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Ocean Planet is now in the Atlantic.

21st March 2002


It was very different going down in the Gatun locks compared to going up in the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks. I got a funny feeling looking out over the water and land in front of us, like we were on a giant wave about to come crashing down on it all. Going down, the freighters go behind rather than in front like before so the view ahead was pretty cool, aside from my giant wave ‘vision’.

Check out this whopping car carrying box behind us: 


Once we got in the lock it looked like it was scraping on the sides, but they fit better than they look and the control system is quite secure. Of course there are accidents (you saw the wreck pic earlier), but considering the close quarters that the giant freighters have to maneuver in, it is amazing there aren’t more.

Over the last month on this trip, it has been very hot with hardly a drop of rain. So it was fitting that the instant we exited the first chamber in the Gatun locks (and officially entered the Atlantic in my opinion), we were greeted with a torrential downpour! We were drenched.

Here is the view looking fwd before we entered the last chamber:


And here is my Ocean Planet for the trip to Antigua, Serge Martial, Greg Nelsen (just can’t get rid of this guy), and our fellow SSS member (the Singlehanded Sailing Society of SF Bay) George Luna:


After exiting the final locks we motored over the Cristobol Yacht Club, but it wasn’t deep enough for us to get next to anyone. We needed to drop off Hank and Dave so we hailed a good samaritan cruiser going by in his inflatable with his family to help us out. They came right back out in the pouring rain after dropping off all but a driver and then we said goodbye to Hank and Dave. The great thing about sailors from all over the world is that always help each other out, no matter where they are from on this big ocean planet…

Now we are anchored out in the main harbor with a lot of interesting yachts around. Tomorrow we’ll get a better look at them in the light, and I’ll go find immigration so that we can check out of the country. There is still a bit of packing and organizing to do since the trip to Antigua will be quite rough. I’m not looking to beating against the trades but I guess I’d better get used to it.

I’ll try to get a note out tomorrow, if not you’ll here from us soon after we depart.

More later,



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