An ABC Islands and Venezuela to Panama






Distance (M)

AN1040 Aruba 12°35'N; 70'05'W

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AN1041 Gallinas 13'55'N, 71 C38'W AN 1042 Manzanillo 9'47'N, 79 32'W

AN1043 Panama 9'26.25'N. 79=55'W

Cristobal 9'21'N, 79'55'W


A large number of westbound boats stop in Venezuela or the offlying islands before continuing the voyage towards Panama. Although this route is just outside the region affected by hurricanes, it is better to plan this passage for the intermediate seasons when more pleasant conditions can be expected.

The best point of departure for Panama is Aruba, from where a course should be steered to pass rapidly into deeper waters. On leaving Aruba, the shallow bank to its west should be avoided as the west-setting offshore current combined with an east-setting inshore curent can produce rough and confused seas. The recommended course is outside the 1000 fathom line, which avoids the rough seas that occur in the shallower waters closer to land.

From WP AN1040 outside Oranjestad, the course should be set for WP AN1041 28 miles north of Punta Gallinas on Guajira Peninsula just outside the 1000 fathom line. From there, a direct course can be set for WP AN1042 10 miles N of Punta Manzanillo and 30 miles from the Panama Canal entrance. Then the course should be altered for WP AN1043 at the landfall buoy off the entrance into the port of Cristobal Colon. Traffic Control should be contacted on VHF channel 12. Traffic lights control the passage through the breakwaters and small boats are advised to keep as close as possible to the sides. See page 489 for detailed instructions concerning entry and transit procedure for the Panama Canal.

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