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Positive Experience From Panama Canal To Galapagos

By doina — last modified Apr 11, 2005 02:50 PM

Published: 2005-04-11 14:50:17
Countries: Galapagos , Panama

In response to so many of the negative and truly worrying stories we have heard about the Panama canal transit and the Panama-Galapagos passage, I would like to share our recent experience.

We spent two glorious months in the San Blas Islands before transiting the Panama Canal on March 5th. The transit was a stress free experience and it appeared to us that many cruisers tend to over-think and over-plan the whole operation. Once in the hands of the very competent pilots-advisors all you have to do is stay calm and obey orders! We had a wonderful pilot who became a very good friend. Colon and Balboa are not places you want to spend any extra time if at all possible, but good provisioning, communications etc. We were given a transit date within one week of arrival and were even asked if we had a preferable date, so it seems they are very accommodating when possible. The paperwork and fees are truly endless, but all part of the process and it does not pay to get upset!

Our trip to Galapagos was painless and pleasant and took us 6 days - an unexpected 2-3K counter current for almost 60% of the time (we went west of Mapelo Is and direct to Santa Cruz) but it seemed all the boats on that trip were experiencing the same within a 200-250 mile range of us. After the immediate canal area we only saw two targets on our radar, close together about 15 miles away - obviously fishing as they crossed and re-crossed our stern.

Checking into Galapagos was again, trouble free. The officials were helpful and pleasent (we did not make any prior permit arrangements and were expecting the worst - 72 hours and adios). Instead we were asked how long we wanted to stay and it seemed 20 or 30 days was not a problem! This was a very big suprise. We asked for 20 and expect to stay 7-10.

Aloha, JAN Mullen. S/Y IA ORANA, Maui Hawaii.