Portobello to Shelter Bay Marina

David & Valerie Allen
Sat 20 Feb 2010 13:11
09:22.86 N   79:55.86 W

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The biggest part of our adventure to date is about to begin!  We had a good quick sale today from Portobello to Shelter Bay Marina, behind the Cristobal Breakwater outside of Colon, Panama.  We had a bit of excitement while entering the breakwater as we suddenly found a HUGE freighter bearing down on us with its horn blaring.  That will get your heart rate up!

Once inside the large harbour, we anchored until a representative from the marina could help us anchor inside the marina bay.  Anchor in a marina????  Apparently they don't take reservations and all the berths were filled, so we had to anchor bow and stern behind the docks.  Unfortunately, this was not adequate for the ad measurers, who had to measure the boat before we could get a permit to go through the locks.  They are not allowed to travel by small dinghy to a boat.  (Actually, four dinghies tied end to end would have enabled them to WALK to us.)  Then the marina forgot about us and we had to dinghy ashore for assistance in rafting up to another boat at the unfinished pontoon dock in order to complete the process.  During the confusion I managed to get a rope burn around my ankle from a mooring line.  Then we had to go outside into the bay again while they built the next section of the pontoon.  I decided that their "20 minutes" would probably be 2 hours and started to wash the teak decks with sea water.  The call to return to the marina came halfway through the process;  I did manage to complete the job when we were once again tied up at the pontoon.  We still didn't have water or electricity.  However, our hoses attached to a distant tap covered the water.  As for electricity, we haven't had any shore power since we boarded in October.  The next morning we were invited to take a proper berth, but decided that five moves in 24 hours was quite enough.  (Also, we managed to get by with paying only half price!)

The biggest treat for me was being able to use a washer and drier- I have been washing by hand in sea water since Curacao!

We thought we were leaving on Sunday and rushed to wash bedding for four others aboard and to buy food enough to feed this army (plus the pilot) over the two days needed to transit the canal.  Saturday was designated for a return to Portobello by bus for a briefing and to meet all the other rally participants- a great bunch!

We discovered that we needed a sunshade for the crew through the canal.  Dave was sent to Colon in search of lightweight PVC piping (we don't want to scratch neighbouring boats!) and I buckled down to creating a tarp that will cover the cockpit.  It actually looks quite professional and should do the trick well.

Then we were delayed until Tuesday and here we are- ready and willing to go!

I forgot to get a photo of Shelter Bay Marina, but managed to photograph this page from our rally binder.  Four docks and the new (unfinished) pontoon were PACKED!!!!