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Advice On Panama Transit

By doina — last modified May 14, 2008 08:34 AM

Published: 2008-05-14 08:34:03
Countries: Panama

I've just arrived in Trinidad from Brazil, heading towards Panama, and just heard the bad news about the jam in Panama canal. Any advice as to whether to continue the trip to Panama and wait in line to cross the canal, or postpone the transit for next year, waiting on the Venezuela coast?

It all depends if you want to transit the Canal this year, or you have the time to wait until next year. From what we know, the waiting time now is around 6-8 weeks. You could sail to Colon/Panama, make all formalities and get on the waiting list, then go cruising to San Blas and possibly Cartagena in Colombia, both of which are one day sail from Colon.

Thanks for your answer. I was intending to make the circumnaviagation in 2 or 2 1/2 years, due to economical reasons. Probably I asked the wrong question, I should ask if it could be safe to navigate the Pacific - Panama-Galapagos-Tuamotus, with that delay and if the trip will not be compromised especially our stay in South Pacific - Polynesia, supposing that the hurricane season starts in November there. Time is a matter of priority, when safety is the subject.

If you transit the Panama Canal in June, you will not reach the Marquesas before July and Tahiti probably by early August... If you plan to leave the tropical South Pacific in late October/early November to sail to New Zealand (or if you plan to leave the boat in a marina in Fiji), you should have enough time to sail from Tahiti to Fiji in this time frame. However, if you plan to sail right across the South Pacific during this year (2008) and continue through the Torres Strait into the Indian Ocean, you need to get to the Torres Styrait by September in which case your time in the South Pacific will be short. It can be done, but it is not easy to sail approximately 9000 miles from Panama to Torres Strait in less than four months.