South America

It appears the prerequisites of training in the military here in Shelter Bay, Panama are….

  • The ability to play a trumpet / bugle with gusto at all hours of the day and night
  • To be able to respond loudly in unison to orders
  • Sing with a similarly loud shouty voice what sound like patriotic songs


Of course, this may indeed be exactly the same as the British or Polish or Nigerian, etc, etc, as I know very little, nay nothing, about military training. I thought the military were supposed to sneak up quietly and surprise the enemy. Isn’t that what camouflage clothing is designed for? Sneaking with a bugle seems a little contradictory.


I tuned into the military soundtrack as we’re anchored off a training establishment waiting for our transit date through the canal. The Pacific is but 36 miles away.


Which means Jamaica is a memory after five mostly uneventful days at sea, apart from the flaky autopilot which flaked again.  No crumbliest, flakiest chocolate, just shouting in the middle of the night to raise the sleeping crew then 30 frantic minutes to diagnose, plan, act then breathe.


Most folk use an agent to aid and oil the paperwork and associated necessities of getting a transit. We are part way through the process but have chosen to sort things ourselves. The spondoolies will stay in our pockets for a little work ourselves.


Grace has been measured, we wait for our payment to land in the predetermined bank account and then we get a day and time. Well days actually. South bound transits depart mid afternoon. The protocol seems to be go through the first set of locks, tie to a mooring ball in the Gatun Lakes then complete the journey the following day, through the second set of locks, under the Bridge of the Americas and officially into the Pacific.


Colon is the land of big ships, of which there are many. Dave has actually gone through the canal as  a line handler the last couple of days on a friend’s catamaran …(a) to help out someone else and (b) to see what it’s like before going through ourselves. I stayed back to get Grace officially  measured and to fill in some paperwork.






We have turned our satellite phone back on which means that the tracking page on this website is working again. You can easily stalk us, should you choose, as we    make progress through the canal, out into the Pacific and west towards New Zealand, our original aspiration when we set off from the UK back in June 2016. The red dot 🔴is a slow mover. It’ll likely take us 25 to 30 days to get from Panama to the Marquesas Archipelago. But more of that later. Stand by.

2 thoughts on “South America

  1. Alysen Nila says:


    It sounds like your enjoying somewhat the trials and tribulations Of the slower pace , less technology and bureaucracy at its best in Panama . I didn’t know Dave and yours final desired destination was New Zealand , I though it was Panama. I am sure New Zealand will be beautiful .. I sent you some text messages , but I guess your phone is off. I was wondering how you guys were doing.. I knew you were crossing to Panama , and hadn’t gotten an update in awhile.. I looked you up on the AIS website and found you guys had already docked and made it to Panama . I was happy that you guys made a safe journey.

    Wish you both the best at your Panama Canal adventure coming up .. and safe travels across.. be safe.

    Alysen 🙂🌴🏝🏖 South Florida

    Sent from my iPhone



    • grace of longstone says:

      Great to get your message. Yes you’re right …..our USA phone is no more.
      I appreciate the fact you’re still following us.

      Last night Dave spotted a crocodile in the marina here. Is that one up or one down from a great white shark!?


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