8:54.80N 79:31.63W La Playita, Panama
La Playita Marina. Saturday March 18, 2017.
We spent a week in Shelter Bay Marina at the entrance of the Panama Canal. All Oysters were now gathered and we had a “Carnival Party on Thursday. We all went to the historic San Lorenzo Fort situated at the mouth of the Chagres River. This is where the Spaniards brought the gold and silver they stole from the Inca people and transported down the Chagres to the Caribbean side.
We were all dressed up in Carnival gear and enjoyed food and drinks as well as the entertainment. The party continued long after we were back at the marina and some of the crew were a bit slow the following morning.
At the weekend we were a group who took the historic train alongside the canal to Panama City. The 2 M city has a charming old town but the rest is super modern with big bank buildings,tall skyscrapers and large shopping malls. We stayed overnight and had a lovely dinner together in Casco Antiguo (old town).
So finally, on Thurday this week it was time for the Canal crossing. We were all quite excited and a bit nervous for the huge locks and large ships we met in the Canal. But it went very smoothly. On the first day we went up through the Gatun locks to the Gatun lake where we spent the night all 10 Oysters moored together The following morning we continued through the large lake and went down through the locks on the Pacific side. We had to stop a few times to wait for the large “Neo Panamax “ ships that are too wide too meet another boat in the Canal.
It was quite a feeling to motor under the Bridge of Americas and there it was, the Pacific Ocean ! Now the next chapter of the Adventure starts.
We are now at a marina at the Pacific side of the canal. Here we will do most of the provisioning for the long Pacific crossing to French Polynesia before we set sails for Islas Perlas and onwards to Galapagos. Yesterday it was Saint Patricks day so we had to go to an Irish pub of course to support the Irish part of our crew. And today Ireland beat England in Rugby which is even more important than Saint Patricks Day