Several major milestones have happened for the Tahina Expedition in the last 24 hours. First a quick summary of both the good news and bad. The good news: We have new two new crew joining us all the way to Tahiti, we are confirmed for the Panama Canal transit this afternoon, we have completed the first ever night-time 360 panorama from a boat in the canal locks, we appeared on a National Geographic blog yesterday, and we have completed dozens of tasks in preparation for the transit. The bad news: we are one line-handler short, our fridge broke-down yesterday afternoon, and we still have dozens of tasks left to do.
We are thrilled to have welcomed aboard last night two new crew members who will help us with the long crossings in the Pacific to the Galapagos, to the Marquesas, and on to Tahiti. We have been talking to multiple crew candidates for some time, but we finally selected a couple whose goal is to get their own boat and wanted to acquire blue water experience while also making their way ultimately to New Zealand. Their names are Lara and Jason and they are young professionals (one in information technology, the other in marketing communications) and both have a passion for sailing and have raced sailboats in Florida. After getting references, we finally told them yes on Saturday, and they managed to get flights to arrive here last night in order to join us for the canal transit.
Yesterday morning we made arrangements to go to a bank in Colón and meet our canal agent so we could withdraw cash and pay him for the Panama Canal transit. We used a canal agent named Stanley who is a popular choice here at Shelter Bay. Later that day he delivered the long lines and fenders we are required to have for the transit on board Tahina. We also bought more provisions to make sure we had food and drinks for the extra crew during the transit. The agent also arranged for our fumigation certification required for the Galapagos. And, finally the agent let us know our transit time is to be at the anchorage outside the locks at 2 PM. It takes as long as 24 hours to get through the entire canal. Stanley always seems to come through with solutions to the transit process and makes sure to take care of the details. We want everyone to try and watch our transit via the canal web cams (and take screenshots). More instructions on the timing in a post later.
Last night I managed to squeeze in some time to process one of the several 360 panoramas I took during the trial transit I did over the weekend. The first transit was done at night, and as far as I know this is the first 360 panorama ever done at night from a boat during a Panama canal transit. Check it out here:
We had asked a couple to help out with line handling – who wanted to come to get experience before their transit. But, last night they got word their boat will go through the canal in a few days. We understood perfectly their dilemma, and told them we would find someone else. That will have to happen this morning. We are required to have four line handlers and a skipper on board for the transit.
Yesterday while cleaning out the fridge, Karen managed to poke a hole in our cold-plate. Unfortunately, the refrigerant managed to escape before we could get a patch on the hole, so now our fridge is inoperable. We need to get it properly repaired and recharged very soon. We won’t have time for that until we get through the canal. We have a cold-box in our cockpit where we can temporarily store the foods – and we hadn’t bought all the cold stuff so we have room in our freezer as well. So, an inconvenience, but not a disaster.
We still have dozens of tasks left before we leave Panama for the Galapagos. But, all the important ones can be completed within a week. One of the most important is that we need to get a number of items delivered to us from the US. Our plan is to fly Karen home for a few days next week and have her bring the stuff back in her luggage. There are a couple of inexpensive airline options from Panama City to the US.
Watch for the next posts today for tips on when we are going through the canal so you can watch us through the web cams.