Week one - Back at Shelter Bay

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Tue 21 Feb 2012 21:33
09:22.087N 079:57.077W

Week One - Back at Shelter Bay:
We arrived back in Panama last Wednesday morning, after an exhausting 29 hour trip from Cape Town.  We were very happy to find Time2 safe and sparkling clean on the dock at Shelter Bay Marina... thanks to the maintenance man, Moses.  We had set our air-conditioning on a dehumidifying cycle while we were away, and it worked perfectly, not a sign of mold or bad smells.  It was nice to be home!
Unfortunately we had two bits of bad luck - firstly the water-pump, that drives all the pressured water through the boat for taps, toilets, showers etc, packed up ... and then Mike got sick. Poor guy has been "man down" for the last five days with a terrible bout of flu - thanks to Rob our neighbour in Simon's Town, who so generously shared his bugs.  In between sweating and sleeping, Mike has still managed to get a few things done on the boat, and today he is much better.  So I dragged him out, on a 20km cycle ride on bicycles lent from James & Marina on Happy Cat.  We cycled down to the fort of San Lorenzo which has a great view over the mouth of the Chagres river.  It was built in 1595 to protect the gold that was brought down the river from Panama city, before being shipped to Portobelo to await the Spanish armada who would take it back to Spain. Of course there were many battles for this gold, and the pirate Henry Morgan destroyed the fort in 1671, before it was later rebuilt by the Spanish.    
We were happy to see Alan & Marita (Alleycat) and Mike & Muffy (Extasea) at the marina, before they headed off to Cuba. While Mike has been sick, I have been doing a few things on the boat, taken the bus to Colon to do shopping and also spending some time at the pool.  This is a very busy and social marina, and it has been great to meet people. It is amazing how many catamaran are here, including 3 Leopard 47's just like Indigo, which made us quite nostalgic.  I enjoyed spending time with Kat and Colin Forster, who have now gone thru the canal on a Moorings delivery to Australia.
We have met with our canal agent Erick to discuss our  transit and we are now in the hands of the officials. We have to have the boat measured before they can set a date for transit - and as it is currently the carnival holidays we will have to wait until Thursday (hopefully) for this to happen. Immediately thereafter we can have the boat hauled out and have the bottom paint re-done. For some reason they can't measure the length of the boat while it is out of the water?! 
The barnacle growth under the boat is quite something!  Today the diver, Jesus (quite a biblical clan here!) cleaned the mess off the props, so we can at least drive around to the travel-lift for the haul out.
We are still debating what to do about replacing the water-pump. Although we do have a backup system on board, which is currently being used, we have to get a new one from Florida.  The quickest way to get it here, will be for one or both of us to fly to Florida to fetch it.  This will hardly be a chore, as we both love visiting Ft Lauderdale, but the logistics need to be sorted out.
Happy Hour with Leon, Kat and Colin
Sunrise over the canal
Still looking a bit sick, but cycling in the jungle!
Ruins of the fort of San Lorenzo