March 19th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Just so you know what the Panama Canal looks like, Gatun being the huge lake through which it passes…

Or not, as the case may be.  I shan’t keep you in suspense any longer – the answer was a positive maybe.  But all in good time, all in good time.  Lesley, the Australian skipper, had told us to come round in the morning, so the first thing we did was take a fairly leisurely breakfast.  And then, walking over there, I can say honestly that I wasn’t so het up as I had been, more fatalistic I suppose.  I wasn’t what you might call confident, but the waiting etc had the effect of making the whole thing seem less important than it had.  Anyway, more waiting to come, since when we got there the only one who ws on board was Paul, the boy, so we said we’d come back around 12.  Which we dutifully did, only to find this time that no-one was aboard, or at least so it seemed.  We sat down at the end of the pier, + soon got talking to Chuck, a young American – broke, + looking for a boat back to the US – + then another one who turned up, Rob, in a similar position, tho’ with a bit more money.  Both good company.

Lesley appeared at last – he’d been buried deep within his boat, working on his engine.  And his answer?  Well, still worried about our inexperience, it seemed, so he proposed that we went with him just to Gatun Lake, halfway thro’ the Canal.  Seemed strange to us, not really seeing that half a canal trip could tell him very much,  but we weren’t really in a position to argue.

Rather torn later that afternoon, when we re-joined Chuck + Rob in the bar, along with Cliff, a guy who owns a boat, + who will shortly be off to Jamaica, + is taking on a crew.  Decisions, decisions.  Especially when Lesley told us he wasn’t leaving till Tuesday.  So maybe we’d go with him, + get turned down, + then try + leave with Cliff, + he’d already found himself a crew, + anyway Cliff strikes as a better teacher than Lesley could be, but on the other hand Australia would be better, so…

We cooked up a splendid meal, hamburgers, potatoes, peas.  And then cards.

More of the usual frustration, though it does seem to have the effect of lowering the tension a little.  But also we are now completely sold on finding a yacht, almost whatever it costs… and with Lesley, that would be a heck of a lot of money.

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