Crocodile in Marina - there's new.

Rich Carey
Thu 15 Mar 2018 01:31
9:22.033N 79:57.075W

I haven't seen reputed yet, but they assure.

So, we'd left Columbia for Panama. But there was one last sting. My last mouthful of Columbian fare, was prepared and flown in especially from Deli. See, there was good reason why I'd spent so many hours over the last 15 months becoming a damn good toilet mechanic - you never know when you're going to need 'the porcelain' at 100% operational capability every hour for 2 days! At least you aren't working the macerator too hard!!

Asides spending a fair share of time watching the three meter swell, out of the window, from the port bog throne - the trip was mostly uneventful, for the area. Some avoid that coast/bay completely, the wind and swell accountable for so many upset Sauvignon Blanc's.

All that wild sea history aside, in the later part, it acted like treacle to progress. Down the wave at 6knots, up the wave at 2knots. Labby laborious, but finally Panama loomed. It had to, eventually. Actually the leviathans loomed largest, and everywhere, the coast just a haze in a gray day. There must have been a thousand million ton monsters chasing us. Ok maybe a hundred, anchored. Lots anyway, and scary.

Shelterbay Marina. Rather nice. Eclectic swath of boats, and a certain nervous energy, with probably 30% waiting for the lifetime experience of the Panama Canal transit. Experience indeed - they've recently started pushing yachts into the canal at 05:00 and getting them through to the Pacific in a single day! Normally you anchor overnight in the lake. A one day 45 mile transit is a BIG day - a really big day! Not only are you stressed by the locks and the leviathans, but then you have to steer hour after hour after hour (7 hours), down the canal - absolutely straight - this isn't an ocean auto pilot meander - focusVille in cream crackered knackered city!

Ah, I forgot a 'Columbian incident' but that's fine as it ends here in Panama. While in sweet heaven in 'Sweet Harmony' (the rain forest hotel), that wicked coastline required a toll of x86. The wind apparently blew up vicious, partly unfurled my Screecher, and played flogging havoc with the rigging (onlookers said the mast was moving like a Jews harp). I'd noticed as soon as I saw x86 from the taxi "hmm, where has the Screecher gone?" (It was by then, strapped to the deck).
When the wind let rip (and the sail started to rip), three kindly Frenchies, sprinted over and saved the day - dragging the mess down from the sky. I will now have to readdress my attitude to the Frenchies, whom I normally find as useful as a sponge leg in a swimming pool.
Here in Shelterbay, there's a sail loft. Marvellous! So I took the Screecher over and we stared at it for a while, then agreed the plan - I threw it in a skip. Shame, but 'appens'. Also lost the VHF antenna, which was snapped off the spreader.

The Marina has a tiny hotel/restaurant/bar, a tiny 'mart', and a micro Chandler. The Chandler is so bare, they don't even sell shackles. WTF - boats are held together with them - the owner probably owns his own marina somewhere, with no water in it.

The tiny bar would be ok, but no staff to man it, due to the riots! Colon is the 'Canal town', and source of cheap labor. It's shite, full of shite jobs, shite pay, shite conditions. Now and then they have a little riot, which is surprising. When you choose to live in a place called 'Colon' it's bound to be shite.
So the Marina is absent its cheap labor, who seemed to have died in the riots as they're not here. News might be wrong as I think it said only one person died. Or maybe they got trapped in their homes by those two pallets someone set on fire. Or maybe they suffered back injuries carrying off the stuff they'd looted. Looting, of which there was quite a bit, is a critical part of the protest scenario - sympathy vote.grabber. Anyway, the bar closed abruptly at 18:00 - something of a shock as I only got there at 17:00. The manager decided he'd done a years work in one day, and needed hospitalization, or at least a lie down. Today I was more canny and went at 14:15 just in case. The lie down didn't take so well, as the Manager needed to lock up at 15:00 - I kid you not.

Now we start the paper chase to get a transit slot.

All's well on x86 - just jobbin and planning to hit the bar tomorrow at 10:00am.

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