Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 22, 2008

More of Panama

18.10.08 – Gili has started her way home early in the morning. Ilana and I went to the supermarket to provision and when we came back we decided to stay another day in the marina. Moshe is still recuperating from his back and shoulder problems and yesterday we came too late to the restaurant to have the ice cream we craved.

So, a relaxed day passed. In the evening we had the unusual (for us) beef fillets and were not late for vanilla sunday at the restaurant.


19.10.08 – Moshe got up in the morning feeling a lot better and full of enthusiasm for maintenance work. He instructed me in installing a relay for the starboard engine starter. Having finished the job, the skies clouded up and heavy rain fell for about an hour. A swap meet took place in the marina today and I bought Costa Rica and Ecuador flags.

We then went out to Portobelo, dodging ships going in and out of Colon harbour. Two miles before the bay I asked Moshe to reel in the lure and as he was doing it a fish was caught, a 75 cm barracuda.

We took the dinghy into town and it was very different from the sleepy place we saw in the past visits. It turns out there is a big religious festival on the 21st of the month, to which many people come from all over Panama and even Costa Rica. The streets were full of people, many pitching tents right in the middle of town. Many makeshift  stalls sprouted everywhere, selling food, religious artifacts, general merchandise and off course – beer.

Portobelo market

Portobelo market

We bought a drink called Chicheme that had corn and cinnamon in it from a girl who looked like the local beauty queen.

Beauty Queen

Beauty Queen

The church was full of believers passing solemnly in front of the Jesus figure, which will be carried around town on Tuesday. Outside pop music blared out of huge loudspeakers and everybody was having a great time.




After walking there for about an hour I was glad to go back to the quietness of the anchorage on the other side of the bay.


20.10.08 – The plan for the day was to go out for fishing and then anchor in Jose del Mar, only three miles or so to the northeast of Portobelo. Although making all the right moves, we did not catch anything. We found out that the red and white Rapala lure, champion of so many “victories” lost the  part that makes it wobble, its’ tail crushed by the last barracuda and was no longer serviceable. I gave it a decent burial in the trash bin. Jose del Mar turned out to be a small, open bay. We didn’t like the look of it and went on to Linton island, to anchor right by a Wharram cat.

After sunset a man came in a rowing dinghy, said he was from that boat and, in a German accent hinted that we were too close, that he has just painted his boat and was worried that we collide at night. Acted as if the whole anchorage was his; Not nice! It was too late to move so we promised to keep a lookout.

The main highlight of the day, at least for me, was the baking of a loaf of bread – a first for me – and it was edible!






21.10.08 – Tomorrow Ilana and Moshe are leaving, so we want to get closer to Shelterbay, their point of departure. For the last destination of their trip I chose beautiful river Chagres. On the way there we designated Ilana as the fisherwoman in charge, and with Moshe assisting, she took out a nice, small Wahoo.

Getting close to Chagres big rain clouds overtook us with thunder and lightning, drenching the boat and whoever stayed outside. Miraculously there was a lull just as we approached the entrance, the visibility improved and we glided into the river, so tranquil, save for the calls of the jungle animals and birds.

After anchoring, we took the dinghy for a tour of the river, looking out for monkeys (we only saw one at distance) and birds. We saw a few Toucans, white and grey Herons and some others we did not recognize.

Chagres river, so close to Colon and so far from it in character!


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