Still in Shelter Bay

Rumpelteazer Pacific Crossing
Robert Holbrook
Thu 14 Feb 2008 18:20

The shaft and associated bearings for our port sail drive are due to arrive from the UK today or tomorrow, Friday 15th.  We hope to be lifted out on Friday to have them fitted and, with luck, to be away from Shelter Bay on Saturday or Sunday, subject to getting a new date for our Panama Canal transit.

        Shelter Bay Marina - we've been told the new James Bond film is being shot around here and Las Perlas as it looks like Hawaii.  


Max trying to re-commision the fuel pump and fuel tank abandoned after the US Navy left Fort Sherman here at Shelter Bay.

One of the benefits of our unscheduled delay in Shelter Bay is that it has allowed much ‘job-doing’ in the comfort of a marina.  One of our really useful jobs was getting the port heads to work properly (YES Piers - Andy and Robert have finally replaced the old duck bill valves!!).  We also hoisted the mainsail to check reefing points.


Other tasks include getting our gas bottle refilled, recommissionilng our SSB radio, picking up useful cruising information from neighbouring yachts (aka Robert disappearing for a chat), getting our new dinghy delivered from Panama City, producing our detailed provisioning list (for 160 person days at sea) and buying quite a lot of same in the Colon supermarket.

On Monday we had a ‘day off’, and explored the nearby San Lorenzo Fort, overlooking the Chagres River.  The fort was built on the orders of King Philip 1st of Spain in 1593 and then destroyed twice by the British -  first by pirate Captain Morgan in 1671 and then by Admiral Vernon in 1740.  Not a great place to be a British tourist.  




Our walk back from the Fort took us just over 2 hours – 4.2 nautical miles, as the crow flies, according to Robert’s GPS, but closer to 6 miles in reality – the sweltering heat made more bearable by being in the midst of thick Panamanian jungle.  A sudden cacophony of sound from a troop of ‘howler’ monkeys in the trees above us frightened the daylights out of Pippa, but Robert, Andy and Max were very brave.  We decided that the monkeys were more frightened than we were, and hoping we would go away, so we took some pics and carried on walking.




Yesterday, Wednesday (13th), we were told in the marina that there were ‘riots’ in Colon and in Panama City.  Apparently health workers are protesting, and one got shot dead, so there is a lot of angst and unrest in the urban areas.  This has seriously disrupted life in the marina – no transport to Colon or Panama City for shopping or deliveries – eg of our new dinghy, the gas bottle or the Fed Ex package of parts for our sail drive.  'Manana' is bad enough already without this happening!  


In the meantime, we are safe as houses here in this enclosed marina, if increasingly eager to get started on our epic voyage.  Maybe tomorrow the parts will arrive and we can finally leave Shelter Bay....... next thrilling instalment coming soon!