Niue - The gates to the Pacific Ocean

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Shelter Bay marina is where you have to go to pick up four long hawsers and the huge fenders, but also to take on board four crew members. These are the «line handers» who will take care of the hawsers - in addition to the multihull captain and the pilot. Before that, we were visited on board by an official and given an identification number. The transit of the Panama Canal now costs $2,500 for any yacht under 65 feet. In addition to that, there is the crew allowance: $100 per person. The big day had arrived. There were eight of us on board. We had prepared our meals in the morning. We always have to anticipate any unforeseen events that could trigger a reaction from our son - managing his behavior and impulses is just part of being the parents of an autistic child. In the early afternoon, we cast off. The tension was palpable, a mixture of stress, impatience and trepidation over what we were about to experience. The pilot arrived. At the entrance of the first lock, the shore gang sent down their heaving lines to the front of the catamaran to which we tied the mooring line. Then the doors closed on the Atlantic and we were well and truly separated from the ocean that we had sailed for 15 months. After two more locks, we arrived on Lake Gatún. We fell asleep without any problem. The preparations, the emotions and the heat had made us very tired! In the morning, the same pilot joined us again. The lake crossing was long, and the heat was oppressive. Then we arrived at the Miraflores ...

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