AGENT PRONE

Cruising World - - Under Way -

In your Au­gust/septem­ber On Watch (“Tran­sit­ing Nep­tune’s Stairs”), Cap’n Fatty Good­lan­der tells of the com­edy of er­rors dur­ing his Panama Canal tran­sit, partly due to his two pi­lots not do­ing their jobs, and be­cause he did not have a canal agent. They make all the ar­range­ments, and they pro­vide ex­pe­ri­enced line han­dlers in­stead of a pickup crew. Dur­ing my pleas­ant tran­sit of the Panama Canal, I was docked at the Pe­dro Miguel Boat Club, 2 miles from the Mi­raflo­res Locks on the Pa­cific side. My canal agent, Pete Stevens, in­formed me there would be a de­lay of three or four days to go through the last locks. Good! I loved the place: The club­house was an old wooden build­ing sur­rounded by trees. In its large li­brary, I read a good book. And I did boat jobs pre­par­ing for the Pa­cific. In his Septem­ber 2010 On Watch (“Bak­sheesh!”) about his tran­sit of the Suez Canal, the cap­tain com­plained about his dif­fi­cul­ties with the au­thor­i­ties. You printed my re­sponse, also say­ing that his trou­bles were due to his not hav­ing a canal agent. There are enough po­ten­tial prob­lems for a cruis­ing sailor to worry about with­out invit­ing more. De­scrip­tions of my tran­sits of the Panama and Suez canals are in my book Around the World in Six Years.

—Henry Holt, Via email

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