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Old 10-06-2013, 06:28   #16
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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Originally Posted by Aargau View Post
Highly recommend a day on Gatun Lake with one of the guides (or if you have a decent dinghy can do yourself).

Here are some album pictures of my day on the lake.

Panama Transit - Imgur
In 2005 we spent the night in the lake, but were told by the pilot not to leave the boat. What's the deal with taking a tour of the lake? Has the process changed allowing a few day break or were you just delayed by accident?
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:05   #17
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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You certainly do not need an agent. We made our own arrangements which only requires a few taxi rides ($1 anywhere in town) in Colon and access to a cell phone. We bought a SIM card and air time for about $10 and that was the only cost. Easiest to do this at the marina but you can anchor at Club Nautico and do it from there, although you have to move to a particular anchorage to get measured (the 'admeasurer' comes to the marina if you are there). Apparently there have been robberies on boats at Club Nautico.

Couple of othere thoughts, if you have to wait more than a few days for your transit there are much nicer places to the east and west to anchor and visit. You can hire line handlers, lines, and fenders but you may organize these within the yachts that are there. We had line handlers from other boats who were going through later and wanted experience. Between us we had enough long lines and used normal fenders (all you need for a center lock transit which is what you want). The crew hired one of the advisors to drive them, the lines, and fenders back to Colon ($100) and we left our boat on a mooring in Christobal and took the bus back to Colon to help them with across ($3). When we went through we were with three boats so there were three skippers, twelve line handlers, and three advisors of whom four line handlers and 1 1/2 skippers did anything ( I was the 1/2 and helped with steering only in the flights of locks with the middle boat providing propulsion). The big stress was on the aft lines and the suggested line lengths were adequate only so length and strength matter here, bow lines not so much. If you can, lead the aft lines to substantial winches through chocks or large, strong blocks n deck - we used a couple of really big snatch blocks for this and it worked well.

Have fun, it is very interesting and not nearly as stressful as some people think. BTW, the advisors are either quite helpful or basically useless, but invariably late. Also there are webcams in various locations so your friends at home can look for your passage, although the chance of being there at the right time is very slight.
Thanks for that. Very informative and I'm leaning towards a DIY transit. I spoke to someone here in St Martin yesterday who went through a month ago.
It looks like I may get away with around $1500 or so.
Did you need a cruising permit on top of the transit fee?

Vic
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:16   #18
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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Vic.. look at being on a 21 day minimum wait for transit... stay in Shelter bay till you've been measured.. use that time to get a SIM card, make some friends on the other boats and post a line handler note on the marina board with your local number... then once measured head for the San Blas, visit Portobello... and wait for the phone call telling you your going through in whatever days then head back a day or two before to collect your crew..
last May we paid $600/week roughly for the 54ftr in Shelter Bay...
Once your through you can anchor up in Las Brisas ... or the bay on the N. side of the isthmus... and take a breather.. mooch round Panama City.. get social and relax for a couple of weeks before heading off
Sounds like fun, but that's my annual cruising budget gone in a week!

I might clear in to Portobello, heal the wounds, then tackle the transit arrangements.

Right now we may have to change plans...
Gale force winds likely off Columbia from next Monday night and may not let up for a while. We could be stuck in St Martin for a couple of weeks.

I'm thinking of sailing down to the ABC's and looking for shorter weather windows along the coast. Attack Panama by stealth

Vic
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:20   #19
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

Vic, they use LOA not LOD. So pull all your extermiites in, if you can.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:34   #20
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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Vic, they use LOA not LOD. So pull all your extermiites in, if you can.
Hi Mark,

I wish I could. Bowsprit doesn't telescope and davits could fend off battleships.
The dinghy sticks out a couple of extra feet so I'll make sure it's in the water when they measure.

I got the impression it's one rate < 50' and another rate > 50', so I don't know if we're over 50' anyway, that it will make any difference.

Vic
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:42   #21
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post

I got the impression it's one rate < 50' and another rate > 50', so I don't know if we're over 50' anyway, that it will make any difference.

Vic
It is $250 more if you measure over fifty feet overall, not factory length...
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:50   #22
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
Thanks for that. Very informative and I'm leaning towards a DIY transit. I spoke to someone here in St Martin yesterday who went through a month ago.
It looks like I may get away with around $1500 or so.
Did you need a cruising permit on top of the transit fee?

Vic
When we were there in November the answer was yes... VISAs and Cruising Permit.

The rational at the time was that you were sailing in Panamanian waters so you needed to check in and obtain a permit.

Things seem to be different at every immigration station in Panama. The only constant is the Panama Canal Regulations.

Noonsite has some good information:

Check in

Canal Transit
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:51   #23
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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It is $250 more if you measure over fifty feet...
I thought the base fee was $800 under 50ft and $1,300 over.
Maritime Services - PanCanal.com
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:10   #24
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

I entered the country of Panama in the Northern city of David (Da-ved).

The admeasurer let me hold one end of the tape measure.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:10   #25
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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I thought the base fee was $800 under 50ft and $1,300 over.
Maritime Services - PanCanal.com
Your right, my mistake... I will look up the exact costs and post them later today
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:13   #26
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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I thought the base fee was $800 under 50ft and $1,300 over.
Maritime Services - PanCanal.com
That sounds right. The guy I was talking to yesterday paid $2100 for >50' boat but it included $800 security deposit which he got back because he didn't break their canal, so $1300 net.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:14   #27
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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I entered the country of Panama in the Northern city of David (Da-ved).

The admeasurer let me hold one end of the tape measure.
How is this BS helpful? I see you have a boat that would be nowhere near 50' overall regardless of who was holding the tape measure. Most of these guys are very exacting and make a good living working for the canal authority. They will get things right.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:15   #28
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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I entered the country of Panama in the Northern city of David (Da-ved).

The admeasurer let me hold one end of the tape measure.
How did you check in in David... Go up the river?
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:17   #29
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
That sounds right. The guy I was talking to yesterday paid $2100 for >50' boat but it included $800 security deposit which he got back because he didn't break their canal, so $1300 net.
Vic
That is another advantage of using an Agent... No deposit.

Although I heard it was only two weeks or less to get the deposit back and they now can do direct deposit instead of mailing you a check.
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:29   #30
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Re: Panama Canal Transit

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That is another advantage of using an Agent... No deposit.

Although I heard it was only two weeks or less to get the deposit back and they now can do direct deposit instead of mailing you a check.
Mine came back direct deposit in 10 days.
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