welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

the ball is rolling...

...and every day we are closer to our transit...they gave us a date - May 18! of course this will probably change a couple days either way, several times before we go, but it´s a good start.

our neighbors who have already waited a couple weeks tell us we have to call the ACP (canal authority) every two days or so to rattle their cages and make sure our date doesn´t change too radically...

the process continues to be smoother, more fun, and easier than we had expected. the admeasurer showed up right on time the other day...his visit was hilarious. the ACP launch boat that brought him out to our boat was bigger than our boat. too funny. His name was Spencer..Panamanian....he worked for the US gov´t for 20 years, is collecting retirement, and now works for Panama. cool guy. he normally measures and checks in the superhuge container ships and only measures about 1 or 2 small boats a year, so he was, at turns, nearly as confused as we. it was quite an experience. they have to ask questions like, "how many dead bodies are stowed aboard, and how are they preserved?"..."how many anchors do you have on either side of the boat?"...."how many engines and bow thrusters do you have?"...."how much exotic timber are you carrying?"...."where is your rudder angle display?"...that last one was a good one. allen pointed at the tiller and said, "right there, sir. you just look at the tiller, and you know what angle the rudder is at." Spencer nodded and said "right, right" and left that box blank on his form. "How much diesel do you carry?", he asked. "37" I said. "37 what?" "gallons." "37....gallons?" "yes sir". (bewildered look) then he asked how we carry the diesel, followed by a question about how many containers we carry on deck. "Just two, sir" I said, thinking he meant our diesel jerry cans. Spencer stifled a giggle. "Two containers, ma´am? you´re sure?" "Um, yeah, two...right babe?" I looked over and Allen was cracking up too. I didn´t understand that the joke was on me until Spencer said, "So would those be twenty or forty foot containers then?"

right...shipping containers. oh, no, i guess we don´t carry any of those. oops.

Spencer was done with us inside of an hour and, after a pocket-emptying trip to the ACP´s preferred bank, we got to call the hotline and find our our date, officially. May 18th! so exciting.

more updates soon. now to arrange for crew....

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