to await a new pilot to arrive for the next portion of the canal transit which was all of
Lake Gatun along with the 3 Pacific locks.

Brad having fun goofing off...I just love this man to the ends of the earth!!
And a pyramid out there? Who knew?!
Ah, the infamous Bridge of the Americas...
Bish was keeping' it fancy for the guys...nom nom!
Every lock is completely exciting to witness firsthand!
How cool to see such a feat of engineering. 
These little trains move the larger freighter boats through the locks.
Jim and a line handler take a selfie.
Jim works his best moves...he's ready for his close-up!

An aerial view of our boat in a lock with a massive freighter behind us... I was able to get this photo from Brad's sister who took it from a live webcam. Amazing!

Meanwhile, back at home...I was busy watching every second of their transit. With an app called Marine traffic, I was able to monitor their movement and progress which made it exciting as well.  It was funny to see a photo of our boat on this app that someone uploaded when we were in St Barths. Who knew?!

Even the port calls were cool!

If you look really carefully, just to the left of the middle you will see a grey triangular shape which represents INCOGNITO. This icon moved along with the boats movements.
This is the practice target for the newbie line handlers who work for the canal. This is so that they can practice throwing the monkey fist down to the boats. I recall a few years back when one of them threw the money fist my way, and I hit the deck and covered my head. HA!
That thing was a flying weapon.

Here's a great shot of the canal doors closing behind them. Jim is at the ready to capture this event!
Here's the motley crew as they enjoy this grand adventure.
Everyone is growing some kind of beard at this point..
I was able to see them transit the final Pacific lock via LIVE webcam. This was really exciting to watch and BEYOND AWESOME!!! I last experienced the canal passage 2 years ago when we commenced our adventure, so seeing it from this perspective was almost as good as being there.
This photo was supplied by Carly via how she got it just right!
This shot shows how tiny INCOGNITO is next to a large red freighter.
Can you see them in the foreground to the left of the HUGE red ship?
Brad was a happy clam to spot the Pacific Ocean in the distance at the Miraflores locks.
What an adventure & just too exciting for words!

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