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Old 10-10-2015, 11:25 AM   #576
chopstick
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

The total trip was scheduled at 16 days from Hong Kong to LA, but it ended up taking either 17 or 18. We pulled in to LA at dawn one morning:




here are the other two passengers exiting the ship, if you were curious how we got on and off:




funny, I remember those stairs being much steeper than they look in that photo.

As we were docked in the port of Los Angeles, it was easy to get to some public transportation and head to where I had booked a hotel for the next few days. That would be the Crowne Plaza hotel at the Commerce poker room & casino, of course. My first meal on USA#1 soil was at the Costco next door to the Commerce:



Costco pizza AND a chicken bake! Welcome back to USA#1! After that, I crushed a NLHE tournament to pay for my hotel stay.

Fear not, I later followed that Costco monstrosity up with something a little more respectable:



animal style, of course.
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Old 10-10-2015, 11:49 AM   #577
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

To complete the "around the world without a plane" theme, I decided to take a train across the country. There aren't many decent trains crossing the US, but Amtrak does have a couple of lines that will take you from San Francisco to DC. The California Zephyr follows a scenic route through the Rockies which goes from San Fran to Chicago. The Capitol Limited goes from Chicago to DC.

I could have taken a train from LA to San Fran, but the Pacific Coast Highway that stretches between them is one of the best scenic drives in USA#1, so instead I decided to rent a car.

While researching car rentals, I came across a company (transfercar) that provides free to mostly free car rentals. They have deals with the major rental companies to return one-way rentals that clog up in certain areas. The majors win because they don't have to pay to ship the cars back, and renters win because you pay little to nothing to rent the cars. The downside is that locations are limited and you have specific fixed points to pick up and return. Lucky for me, there were a lot of cars at LAX that needed to be moved to SFO, so I was able to score a completely free rental. The terms were that I was responsible for fuel and had to have it at SFO within two days of pickup unless I wanted to pay a fee to keep it a little longer. I took the option (paying about $25) to keep it one extra day, so I could take my time driving up the coast. How's that for a sick travel tip? Don't say your buddy chopstick never did nothing for ya.

Everyone should drive the PCH (preferably on a motorcycle, which I've also done) at least once. Lots of great views of the Pacific the entire way, driving along cliffs most of the way and through redwoods the rest:




There's also lots of wildlife:







and people who get way too close to it:




I kept my distance:




and enjoyed a leisurely drive up the coastline. Stopped off at a few small beach towns for lunch and to stay the evening, eventually made it up to Monterey to visit a friend and spend the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium:



which is a wonderful aquarium. I'd still put the Georgia Aquarium as my #1 aquarium in the US, but Monterey was nice. Especially when they feed the otters, don't miss that.
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Old 10-10-2015, 01:55 PM   #578
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Thumbs up Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by chopstick View Post
Worked my ass off doing boring IT/internet stuff in my 20s in a few fields, then moved into management, then finance. Currently semi retired but I do some finance stuff now and then for myself and the occasional corporate strategy consulting gig for others (if it's interesting enough) every now and then. The corp strat gigs are fun because you get to be the guy that tells the emperor he is not wearing any clothes, and get paid to do it.

Life is confirmed awesome. I can die at any time with no regrets whatsoever.
****ing a, good for you!
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Old 10-10-2015, 04:10 PM   #579
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

tyvm, and I fully agree with your Location: field



I've been reading about the food in Singapore on the Singapore wikitravel page. I am excited. Going to crush some chilli crab and laksa.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:55 PM   #580
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Another great update. I find the container ship fascinating. And I also find the fact that so many of us find it fascinating - fascinating. My wife and I spent a couple of days in Panama City and I made her spend like 3 hours at the lock just so I could watch the ships going through. And those aren't even the big container ships.
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Old 10-10-2015, 09:58 PM   #581
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

As someone who spent many hours unloading those things in the port of seattle some 20 odd years ago it was awesome to see and brought back many memories.
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:15 AM   #582
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Hey guys, I'm in Singapore. The food is everything the wikitravel page said it would me, and more. I may have to settle down here if I ever settle down anywhere. Such an amazing mix of Chinese, Thai, Malay, Indian, and more. They have these "hawker centers" where there are like 200 food stalls, each with something different. If I get out of here without gaining 30 pounds it will be a miracle.

Speaking of getting out of here, I'll be helping with another sailboat delivery in about a week and change. Flying out to Fiji and helping bring the Australian boat that I crossed to the Marquesas from Panama City on to its final resting place in Australia. Should be on the boat about 3 weeks, including a stop in New Caledonia. Will see about catching some sweet fish.

Getting back to my hopeless effort to catch up to present day, let's go across the USA in a train. When we left off, I was in Monterey, having just visited their aquarium. From there, it was a short hop up to SFO to drop off the rental, then a night in San Fran and on to the Amtrak station near Oakland:




Yes, those are a bunch of Amish. They travel by train a lot. They were nice and quiet, good qualities for fellow passengers on public transit.

Other than riding Amtrak in the NE corridor, I'd not been on it much before. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the seats had a ton of room:




along with little fold down foot rests for sleeping. The seating was assigned, but they didn't really care where you sat. My assigned seat worked for me, so I stuck with it. That's my inflatable life jacket sitting on the seat. The first leg of my trip was San Fran to Denver, and that includes an overnight on the train. It was easy to sleep, much more comfortable than trying to sleep on a plane. The restrooms were pretty bad, though. They only clean them on departure, then they don't get cleaned again until the end of the line in Chicago.

The scenery was nice, but the windows on the train are thick and it's difficult to get good photos:




There is a dedicated viewing car with slightly better windows:




but it was always crowded.


the dining car was decent:




as was the quality of the food. Overpriced like you'd expect for any captive audience, but not horrendous. The way dining worked was that you picked a time slot to eat, and went to the dining car when it was your time slot. That meant people ate in shifts, which allowed everyone a chance for hot food. There was also a snack car, but the selection was meh. They had little Digiorno pizzas in the snack car, which I did eat at one point. It was way too doughy.

The trip to Denver was uneventful. Hung out with friends and family while there, and explored some of the changes to the city since I was last there:




then it was on to Chicago for some deep dish and to visit more friends:




I find Chicago to be a miserable city, so I didn't stay more than a day. Not sure how people live there.

From Chicago, it was a relatively short hop over to D.C.:




look, more Amish!

which completed the full trip. All the way around the world from start to finish without ever getting on a plane. I'd wanted to do that for a long time, very happy I was able to realize that dream.

Of course, I didn't stay in DC for very long..
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:58 AM   #583
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

While it was nice to visit friends and family in the D.C. area, I was quickly reminded of why I left in the first place:



so when I saw a request for help sailing from Charleston, SC down to St Thomas, I jumped on it pretty quickly.

Cue the gearing-up montage music:




and I was in Charleston not long after, looking at my home for the following two weeks, a 43 foot monohull:




The owner had already provisioned the vessel, which I wasn't too keen on, as I always like to be along for provisioning runs. Luckily, he had done a decent job and what he picked up was sufficient for the trip.

I did a once-over of the vessel, judged it good enough to make the crossing, and we prepped for leaving the next morning, along with one other crew.

When the next morning rolled around, we had a bit of a monkey wrench tossed into the works. The other crew had a family emergency and had to leave immediately. That was just a few hours before departure. This meant if we wanted to stay on target, we'd need to two-hand the vessel.

I've never been keen on two-handing, and wasn't really interested. The problem with two-handing is that you pretty much have to do 3 hours on, 3 hours off, which means you never sleep more than 3 hours at a time. This makes you fatigued pretty quickly, which is a safety issue. If something happens to the other guy, you're now out there by yourself single-handing. All bad news.

The owner cajoled and wheedled, and eventually convinced me to head out with him at least down to the next port along the coastline before finalizing my decision. I decided to do it just to get a little sailing in, with me being about 70/30 to get off at the next port.

Unfortunately, we weren't even out of Charleston harbor when the dolphins showed up. Dolphins being as awesome as they are, I immediately pitched my reservations and told him to change course for the Caribbean.

We passed a fishing boat on the way out and I got a photo that I've always meant to get and never timed quite right:



that's a cloud of seagulls above and behind the fishing boat, devouring any and every fish scrap they can get their greedy little beaks around.

The passage was mostly uneventful, but it did cement my lack of interest in ever doing more than 3-4 days at a time two-handed. We did 3 on / 3 off the entire time. That's the first time I've ever done something like that. I was good for the first 4 days, but right around day 5, I started to hit a fatigue wall. I did eventually get into the rhythm of only sleeping 2.5 hours at a time, but I was fairly zombified from day 5 onward. It wasn't really fun or enjoyable like it is when you are getting at least 6 hours of sleep at a time. When the dolphins show up, you just don't really care. You're too tired to fish. If you caught a fish, you don't want to deal with cleaning it. If you tried to clean it, you'd probably slice your hand open.

So no more of those long two-handed passages for me.


Our course was due SE almost the entire time:



until we got here:




where we ran out of fuel.

What!?

The owner was not an experienced passage sailor, and unfortunately he dumped in the last five gallons of spare fuel when the fuel started getting low. You never, ever do this. The reason you never, ever do it is because when you run out of fuel and can't use your engine, that means you are down to just your sails. Trying to sail into a dock or anchorage is far more difficult than just motoring in on engine. I had no idea he did this because we were almost never awake at the same time, or I would have stopped him.

So of course the fuel ran out completely, and there we were 100+ miles north of Puerto Rico bobbing along in the water with no wind, right in the doldrums area. There are worse places to be stuck than on a sailboat in the Caribbean, of course. We were at the mercy of the winds, so we just sat there for a while, then made some headway when the winds picked up, then sat there a while again, repeat over and over again. When we eventually made it down to St Thomas, we went down around the south side of the island, which I know fairly well, the owner intending to sail into a marina. We arrived in the middle of the night, so we sailed around in circles until we were treated to a nice sunrise:




at which point I eventually convinced him to just call a tow boat instead, and we were tugged safely in:



The first thing we did onshore was drink some beers, and it was about 0930 in the morning. We needed them, it was a tiring couple of weeks.

The owner paid for my plane ticket back to DC, where I hung out for the December holidays and for a NYE party. We had a chili cookoff like every year for NYE, but I was washing my chili down with water for the most part, because on January 1st, I had an early morning flight to Vegas, baby:


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Old 10-17-2015, 06:15 AM   #584
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I'll go light on the Vegas details because I don't think many people really care about Vegas.

Vegas is Vegas:




including slot machines all over the airport:




and important locations labeled appropriately:




I know a lot of people hate Vegas for anything other than a short trip, but I enjoy Vegas for itself:



and its character.

I stayed in an extended stay hotel for a few months. Almost signed a short term lease at Meridian, but I wanted the flexibility to leave whenever I wanted. The hotel was decent, with a kitchenette for cooking and a sofa for friends from out of town. I picked one an easy 10 minute walk from the Strip, so it was simple to head over for the pokerz and the occasional degening:




I'm a 1/3NL recfish who can't even spell pokuur but I can somehow usually hold my own:



well enough to cover living expenses, anyway. Note the super lucky Bermuda $1 coin with a sailboat on it!

The bulk of the time in Vegas was spent goofing off with other 2p2ers and friends who came to visit. Lots of general eating, steakhouses, a few Kabuto trips, NYNY arcade degening, lots of karaoke, Strip stuff, chicken launcher at Circus Circus, etc. Enjoyed the Superbowl & March Madness craziness that hits Vegas during those times. Did a bit of trading & finance stuff to pad the travel kitty. Ran the charity rOOTlette thing. Visited some tourist spots that I hadn't been to before. Standard stuff. Rented a car when needed for stuff like trips to Hoover, but mostly walked around everywhere in an attempt to keep the buffet off the waistline.

Eventually I stopped being lazy and started looking for boats crossing the Pacific. Found a few different options, and eventually pulled the trigger. An Australian family that had been cruising in the Caribbean the last few years needed to head back to Australia, so I made plans to meet then in Panama and cross most of the Pacific to the Marquesas in French Polynesia with them by way of the Galapagos Islands.

Of course, that's not exactly what ended up happening.
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:10 AM   #585
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Wait,
sail around the world, but can't make harbor/fuel dock on sail alone?
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:02 AM   #586
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

You often CAN do it, but it is almost always a bad idea. Depends on the final location, wind, traffic, current, etc. Could have dropped the dinghy and towed ourselves in if we wanted.

So much easier to just call the tow guy. There was no way we were going to be able to sail into the assigned slip given the marina layout and conditions.

Now if we had been over in Red Hook instead of Independent Boat Yard, that fuel dock is easy to sail up to. Done that one before.



Ate two dinners tonight. If you enjoy eating a variety of good food at ridiculously low prices, I highly recommend a visit to Singapore. Tonight was "carrot cake", which is not even remotely what you are used to thinking of as carrot cake, followed by crispy duck noodle, which is exactly what you are thinking of. I think I spent about $11USD, including 2x fresh lime juice drink and a bowl of duck soup.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:12 AM   #587
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great updates. I found the fly swatter funny.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:28 AM   #588
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I'm still enjoying your updates! I'm even set at 50ppp just for your thread, because I have the slowest service there is.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:40 AM   #589
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Everyone loves the fly swatter and no one ever believes me when I answer the inevitable "Why do you have a fly swatter?" with "to swat flies."
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:26 PM   #590
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

I have enjoyed every bit of this thread. Thank you very much!

I registered with Transfercar the first time you mentioned it.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:20 PM   #591
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Did you ask for double pay for the Charleston to BVI trip?

If you have radar/AIS going, how dangerous is it for both people to sleep at once?
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:15 PM   #592
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

tyler - that's why I have been trying to space the photos out to about 4-6 per post. I know they make the page load slow. Thought about decreasing the size further but this seems like a pretty good compromise. Downside is I end up spamming my own thread, lol.

GutZ - glad you like it. I was looking at the TransferCar website just yesterday trying to decide if I want to use it when I arrive in Australia in December. Unfortunately most of the vehicles are headed north to Cairns, whereas I'm planning on heading south to Melbourne.

em - I don't get paid, I do this as a volunteer crew. I've been offered payment before, and I have the knowledge and experience at this point to get paid if I wanted to, but that comes with a bunch of strings attached that I don't want to deal with. The most I'll usually accept is paying for transport and food/lodging.

As far as radar/AIS & sleeping while two-handing.. my opinion is that someone should always be on watch. There are lots of single-handers out there who sleep and trust their radar/AIS with integrated alarms. That's not something I'd ever do. The problem with radar & AIS is that they don't always pick up other vessels, especially if the other vessel has a low freeboard (it doesn't have much mass above the waterline), or if the sea state includes any kind of material movement. I've been in the middle of the ocean and watched a vessel materialize in front of me 500ft away, never once showing up on either radar or AIS.

If you have two vessels, each making 6kts, heading at each other, the rate of convergence is 12kts. If you have your radar set at 12nm, in theory you should have an hour of time before you are on top of each other from first paint. In reality, if the sea state has you bouncing around and/or your radar is clogged with a squall, you may never even know that vessel is there until you are on top of each other. If they don't have AIS (and many don't, some think it too expensive), your AIS is useless.

Nothing beats a pair of eyes.
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:37 AM   #593
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Just for encouragement I'll again chime in to say thanks for taking the time with this thread. I thoroughly enjoy it! I even tried to start my own travel thread at one point and never got past the OP. Major props for putting the time in.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:02 PM   #594
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Wow, I can't believe I've never read this thread. And I can't believe it only has 45k views? I feel like this is one of those gems you want to read slowly, and as a result I'm only at page 4/6 at the moment. I might have some more specific comments/questions once I've finished it, but just wanted to post that this has been really awesome and inspiring. Please keep the posts coming.

I personally hate boats so the sailing parts are not something I'd do, but your overall attitude towards life resonates with me a lot. I especially loved all the road trip parts, who knew (coming for a euro) that there are so many amazing places in middle of nowhere, America?
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Old 10-24-2015, 06:07 AM   #595
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Thanks for the encouragement, always good to hear that people are still enjoying the thread. More importantly, it keeps the photos loaded per page down.


After deciding to join in with the Australians, I rounded up my sailing gear and necessities:




which consisted of the usual items, and went fairly light, with one small laptop backpack and one slightly larger backpack for most of the non-electronics. Everything fit up nice and neatly:




and after a flight down to the connecting flight in Miami, it was time to say goodbye to USA#1 yet again:




This was my first time in Panama. Easy to go through immigration and customs, they pretty much waved me right through. Made it downtown and found the hotel where I was splitting a room with the other crew:




She had also flown in via Miami on the same flight as me, so I was able to get to know her a little bit beforehand. She was a somewhat adventurous sort, having spent the last few months crewing in the Caribbean on different boats. Here was our shared sink in the hotel room:



That's my toothbrush and toothpaste on the left. The other four (!) bags to the right and other stuff are all hers.
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Old 10-24-2015, 06:08 AM   #596
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

We had coordinated beforehand and decided to arrive in Panama City a day early to do some exploring. We walked around a good chunk of the city, and were able to move past the generic tourist sites and check out things like sweet street art:




and a cool cemetery:



That's a slum apartment building in the background. The poverty there was much worse than anything you'd see in USA#1.

One thing I wasn't expecting or aware of was the tidal differential. It was enormous. This was low tide:



and at high tide, all of those boats were floating in 10 feet of water.

That's right next to a fishing market. We stopped there for the afternoon and I ate my bodyweight in ceviche. Lots and lots of ceviche stalls, it's popular there.

The sailboat was docked in Colon, which is on the other side of Panama. We had a choice of taking a train or a private transfer. We decided to go with the private transfer after reading that the train wasn't that impressive, and how dangerous the Colon train station was. I was somewhat leery of Colon after reading de captain's stories about it.

The private transfer was fine, and after crossing the country and then driving directly over and through the Atlantic side locks, we arrived at what would be home for the next couple of months:



decent sized monohull rigged as a ketch, which I'd never sailed on before. A ketch is pretty much a sailboat that has a second, smaller mainsail behind the main, along with a second mast.

The owners were cool and the boat looked to be in excellent condition. One thing that was not great was that after getting on the boat, the owners said they were no longer planning on stopping at the Galapagos Islands, due to the cost. This was a major bummer, as a good chunk of the reason I had decided on this boat was to see the Galapagos. I considered just heading back, mostly because I was unhappy at not being told of this change in plans until I was physically on the boat. In the end, I decided to just make the best of it and stick around since I was already there. The other crew decided the same, although she was not happy about it, either.

The alternate route was down to Bahia de Caraquez in Ecuador, and a jump off from there to the Marquesas. We'd be sailing with the entire family (a couple & two kids) down to Ecuador, then the wife and kids would fly to Australia and the husband's father would fly in to Ecuador to join us as the 4th crew.

I was somewhat skeptical of sailing with kids, but these two were great. They were both girls, about 8 & 10 years old, and had spent the last 5 years of their lives living on the boat, so they pretty much grew up on it. They were better sailors than some other adults I've sailed with, no jokes.

After a couple of days learning the boat, we provisioned in Colon:



and headed out. The provisioning gave me an idea of how unsafe Colon was. We took a taxi in from the marina, and it was super sketchy for most of the city portion of the ride. I 100% believe the stories de captain told in his thread after seeing Colon firsthand.
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Old 10-24-2015, 06:32 AM   #597
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

We did do a little exploring in the area around the marina before we left. There is an abandoned military base there, so lots of funky stuff like this:




and this:




were available to catch tetanus in. Wasn't really keen on going in the second one, but one of the little girls marched right on in with zero fear. The other crew and I looked at each other with a "guess we better follow her in" given that it was pitch black inside around the cornet, but I figured I was only 60/40 to come out with diphtheria or ebola or something. Faded those, but we did get swarmed by infinite bats who were not happy we were disturbing their rest. I'm fine with bats but I seriously thought the other crew was going to have a heart attack and I'd be carrying her out. The little girls were not phased in the slightest, though they were initially startled when the bats first started flying around and a few bumped into us.

after that adventure, we let loose the lines and headed out to the first set of locks to enter the Panama Canal. The locks are like any other locks, except much, much larger. Here's a view of the side wall from inside one:



That blue line is coming down to the boat in order to keep the boat centered so it doesn't bang into the wall. There are four lines in total that do that, two on each side, with one in the front and one in the back. The idea is to keep pressure such that the boat stays centered in the lock.

The way the Canal is set up is with three sets of locks on each of the Atlantic and Pacific side, and a large lake (Gatun Lake) in between. You take your boat into the lock system, traverse three locks, then motor across the lake to enter the second lock system, and traverse those three to exit into the other ocean. The lake is higher than the sea, so first you go up, then you go down.

If you aren't familiar with how locks work, imagine two bathtubs that are connected to each other, except one is a few inches higher than the other. They also have gates on each exterior end. There's a removeable barrier between them that can allow or prevent water from passing between them. When the barrier isn't in place, water just flows down from the higher to the lower tub like a waterfall. If you place a rubber ducky in the lower one, then close its exterior gate, it will eventually fill with water, and the water level will be high enough for the duck to enter the higher tub. At that point, the duck enters the higher tub, the barrier between the tubs closes, and the lower tub drains to allow a new duck to enter its exterior gate again. Reverse the process to go downhill. Lots of youtube vids and animated gifs out there if my explanation is terribad.

So what normally happens is that you enter the Canal via a set of locks, then you spend the night tied up in the lake, then the next day you go through the other set of locks. This is what we did.

Here we are after entering the first lock on the Atlantic side, after the lock filled up with water and raised us up the first step:



and here we are coming down in one of the locks on the Pacific side. The water is being drained here and we being lowered as a result:



This is a rear view after finishing the final lock on the Pacific side:



you can see where the lock ends, but they have not closed the gate yet so the water level is still the same.

For smaller boats like personal yachts, vessels will often be tied to each other. That's called rafting up. It allows more boats to go through the locks faster. We had two other boats with us for each set of locks. Both times, one rafted on either side of us. We used our engine to move all three boats forward, and the lines were thrown down to tie off to each of the other boats to keep all three of us in the center of the canal as if we were a single vessel.
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:00 AM   #598
RunDownHouse.
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Is there a fee for passage?
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:43 AM   #599
eastern motors
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

What kind of boat is it? Do you get your own cabin or berth? I'm fairly adventurous, just not sure I would want to be trapped on a boat for 3 months with people I had never met before. I could probably be convinced of owner's Seamanship/seaworthiness in advance but what if they just suck?

So they pay for your flight to Panama and back from Australia? Plus all provisions? Seems reasonable, but the the change of plans in which they basically cancelled the highlight of the trip without giving you a (low $) way to back out would probably be a deal breaker for me. Maybe not if the other crew was cool, and she probably is if she's doing this type of thing.
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Old 10-24-2015, 11:26 PM   #600
chopstick
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Re: chopstick goes for a sail

There is a fee for transiting the Canal. Depends on a bunch of factors, including whether or not you use an agent, bring your own line handlers (the people on your boat who grab and tie off the lines that are lowered down to keep you centered), length of the boat, etc. The usual spend for most pleasure craft is probably between $1500-$2500 for transit.

That boat was a ~50 monohull ketch. I had my own small cabin, imagine a sliding wooden door and about 2ft by 3ft of floor space along with a small bunk. Whether you get a cabin or a berth outside a cabin depends on the type of boat and the amount of space available.

Sometimes people do just suck. When that happens, either you get off the boat, or they do. Usually it's them, being kicked off by the captain. I haven't had to deal with that yet, though in this case, the other crew did eventually end up getting effectively kicked off when she and the captain got on each other's nerves a little too much. More on that in a later update.

Interpersonal dynamics on a boat are interesting because you're confined to this tiny space with other people, with no way of escaping. This means that little things you'd normally brush off can become major irritations, and that people end up getting annoyed and frustrated much easier. This is all happening on a constantly shifting platform, and you're probably getting wet and dirty. All of that combines to create an atmosphere where patience wears thing pretty fast, so you don't want high maintenance people on board. Long passages can be patience testers, that's for sure. I'm super easy going and flexible, and tend to get along with everyone, so it's not so bad for me. Some people really can't hack it, though.

The flight payments and provisioning costs depend on each boat and each captain. For this passage, I paid my own flights and contributed to provisions. The last minute Galapagos cancellation was almost a deal breaker for me, I came very close to walking. I sat down and cleared my head and tried to approach it purely from the numbers to make my decision. It was at the tail end of the season, which means very few boats left doing the crossing. I'd probably (75%) be able to get on another boat, but it would likely take 1-2 weeks to find one that I'd want to be on. In the end I decided to just stick with it because I wasn't 100% sure I'd find another boat, I had already vetted this boat, and I already knew I'd be able to be on another boat in 2017/2018 that is passing through the Galapagos. If I knew I'd be flying back to the US from French Polynesia, I wouldn't have gone, but I didn't know that at the time. I figured I'd arrive in French Polynesia, find another boat, make my way to Australia, explore SE Asia for a while, then join another boat crossing the Atlantic back to the US in August.

Didn't work out that way, but at least I'm in Singapore now crushing hawker centres and sushi. Flying out to Fiji tomorrow night to rejoin the Australian boat and sail it to Australia with a stop in New Caledonia. Explore Australia for a month or so, then back up here to SE Asia for more eating and exploring.
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