Thursday, October 7, 2021

Into the Pacific!


Shelter Bay Marina crew

Little Aspen, center tied in front of a huge tanker in Mira Flores Lock

Maria is ready for the Canal Locks

Spending the night in Lake Gatun

Motoring at 6.6 knots through the Panama Canal

Maria enjoying the ride along the Canal

Crowd of onlookers at Mira Flores Lock

Maria, letting the professionals do the heavy work

Aspen arrived in La Playita Marina, Panama!

Our friends Judith and Haaken on Touche and new friends June and Sone on Carpe Diem.  Both boats are from Denmark and headed to the Galapagos Islands.

Fort San Lorenzo.  Where Captain Henry Morgan began his overland journey to pillage, plunder and destroy Panama City.

The mighty Chagres River at Fort San Lorenzo.

Ah, but the cannons are silent now...

 Lake Gatun in the early morning, waiting for our next advisor
So you think you can be a line handler???  The monkey fists are thrown pretty hard and catching them is an art.  Notice the port side where the Canal employee misses Aspen with the line, the first time.  The final line can be seen hanging in the air, ready to impact Aspen!


A view of Mira Flores Locks and the crowd of onlookers.



S/Y Aspen – October 7, 2021 – Log #175

Aspen Position: 08 degrees 54’ N, 079 degrees 31’ W

La Playita Marina, Panama City, Panama


Well, transiting the Panama Canal from the Caribbean Sea into the mighty Pacific Ocean was fun because this time we had four professional line handlers to do all the hard work.  What a difference that made, insuring we had a smooth and safe passage.

            We used an agent, Stanley, to handle all our details and permit work.  Stanley also provided the required long lines and fenders for Aspen’s trip through the Canal.

            Spending the first night of our crossing, moored in Lake Gatun, was pretty hot and sultry.  Maria fed everyone her famous Italian dinner, something the four line handlers had never experienced.  The guys said they had never been treated to such good food, during a crossing on a small sailboat.  Normally they were lucky to even be fed during a crossing. 

            When we arrived at Mira Flores Locks, the observation area was packed with over 200 sightseers, looking down on little Aspen in the middle of the massive lock.  The announcer was describing the process to everyone as Aspen sat in the center of the lock, followed closely by an 850 foot oil tanker.  I guess there was a little pressure on Captain Steve not to screw up in front of everyone.

            Luckily we didn’t hit the lock gate or walls as water rushed out of the huge chamber, letting Aspen into the Pacific Ocean once again.  Whew!

            La Playita Marina welcomed Aspen and her tired crew to stay for a while now.  Our friends on their Island Packet named Touche, Judith and Haaken from Denmark, were in the slip right beside us.  It was fun seeing them again, since we last saw them in St. Lucia three years ago.  How time flies by.  Touche is on a similar sailing voyage as Aspen; going south to Chile but stopping in the Galapagos first.

            Aspen and Captain Steve are going to mainland Ecuador and skipping the Galapagos this time.  The admiral, Maria, will fly back to Colorado from here in Panama in a couple of weeks, after Aspen is fully loaded with food!


Sail on, sail on Aspen…


Fair winds,

Steve and Maria


PS -

1.   Aspen will have a Garmin tracker working so you can follow along:

2. Our updated sailing book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at (

3. And the new edition for the book, Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race is also available at (




1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great trip! Much better than the last go round!!!