Measured and almost ready for the canal!

Of course the preparations for the canal transit work out “Panamanian”–meaning not exactly smoothly. We sailed to Colon on Sunday for our appointment with the admeasurer at 8 on Monday. We waited all Monday morning, at 1 o’clock finally a pilot boat approached us with an admeasurer on board, but he didn’t have our papers with him (only our neighbours) and we were told to wait for the next day. Today at 10 the admeasurer finally came, measured Pitufa from anchor to windsteering (it’s a farce as all boats under 50 feet pay the same price) and gave us some papers. With these papers we went to a special branch of the bank and paid the Canal fee: 1.875 US dollars to be paid in cash, 891 of them are a deposit in case Pitufa damages the canal (maybe the concrete walls??) while we had to sign a form relieving the canal authorities of all liablity in case the canal does damage to Pitufa ;-) We were told to call the scheduler’s office after 6 in the evening, but our paper’s hadn’t arrived at the office and they put us off until tomorrow (as was to be expected).

So hopefully we’ll get a date for the canal transit tomorrow morning. In the meantime we’re staying in the anchorage in front of Club Nautico next to the cruiseship terminal with pilots going by full speed every few minutes. We’ll use the time to do some shopping in Colon. Colon’s a weird feeling to it. The town is run down, as if people had stopped repairing anything about 40 years ago, heaps of rubbish everywhere. Crime’s apparently high, cruisers are advised from all sides not to walk around, but to do all ways by taxi. We walked a bit through the town centre though, because we wanted to visit some small shops and saw a sign advising locals to “take care of tourists, they’re the future of Colon” ;-)

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