Shelter Bay, Panama.
Well we arrived in Cristobal harbour from Puerto Linton on Sunday 6th and came into Shelter Bay Marina. The alternative is to anchor off in The Flats but we need easy shore access to be able to sort out Sarah’s knee and our transit of the canal. There are a few jobs that need doing which are easier when alongside. The marina was quite crowded with boats on the Oyster World Rally but they are beginning to clear out now. The marina is in the area of an old army camp and some of the buildings are used but most have been left to be taken over by the jungle. The trip into Colon City takes up to one and a half hours by free marina bus (which runs twice a day to the supermarket) or $25 each way by taxi which is OK if enough people want to share. You have to cross the canal at the locks or go across on the ferry. Eventually there will be a new bridge which will speed things up a lot. We have had to make a few trips now for hospital and supplies. Sarah has torn the Meniscus in her knee and will hopefully get it treated by surgery under our travel insurance.
There is a good social set up here in the Marina with organised activities, trips and social events as there are a number of long term liveaboards here and during the high season a high turn over of transient boats. Sarah has been to Yoga and Aquafit and we have been on a Canal Tour and a Bird walk both interesting.
The canal tour took us to the visitor centre for the new canal with a viewing platform and slide presentation. This canal is only used for really big boats some of which carry up to 3000 containers. It is alongside the old canal which is still used for smaller ships and they squeeze yachts in at the same time.
The new Canal and the waterstorage which enables them to recycle up to 60% of the water used to fill the locks.
Ferry and works for the new bridge
The bird walk was very informal, led by some cruisers who are keen birdwatchers, one is writing a book on tropical birds, and we saw a number of types as we walked along the roads. Its not only birds that you spot there was an Agouti, Howler Monkeys and a Sloth (we weren’t close enough to count its toes).