Planning to transit the Panama Canal?

I’ve taken 2 boats through the Panama canal now.  The 1st time we did all of the paperwork ourselves and ran around from office to office taking care of everything.  That was obviously a huge hassle.

I took another boat through the canal this week and we used an agent.  All I can say is it was money very well spent.  The additional cost is negligible and the service was great.  I will say that you should exercise some  caution as the price to retain an agent to handle your transit can vary  quite a bit.

We just transited doing a delivery to Tahiti and the owner had initially lined up an agent who’s fees seemed high to me and he included several fees I’d never heard of.  A little research upon arrival in Panama and I realized he was trying to take the owner for a ride by charging nearly triple what other agents were charging.

I did some more research and talked to other yachties and found  that most of them were using Erick Galvez of Centenario Consultant Agency.  I initially met Erick when he stopped by our boat while he was in the marina handling business on a couple of other sailboats scheduled to transit that day.

Eric was very straight forward, honest and helpful.  He truly went out of his way to educate us and give us the information we needed even though we had no intention of employing him at that time.  I’d been through the canal before, so I knew a bit about it, but Eric taught me a lot and ultimately saved us (well, not us but the owner of the boat we were delivering) about $2,000.

Myself, Erick Galvez and my brother before transiting the Panama canal

Myself, Erick Galvez and my brother before transiting the Panama canal

If you’re planning to transit the Panama canal get a hold of Erick, he always answers his phone, speaks perfect english, and uses skype, which makes it really easy and in my experience as well as that of everyone I met in Panama this spring, Erick always delivers.

In addition to saving us money he managed to get our transit date moved up and when we needed parts shipped in he went out of his way to pick them up in Colon for us and deliver them to us personally in Panama City at no charge.

I’m usually pretty stingy with my personal recommendations but if you plan to transit the Panama Canal I highly recommend you contact Erick.

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A few pictures of our trip from Grenada to Panama

I’ll be working on getting the site fixed tonight and tomorrow and posting a daily blog of our 8 day passage from Grenada with pictures of fishing, sailing and some videos.  Here are a few new pictures until I get things sorted out:

 

 

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This is a sister ship to the Hallberg Rassy we’ll be sailing to Tahiti

 

I don’t have a picture yet that I can post of the actual boat we’ll be sailing from Grenada to Tahiti, but here is a sister ship of the boat.  We’ll be making stops in the Galapagos as well as the Marquesas on the way.

Hallberg Rassy 45 sailboat

Hallberg Rassy 45

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The next 3 months Sailing from Grenada to Tahiti

Here is a rough schedule of our upcoming trip from Grenada to Tahiti.  We fly in to Grenada April 5th.

Grenada to Tahiti trip duration:
Arrive Grenada, prepare boat, provision 5 days
Grenada – Colon Panama approx 1200nm  8-10 days(as you know this passage can be a little sporty off the coast of Venezuala)
Colon Panama & canal transit  7-14 days(need to do some research on current transit times)
Panama City 3 days prep time
Panama City – Puerto Ayora Galapagos 940nm  7-9 days
Layover in Galapagos  7 days
Galapagos to Hiva Oa  2970nm  20-25 days
Layover Hiva Oa  3 days
Hiva Oa – Nuka Hiva 1 day
Layover Nuka Hiva 5 days
Nuka Hiva – Papeete  755nm 6-8 days
Put boat to bed in Tahiti 7 days

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