We have had a great time in Portobelo and have enjoyed
seeing Jack again. His bar, "Capt. Jack's Canopy Bar" is quite the centre of all
social activities for yatistas in Portobelo. They also co-ordinate a net
on the VHF each morning, which gives information on weather, introduces people,
and is an opportunity to ask for help from others. This bay was famous for
all the pirate activity centuries ago, with lots of plundering by Henry Morgan,
and remnants of the Spanish forts can still be seen.
We had some serious problems with our dinghy - it just
stopped! Mike then discovered that gear cable and the steering cable
both snapped! Poor Mike, what a job to analyse the problem, find the parts (a
long ride to Panama city) and then fix it..but he did, and all is well again
with the "convertible".
The buses of Panama are amazing - known as "chicken
busses" they are quite a slow and sweaty affair, but amazing to look at. Each
one is privately owned and more decorated than the next one! Some even
have horns on the roof and are lit up at night. However the 90min bus ride
to Colon is not pleasant - and nor is the city. It is very run down and
dangerous, but we had to go there for our cruising permit. It seems strange
that this city which is the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal has not been
Earlier in the week I took the bus to a larger town
(Sabanitas) about 1hour away to do provisioning, which was quite an experience.
My Spanish is very limited and there is little English there - the butchery
counter was a challenge as I recognised non of the beef cuts and the chickens
with heads on was a bit of a freak out! However, I managed to get most things
and took a taxi back!. We are now en route to the lovely San Blas islands (Kuna
Yala) which is further towards Colombia.