Archive for: ‘January 2013’

Rio Chagres

January 25, 2013 Posted by Deb

We recalled looking at the Panama guide and reading about the Rio Chagres. This river empties into both oceans and was dammed to make the lake and supply the canal water.

After looking at the guide we said “Nice but why would anyone risk going in there”? Two boats have been lost in the last two years going into the entrance. There are little notes saying things like, “The Panama Canal Authority releases large volumes of water and usually send a patrol boat up the river to warn boaters,” and “Storm and wave activity can radically alter the entrance of the river.”

Squeezing Past the Fort San Lorenzo Cliff

Squeezing Past the Fort San Lorenzo Cliff, No Shots Fired

Mangrove Trip in the Rio Chagres

Mangrove Trip in the Rio Chagres

Spent that night listening to the sounds of the jungle and preparing for trip to Bocas del Toro.

Shelter Bay Man Cave

January 23, 2013 Posted by Deb

Good place to finish a few boat projects before heading out of Shelter Bay.


The Panama Canal Crossing

January 19, 2013 Posted by Deb

Eric on Yela came back from Switzerland and Viet Nam over the holidays. We met him in Colombia. He’s a singlehander (except for Lucky the cat) on a 50-foot Privilege and is finishing up a trip around the world. He mentioned he was going through the canal and had hired four linehandlers … we immediately volunteered and cut that to two hired line handlers. Free food and booze for two days, and we popped out in the Pacific Ocean. Very cool.


We had some excitement as we rafted up with two other boats. We had high winds and the French boat on starboard was coming in just fine to hand off lines when the helmswoman for some reason pulled away. They had already tossed their lines to us and when the wind caught their boat it took off along with the skin on our bow linehandler’s hands. Blood all over the deck. The attached bow line and wind action shoved their stern right at Yela where I was on duty and we had a French dink in our laps but fortunately no boat to boat contact.




Don’t tell the pastor in Iowa, but Cindy, Deb’s sister, was watching the canal web cam in church as we passed through on Sunday.


We said our goodbyes, grabbed a hotel in downtown Panama City, and took the train back to Colon


Property Hunt: Panama Edition

January 16, 2013 Posted by Deb

Panama was and still is a hot item for the gringo dream retirement crowd. One of our objectives is to see how the expats are doing in these countries. The folks on Ishmael have been in Panama for nine years; and over a significant portion of that time, pulled off a land ownership miracle with a gorgeous chunk of a peninsula on Lake Gatun and a view that the photos below don’t do justice to. They secured full title, put in roads and utilities (which includes water from the lake and the internet), built the caretaker home and their home and selectively cleared and planted trees. They alternate between their home and their boat in Shelter Bay. There are 6-acre parcels going near them for under U.S.$150,000, and we gave them a serious look.


A Little of Everything: Shelter Bay Marina – December 29-?

January 10, 2013 Posted by Deb

The question mark above is because a lot of boats come here and never leave. We intend to in about 10 days. This place has everything from a long happy hour, well attended bar, excellent food, and a free bus to Colon twice a day. There’s more including the canal itself, great hikes, critters, “after the bomb” U.S. bases that were left in 1999, and good provisioning. Some of the shots below were taken on a 22 km hike to Fort San Lorenzo that took us over five hours, four good blisters, and got us out in the rainforest during and beyond sundown. We haven’t been in the jungle much after dark and that is unique … particularly since we were the only humans within miles.

Ft. Sherman Suburbia Up for Auction

Ft. Sherman Suburbia – Up for Auction

Ft. Sherman Handball Court

Ft. Sherman Handball Court

ow to Make a Man-Made Fresh Water Lake

How to Make a Fresh Water Lake

Howler Monkey - Our Morning Wake-Up Alarm

Howler Monkey – Our Morning Wake-Up Alarm

Danger! Watch the  Road

Minor Road Hazard

Toucan - Our Noisy Hiking Companion

Toucan – Our Noisy Hiking Companion

Diablo Beach

Diablo Beach

Fort Lorenzo

Fort Lorenzo

Side Tripl on Chuck's Birthday to Casco  Viejo in Panama City

Side Trip on Chuck’s Birthday to Casco Viejo in Panama City

Mira Flores Locks in the Canal

Mira Flores Locks in the Canal

Four Questions Most Commonly Asked

January 9, 2013 Posted by Deb

We continue to be fairly lucky, in fact, our only complaints have been too little wind at times. We do not like lightning and chose to wait out an impressive squall just before pulling into Santa Marta, Columbia. It turned out to be a nightly occurrence from midnight to around 3:00 am. We waited about an hour, found a hole, and pulled into Marina Santa Marta at about 2:00 a.m.


Bad Guys?
We got boarded by the good guys at night while underway off Aruba and that was a bit freaky.


We’ve been all over the Santa Marta area with no problems, we skirted our favorite islands in VZ, and we survived bad food but have not run into bad guys. Oh … we got robbed by immigration at Porvenir in the San Blas and a few taxi drivers in Columbia and Panama.

We closed out 2012 at a bar at Shelter Bay and abstained from the conga line and firing our flares. We also closed the books on 2012 at about $8,000 over budget … which isn’t bad since we have a new knee, new salon cushions, new side curtains, new awning, and new watermaker membrane.


What Do You Do All Day?
Yesterday was a holiday in remembrance of the Panamanian people killed trying to get a U.S. ex-pat community to fly a Panamanian flag in addition to a U.S. flag (as ordered by JFK). It’s called Martyrs Day. We did woodworking projects on the floorboards, flushed the watermaker, oiled the rudder posts, computer work related to mail and Medicare, and we hiked toward Fort San Lorenzo again with two other boats.


Today was up at 7:00 to take the $3 bus to Panama City where we rented a VRBO condo. The challenge was that we had no target address or name and a “near the Marriott  for directions. That would have been okay but the phone contact wasn’t answering. A quick trip to a café that had internet and we zeroed in. Then it was off site seeing and we found the Hobbit playing in 3D  in a theater long after it should have ceased being shown. A little condo provisioning followed by a TV fix. Oh … and also an A/C fix.

This is also in on the four questions page of our website.