We are now sitting in the Shelter Bay Marina,
Panama and are at the end of our second day. To say that the past couple of days
have been full would be understatement.
Unfortunately we only really had a glimpse of the
San Blas Islands. We arrived there on Saturday the 18th June around lunchtime.
This mass of small palm lined islands came into view at around 10 miles from the
coast of Panama. As we were approaching we noticed what looked to be a large log
ahead of us but still well offshore. It turned out to be a timber canoe with one
of the locals fishing for lobster on the reef. He was miles from anywhere but we
soon realised he was not on his own as several of these boats started to appear.
We found a small group of deserted islands in a
cluster so stopped for a swim. The anchor was out in no time and we all headed
for the shore to get our feet back on dry land. The island we reached was
beautiful and was fringed by coconut palms. It looked and felt like we had
stepped into the Pacific Islands. I still think it incredible that in a
short 3-4 day sail you can go from Aruba with its intensive
tourist development to a place that feels like it has not changed that much
for several hundred years. Would have loved to have stayed there for
days but Rob had a plane booked so we pulled up the anchor and began the long
overnight trek to the Panama Canal.
In a flash of brilliance [he says modestly!] I
threw out a lure as we approached dark. within minutes we had landed a huge
mackeral. Amazing fish and around 3 solid meals for us as well. With our poor
showing to date it was good to finally land a substantial fish.
We motored all night in fairly calm conditions and
were close to Cristobal at 1pm Sunday. On the way in Daniel did a great jog of
preparing a fresh fish meal for us using the pressure cooker. Very
There were more than 70 ships around the entrance
to the canal, when I gave up counting. The small green triangles which indicate
ships on our AIS were now just a mass of solid green.
Entry to the Harbour was fairly simple.
I called the Signal Station on VHF and spoke with a very freindly guy who
basically said just head on in when you are ready. We clung to starboard as a
ship headed out the channel but were soon safely inside the Harbour itself.
We made our way across to the Shelter Bay Marina.
As we entered we met another catamaran heading out. It had an Australian flag
but was being crewed by a guy from the USA, who we later found out was
delivering the cat to its new owner. We asked them if there was space
in the Marina and he called back that there was "heaps of room" and they
had just had one of the "best stays he could remember in a
I had a chat on the radio with the marina staff who
told us exactly where to go. When we arrived at the the berth there were 3 guys
to help us dock. A pretty good start. Within 2 minutes the power was
connected and we were in business.
It is now the 21st June and I have not long
returned from [sadly] taking Robert to the Airport for his flight back
home. I have been up since 4am and I am now completely spent so will fill in the
gaps in the next day or so.
I also have several emails to reply to as well.
Very sorry to all and I promise to be in touch as soon as I can.