Time stands still

I remember a poem that starts “Busy busy busy, rush rush rush” – and I am smiling to myself as we have now been at leisure since our Canal transit for several days and we have just heard our departure is delayed. Fingers crossed, we should be off tomorrow, 3 June. Once we leave there will be another day of motoring before the race starts – and we are all really hoping for some good winds to ensure an exciting sail up to New York.

Our Canal transit on 30th was filled with mixed emotions for me. Expectations were high and yet it was some what underwhelming. The morning sunrise found me excited and happy to be on the water again with the sun creating beautiful vistas across the bay, back to the city skyscrapers and busy commercial traffic. Our pilot onboard we headed for the bridge and under we went into the canal itself. We rafted up with two other boats and rose through the initial three locks. It is quite an amazing feat of engineering constructed in a harsh tropical climate when yellow fever and malaria were endemic.

Quite early on it became clear that our transit may take longer than a day and we may have to anchor up in Lake Gatun at the mercy of humidity, tropical rain and mosquitos. There was uncertainty, confusion and frustration. On a buoy we waited for our second pilot and attempted to accept the uncertainty with pragmatism. Such is sailing and such is life.

It was curious to witness our varied approaches ranging from…why did we not know, who is to blame, what is going to be done to resolve.. will we, won’t we transit today and when… how do we find out who knows …resting in uncertainty and the do nothing option because we will figure it all out whatever … because we have no choice … because what will be, will be … passively relaxed… and/or because nothing really matters …and yet this is surely not the case… we can choose what matters, our attitude and our reality… and perhaps drop into some semblance of balanced equanimity!

We eventually set off again in the dark – misty and mysterious, then many bright lights as transit the final three locks and arrive at the marina. After a long day and a final long minibus we are relieved to find hotel rooms with air conditioning at 4am… phew. After three nights and another to come there is really very little to do here, so we eat, sleep, swim and quite happily time stand stills.


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