In the first set of locks we came in behind a tanker and in the second set we were in front of a tanker.
The trip takes a day and a half, from the east end you proceed through three locks, then you tie up to a big bouy and stay overnight. The next morning you motor through Gatun Lake , we reached the Pacific locks about 1500 hours . There are three locks there and then you are in the Pacific Ocean.
The locks are huge, a big car tanker came in behind us in the second set of locks. In order to expedite the process they hooked up three sailboats together. We all rafted up together, on each boat there are six people, four line handlers, the captain who pilots the boat and the advisor who tells the captain where to go and instructs the line handlers. With three boats tied up together there were 18 people in close proximity to each other. We were on the port side of the floatilla so our boat was responsible for the lines to the left hand part of the canal. That meant that only two line handlers were needed , the other side of the boat was tied up t another, so I did not have a job and just got to observe and soak in the experience. I even managed to keep my bossy nature in check and not issue directions or even instructions to anyone, except Barry a few times!!
We started out late in the afternoon, so it was dark when we went through the first set of locks.
The hand liners on the sides of the dock throw a thin line with a big knot on the end to the boat, two lines from each side of the lock. The boat line handlers tie the boat lines on to the thin lines and when you get to the position you are required to be in the lock the hand liners on the dock haul in the boat lines.
It was impressive when we went through the last lock.