(Kai wrote this story about the Panama Canal and just finished it yesterday while we were anchored in Contadora Island in Las Perlas. Just didn't want to confuse you.)
I, Fuzzy the Great Seventy Eight Poppa Nate, (Kai’s stuffed bear) had heard the news. Kai was taking me on a boat across the Panama Canal! Kai came into my room, put me in his backpack and I fell asleep. I woke up to Kai shouldering his pack and we were leaving the bus. We were in Colon, on the Caribbean side of Panama.
Kai took me in a ponga and about 5 minutes later we (me, Otto, Kai, Ruth, Tim and Maya) were greeted by Andrew and Kerry, (the owners of Mariposa, the boat we were going to transit the canal with.) Kai took me down below, sorted through his stuff, brought me outside and said “let’s go up to the foredeck so you and Maya and I can explore the boat. Fuzzy, it’s too dangerous for you to go up here without me or Maya.”
Kerry pulled up the anchor and a boat came by and dropped off a Panamanian man who was going to help us cross the canal. About 20 minutes later we tied three boats together, like a raft! We saw the first lock and the people onshore opened the gate. We went in the gate and it closed behind us almost like one of the humongous cages in the zoo. We started going up and up as the water bubbled into the chamber. The gates opened and we did this two more times. It was just like the history books that Kai had read to me. We finished Gatun Locks and motored to Gatun Lake.
And when it was getting dark, we went to a mooring. Kai gave me a meat dinner and put me down below. I saw everyone on the boat go to another boat and they left me behind.
Now that I had the boat to myself, I scrambled up on deck and thought how big everything is and how small I am. I knew Kai had warned me not to go up alone, but I was so curious. Suddenly the wind picked up and blew me up in the air all the way to the top of the mast. I reached for a line and grabbed it. Then the line started to go down fast and I was swinging. This was a life or death situation. I jumped for the spreader and I inched my way to the mast. I held on tightly.
I saw Maya and Kai walking from the other boat back to Mariposa and I roared but they did not hear me. I was on my own. I slowly climbed down paw over paw. I didn’t want to fall down and end up in the water because I could see crocodiles circling the boat and I knew if I fell into the water I would be a dead bear. Paw over paw I scooted down the mast, but I fell down about 100 paws down all the way to the deck.
My head was spinning and I couldn’t tell what was up or down. Maybe the cockpit had gone where the mast was and the mast was upside down. I was so confused.
Kai picked me up and told Maya, “I thought I put Fuzzy in the backpack. I wonder what he is doing here.” I didn’t want to tell him what happened, but I was glad to be safe in his arms.
On the second day, we went through two more locks and then we were back home on Kamaya. Kai unpacked me and put me with the rest of my friends and family. I was so glad to be back with Snowy, my daughter and Balto my son.
That night, Curlo, Paca, Al, Flitter, Golden Fur, Ali, Sparkle, Duck Shoes, Moonlight, Spot, Stormy and Phili and all of us gathered together and I told them the story of the canal. I’ll never go out on deck alone!
P.S Don’t tell Kai about this! And Happy Birthday to Poppa Nate!
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