Although I am completing Leg 7 of the Race, some legs, like those I am on, have more than one race, so there are more races than legs in total. Tomorrow begins race 11.
We have had a good stopover in Panama. We were greeted at the dock upon arrival by the Clipper Race shore based crew with a welcoming smile and a cooler full of beer and soft drinks. After the photo shoot with our flag for the second place finish, we gathered on shore to get our land legs back under us. There was a fair bit of swaying and staggering until we got used to solid ground under us once again! It wasn't long before we all piled into taxis and headed to Panama City for a night in a hotel, craving clean sheets and a shower.
A good value deal was found for all of us at the Best Western. Linda and I followed the recommendation of the reception staff and tried a Panamanian food place for lunch, and we're glad we did.
Craving red meat, a bunch of us enjoyed Argentinian steak for dinner. The meat portions were huge, juicy and tender.
6am the next morning, we headed back to the boat. Our transit through the Panama Canal began with the boarding of a pilot, who would escort us.
With the pilot safely aboard, we then travelled, together with 2 other Clipper boats to the first of 6 locks, 3 up, through the lake, and 3 down.
We went through the locks, rafted with the 2 other boats, Derry-Londonderry-Doire (DLD) and UNICEF.
Here are more pictures to give you the idea.
These locks are 100+ years old! They reminded me of the Welland Canal, that bypasses Niagara Falls, close to where I grew up. Somehow I expected something on a grander scale. I guess the new locks, opening soon, will have a much greater capacity.
We arrived at Shelter Bay Marina at about 10pm. Most crew were delighted to find the bar still open, and I gather a good number of beers were consumed that night.
The next day, we started work at 7:30am and after final preparations at the dock (refueling, cleaning bunks, rigging check, etc.), we piled into taxis once more and headed for the Radisson in Colon. We were told to always roam in groups and to stay close to the hotel. We did and we were fine.
We spent a day of lounging by the pool and exploring the "Free Zone" (tax free shopping), The next day, we scrounged up a couple of "tour guides" (they didn't speak English) and played tourists for the day.
Today we are to be at the boat at 4 pm. We head off the dock this evening for a motor sail through the night to the start line. Tomorrow is the start of the race.
I hope we can once again keep you on the edge of your seat cheering for us as you follow the little green boat on Race Viewer! We want to be on the podium twice in New York for Leg 7 prize giving!