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17 February 2001

On Saturday morning I went along with Willy, and we had a nice trip. During the first three floodgates(/sluices), we were three boats that were tied together in the middle of the canal with lines down to those farthest out(/on the outside), and it went fine.
When we arrived at the anchorage we were told that there were no more large ships we could go along (with), so we had to anchor for the night. Rudy, one of the locals, who was along as a line holder wanted to catch(/take) the bus home. Willy asked me to ask Frantz, who was right beside(/next to) us, if I could borrow his dinghy since Willy had his own packed(/stowed) away. That I could, so I swam over to get(/borrow) it. It's a small, damn unstable home-made plastic thing with a 2.5 hp engine. We went through great trouble getting Rudy down in it, and he was told to sit still. Then all of a sudden a wave caused by a tug boat came our way and Rudy sat down in the same side as I, hey presto!(/pop!)... and then we were in the water. The boat(/dinghy) capsized but luckily it was an unsinkable one, with these???. We were in the middle of the canal and the water was (nicely) warm. Quickly it appeared to me that Rudy couldn't(/didn't know how to) swim and I had a hard(/tough) time trying to calm him down and explain to him that he should settle down, not try to get up onto the boat, since it was upside down as was(/along with) the engine, but instead help me turn it around.
As we were both lying there, I (suddenly, edit) got the good idea to talk(/tell him) about the crocodiles we had seen the last day I was at anchor. A whole bunch of them, and several of them were 5 metres long(/in length). He was terror-stricken. And I don't think he cared much for crocodiles at all. But now it went fast turning the boat around. From now on he'll be known as "Crocodile Rudi", the hero from the canal who tipped over with the "gringo".

I have now been through the canal five times. Two of these times we were unable to do it in a day and had to sleep(/spend the night) on our way(/en route). Then you (drop) anchor in Gatun Lake, which is situated in the middle of the canal and actually more of a pond((/dam?). Here you're surrounded by the jungle and it's a really interesting place to be. You're able to see crocodiles, monkeys, parrots, toucans - those birds with enormous yellow beaks, and lots of vultures - scavengers and those with the big pouch under their beak, what are theu called again.....pelicans, but the pouch they're just missing in this part of the world???

18 February 2001

When the pilot got on board Willy's boat he said that we were to try something they never did anymore. We would get(/be) taken through four yachts, two by two(/by twos/in pairs), (and) alone through the last three floodgates. There wasn't any traffic this day and they had decided that we shouldn't spend another night at anchor, and for the time being they are having(/experiencing) a surplus(/reserve) of water in the pond. Things went smoothly and soon we had arrived at the other side.
When I shook Willy's hand was the first to say(/tell him) "Welcome to the Pacific" (I'm getting used to it) he said that he and his wife had decided that I should have an engine from them!!! A small 2.5 hp Mariner, perfect for my small red rubber dinghy: "You're always rowing anyway. And it's just lying there not doing any good (use)". It was in perfect condition. He had hardly(/barely) used it (only used 15 litres of gas) before buying a bigger one.


Motoren på gummibåden fik jeg foræret af Willy, som tak for at hjælpe ham gennem Kanalen

The engine on the (rubber) dinghy - Willy gave me as a present as thanks for helping him through the Canal


Klargøring til transit, Panama Kanalen

Making ready for transit, the Panama Canal

(I think, edit) it's wild giving away an engine (like that) but I'm "Willy" happy(/pleased) about it.... And all along I have been wanting exactly this size. But they're expensive. I could live for 2-3 months for the amount they cost.
When I returned to the marina and got to my dinghy, which I had moored(/made fast) at Oliver's boat, an oar was missing. Just too bad, not just money-wise but also because of the fact that it'll be hard or impossible to find another (like this one, edit) since they're very peculiar(/special).

To Page 53

From Esbjerg, Denmark to Tahiti aboard a Junker 22