Thursday, October 6, 2005
The sunrise is beautiful. The temperature already is at
27°C and there is a small breeze
Mist rises out of the jungle and it looks like it will be
a hot day today.
We reach the entry to Manzanillo early in the morning.
The pilot gets on board shortly after 6 o'clock.
We reach the harbour at 7 in the morning.
There are two entries into Manzanillo:
The one to the left is for the harbour and the one to the
right for the Panama Channel only.
The pilots guides us through the narrow entry.
The harbour of Manzanillo is strewn with boats in all sizes.
Looks like every so often a boat does not make it whole
into the harbour ...
As we glide into the harbour we see another wreck .....
There are some nice apartments houses with some good views
of the harbour at the tip of the land.
Looks expensive .....
On the way to the allocated berth in the back-section of
the harbour we pass the newer parts of the "Port of Manzanillo".
The "Matisse" is turned and pushed backwards into the berth.
The pilot and the captain co-ordinate the efforts of the
tug and the crew of the "Matisse".
The manoeuvres are also closely watched by Ruedi and Roger.
Our berth place is right behind the "P&O Nedlloyd Evita" that
must have arrived just before the "Matisse".
Cooling water is still splashing out of the bow of the ship.
Then the local people arrive and even though there are security
guards we have to especially ensure that all doors on the
"Matisse" are locked.
Usually only one of the outer doors in one of the upper decks
is kept open.
Also there is a door with a number-lock on deck "A"
so in any case we can get in and out.
Manzanillo is considered to be an unsafe harbour and the
captain recommends not to leave the boat.
It is a shame that Manzanillo is in such bad a state with
all the rotten-looking old and unused warehouses.
Manzanillo being one of the gates to the Panama Channel and
with so many ships going through its gates a well designed
tourist mile would be good business.
The newer parts of the harbour, where the container ships
berth, looks a bit better.
But there is not much there to write home about ....
As we stay on board Ruedi has time to assist the maître
d'hôtel Marian with fixing the chairs.
But the tools given to the poor Marian by the crew don't
really match and it turns out to be a pain of a job.
Marian decides to leave it to tomorrow and come back with
screws and drills that actually match in size ....
Susi finds time to take close ups on the technique of fixing
the containers on deck.
And of course there are still the pictures of New York to
be taken care of .....
The "Matisse" receives some more crude oil.
Manzanillo is the last harbour where crude oil can be bought
for a reasonable price.
Neither of the next few destinations Tahiti, New Zealand,
Numea or Australia provide crude oil.
So the "Matisse" needs to bunker fuel to last until Singapore.
After 4 PM the barge is towed away and our tugs arrive.
We have to wait until the "P&O Nedlloyd Evita"
has left the berth.
We pass the berth of the "Maersk" shipping company.
According to the captain "Maersk" gets special treatment
in the Panama Channel as it is the largest shipping company
of the world.
Any "Maersk"-ship, no matter at what time it has come into
harbour, will the following day pass the channel before the
Well, money seems to talk in Panama too .....
We are out of the inner harbour and now the captain needs
to watch out for all the larger and smaller ships and boats.
Even though we have a pilot on board manoeuvring in the
harbour is hard work for the captain ... especially if he
has the bridge full of nosy passengers like us!
We follow the track of the "P&O Nedlloyd Evita"
but she seems to have instructions to go straight back in
through the other opening in the breakwater and stay inside
Guess she will be going through the locks over night.
As we head out of the harbour the depth increases and we
reach our anchoring place.
The position is neatly entered in the cards with pencil by
Adrian, the officer on duty.
All details of the legs are entered in the corresponding
cards in regular intervals.
This is done to be able to track the position should the
electronics fails and they have to use the sextant for definition
of the position .
They always reuse the same set of cards but erase the old
After the anchor has been lowered we are allowed to go to
Amazing how hot the anchor cable gets and how mush rust comes
off during this exercise.
It is save to climb onto the lockout at the bow and of course
Ruedi and Roger don't miss the opportunity ....
An absolutely beautiful sun set can be viewed.
It is so beautiful that one could already almost call it
On the way back there is more to be investigated and seen.
Isn't life great if one can see things through the eyes of
a child every so often?