Black Lion

Getting through the Panama Canal on our own!

As they were about to transit the Panama Canal, the crew of Black Lion gave us a briefing on how to complete the formalities, without having to call on the services of an agent.

That’s it! We have our identification number to pass through the canal. First of all, we sent an email to optt-ara@pancanal.com, with the 4445-1 form duly filled in, downloaded from the www.pancanal.com website. We then called +507 443 2298 to see if our email had been received, which was confirmed. We then had to fill in another form, 4614, which we returned with a copy of the passport of the account holder. In return, we were told we could be admeasured at the end of the week, but only if we entered Shelter Bay marina. We wanted to be able to stay at the marina. We got an appointment for the following Monday. On that day, the admeasurer arrived in Shelter Bay. Within 10 minutes, Salvador had completed his task, and he filled out the additional forms himself, while asking us some questions. He stayed for half an hour. We were now in possession of our documents to pay our transit directly to CitiBank in Colon. We then had 60 days to transit. We then went to Colon by dinghy. We left it next to the Club Nautico Caribe, as it is now closed to boaters. There is of course the possibility to go there from the marina by cab. Allow between $20 and $25 per trip, to which you have to add the parking of the dinghy for $12, $3$ for garbage or $5 for the shower or the pool. Note that it will also be necessary to pay $25 for the collection of lines and fenders, or $25 to have packages sent there. For those who choose the marina, a free bus leaves every day for Colon. Once we arrived in town, we took a cab ($2) to the bank where we paid our dues: $3,060 which includes a deposit of $1,060 to be refunded after the transit. So the canal costs $2,000 for all boats under 65 feet. It is important to know that if you do not have cash on board, withdrawals from local ATMs cannot exceed $250, so you must plan ahead. We had withdrawn the necessary amount in Saint-Martin. All we have to do now is to rent 4 x 125-foot lines as well as fenders and then find 4 line handlers...

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