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.