Monthly Archives: January 2015

Panama Canal Transit update 1/31/15

It’s confirmed! Unless something changes, we pick up our canal adviser (kind of like a harbor pilot for small boats) tomorrow at 5pm est. At which point we head towards the Gatun locks for the start of our transit. From talking to other boaters who have made the trip we should be starting in the first lock around 7pm. (right about the time the Seahawks are scoring their first touchdown) No idea what the lighting is like, but this may be an online photo opp. It takes about an hour to make it through the locks. (There are three of them here ) From there we go to a mooring in Gatun lake to spend the night.

If it’s like other transits, we get our next adviser before 7am and head on through the canal. If all goes well we will reach the Miraflores locks (the other one with a web cam) between 2 and 4pm. I have no idea what kind of cell reception we will have in the canal, but I can try to post updates on the 4-Strange-Byrds Facebook page.

In addition to the three of us and our adviser, we will have an international crew helping us with our lines. (four line handlers our required) We will have a couple from the UK, a gentleman from Belgium and Maribelle from here in Panama will be on board.

We are all full of nervous excitement on the eve of this trip. No one on board except the adviser will have made the trip before.

What’s also very exciting about the transit is that afterwards we’ll be in the Pacific Ocean again after so many years. Almost like coming home except that we’ll be about 40 degrees latitude further south.

Panama Canal Transit

We’re anchored in a rolley little spot in Colon waiting for our canal transit date. We had hoped to take a little trip up the Rio Chagres just west of here to see the abundant jungle wildlife we’ve been told about. But alas the seas are rough, and I’m not brave enough to try a river crossing I’m unfamiliar with. Especially in big seas. So we sit here waiting and watching the Colon wildlife. Ship after ship after ship. There were 29 big ships at anchor outside the breakwater when we came through. I couldn’t count all the ships at anchor, docked and traveling to and from the canal inside the breakwater, but I’m sure there were at least another 30.

We’re currently scheduled to transit the canal on 2/1/15. I requested Feb 1st thinking it was a Sunday and most people would be off work. That way if anybody wanted to, they could look for us going through the canal on one of the live web cams. ( click on the link for multimedia and choose one of the live cameras)  All fine and dandy except for a couple of snags. First, it’s a two-day transit. So we don’t enter the first locks till sometime in the evening on 2/1. We pass through it and anchor for the night and do the rest of the transit on Monday. A day most people are at work. Second and more importantly, Feb 1 is Superbowl Sunday. Now not only am I not going to be able to watch the Seahawks kick the Patriots butt, but we’ll most likely be transiting during game time.

Aarrgh! I messed that one up.

We don’t find out the actual time that we pick up our Canal adviser until Saturday, so we don’t know the actual time of transit until then. I will post something (I hope, provided we have data or internet) when we find out so if anybody is interested they can check us out.

If you happen to be watching for us and you see us, it would be really cool if you can somehow take a screen shot or two to pass along to us.


p.s. I haven’t forgotten to post more on the adventures from the San Blas, but we haven’t had good enough internet to post a bunch of pictures.

Happy New Year from the San Blas

We made it to the San Blas Islands and it’s been an adventure since we got here. It’s a little more civilized than I thought it would be.We bought a sim card for the phone so we could at least get emails at most of the islands we’ve stopped at. Yes there are cell towers here on the mainland and they reach a lot of the islands.

I just wanted to share this video if it will work. We were anchored out when some fishermen came by to sell their catch. One of the items was a small sea turtle. Seeing it was still alive we asked the price. $10. Anna being the great negotiator that she is offered $6. We bought it for $7. I wonder what sea turtle tastes like?

No we didn’t eat it. After the fishermen left we released it. Two days later they were back. Only this time they had two turtles. We talked them down to $7 apiece. Only this time for the release we got in the water with them, and here is the video. ( I hope)

Here are some still shots for you Sam B.


Anna making friends.


Kylan getting hands on marine biology experience.

Fresh conch and turtle.  Yummy! Ok just the conch.

Fresh conch and turtle. Yummy! Ok just the conch.


Kylan releasing the first turtle.








dos tortugas

dos Tortuga

Kylan releasing the first turtle.

Kylan releasing the first turtle.

Turtle belly.

Turtle belly.

Turtle top side.

Turtle top side.