You can also get a panga guy to take you to either of the 2 anchorages
(on either side) were the yachts wait to go through, just ask around, you should have a spot within an hour. If you dont want to get your feet wet, then introduce yourself on the vhf
cruisers net in the morning which is on both sides (cant remember the channel). We went through May 2008, at night from the Atlantic side. With two small kids
we could not reciprocate w.r.t. linehandling but plenty other cruisers were linehandling for eachother, going forwards and backwards. We were 3 boats rafted together which often happens, so on those 3 boats you only need 4 handlers, when rafting there are often way more linehandlers than actually needed...We left Colon at 7pm, we were through the 2nd lock at 1am. Also a lot of cruisers overdo it with the tire fenders (ourselves included). Put cushions
on your solar panels
. It cost us about $1500 using an agent. An agent is not really necessary (they charge approx $400) you have time to do it yourself, its made to sound more complicated than what it actually is.