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Old 01-01-2014, 09:45   #1
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Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

Happy New Year to all!
This question has probably been asked before but I guess that, depending on the time of the year, the answers change.
We intend to transit the Canal from the Pacafic to the Caribbean side in the second or third week of March of this (2014) year.
Does anyone have an estimate for the average waiting time before we will be allowed to transit?

Jan
sv Caixa, presently in Puerto Madero, Chiapas
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Old 01-01-2014, 13:41   #2
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Re: Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

I have never seen more than a week going that way. Atlantic to Pacific can range from 1 week to occasionally 6 weeks at that time of year.
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Old 01-01-2014, 13:57   #3
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Re: Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

Lot less boats going that way than otherwise, so usually lots of room. Not sure if time of year has anything to do with it, but in September we could have gone though the second day after admeasurement (the bank has to clear payment), which was the day after I wandered into the canal office to sign up. I asked for a couple of days extra to round up line handlers, etc. Then I was rescheduled once, to the next day, for inexplicable reasons. But the Panama City side is a pleasant place to spend a week or two anyway--catch up on shopping and eating out and what-all. Far less pleasant doing such in Colon.
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Old 01-01-2014, 14:08   #4
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pirate Re: Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

I was told 10 days when I arrived end of April.. but ended up being 22 days.. some had been waiting 6 weeks... one had left and had to return 4 times when his pilot did not show at the anchorage..
The problem is usually lack of pilots for each sail boat.. each must have their own.. regardless of the fact you raft up for the locks and have to travel in convoy through the lake.
In the main they are part timers working full time on commercial vessels.. if they're busy with their tugs etc you wait till they've spare time.
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Old 01-01-2014, 14:41   #5
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Re: Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

If this is the first time that your boat has transited the canal then you must first get measured and obtain your Panama Canal number. This may take a few days or more to accomplish; then you can schedule the transit. If it has transited before then you can save time and money by finding the number. I recommend that you not try to schedule your transit soon after arrival, but instead plan on spending some time in Panama City and volunteering to be a line handler on other boats. Often you can trade this service with others to help you get through. If you can't be bothered then hire professional line handlers - they will keep you out of trouble in the locks. At a minimum use other sailors and not anyone unfamiliar with line handling (like backpackers looking for the experience). Accidents do happen to boats in the locks so spend some time to learn the situation before sallying forth.

Greg
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Old 01-01-2014, 14:50   #6
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Re: Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclepro View Post
Happy New Year to all!
This question has probably been asked before but I guess that, depending on the time of the year, the answers change.
We intend to transit the Canal from the Pacafic to the Caribbean side in the second or third week of March of this (2014) year.
Does anyone have an estimate for the average waiting time before we will be allowed to transit?

Jan
sv Caixa, presently in Puerto Madero, Chiapas
Hi Jan ..

We did the crossing not too long ago and wrote extensively about the costs etc. on our blog.
The best bet is to get hold of an agent before you get there to pre-book a slot.
We did not and our waiting time was about 1 week.
Our agent was a guy called Eric - a terrific experience - one of the highlights of our trip so ENJOY!
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:22   #7
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Re: Waiting time for Panama Canal crossing

Currently a 2 day wait Caribbean to Pacific. We didn't use an agent, just followed the info on Noonsite and it was all very simple.
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