|Our new motto:|
When the rains fall in the tropics,
Go land cruising!
|After 3 years cruising Mexico and Central America, it was quite a production to pack ourselves up for an extended trip to the U.S. The boys, having only known travel via boat or car, first needed to be crate trained.|
|It took 10 days navigating through a highly developed and well entrenched Panamanian bureaucracy to obtain the needed International Health Certificates for Max and Myer.|
|When all was said and done, we had two very well behaved pups and a whole ream of paperwork. |
|We spent three great months visiting family, friends and some of our favorite old stomping grounds.|
|The boys became very familiar with car travel.|
|Thank you to everyone who housed, fed and entertained us! We had a ball. But it was good to get back home on Serenity and cruising on the water again.|
|Our plans (written in sand, of course) were to stick around the Panama City area, cruising the Las Perlas Archipelago and Panama’s western islands.|
|Our home base has been the Balboa Yacht Club on the Pacific side of the canal.|
|One of the most exciting things about being at the Balboa Yacht Club is meeting cruisers from all over the world.|
|Want to be a world cruiser but don’t own a boat? Come to Panama City. You’re sure to get a crew position somewhere. We met one 60+ year old woman who is traveling around the world acting as crew, cook and laundress on other boats.|
|Panama City is also a good place for boat repairs. Many cruisers get hauled out at the Balboa Yacht Club’s rail tracks.|
|Can you spot Paul playing linehandler below?|
|Notice how level the deck is in the picture above. All done by Tito’s eye.|
|Mostly, however, cruisers arrive at Panama City to reprovision and then make the transit through the canal. It is always easy to spot the boats who are just about to transit or who have just completed the transit.|
|It costs a few dollars to buy the tires, then a few more to off load them from your boat. Although at the height of the season (December through March), you might be able to get them for free just to save someone else the bother of disposal!|
|We’ve used some of our time in Panama to take care of repairs.|
|We heard of a man in Colon who could do sail repairs, so we took the opportunity to ride the Panama Canal Railway to Colon on the Atlantic side of the canal.|
|Our first stop in Colon was to deliver the sail to sail maker Manual Pretelt.|
|Our usual Panama City taxi driver, Israel, had driven to Colon with the sail in the truck of his taxi and then met us at the Colon train station to deliver the sail to Manual. After the business was done, he gave us a tour of the city of Colon. What was once a magnificent city is now blighted and dangerous.|
|Our return to Panama City (via Israel’s taxi) included a side visit to the new and beautiful (but isolated) Shelter Bay Marina on the Colon side of the Canal. (www.shelterbaymarina.com)|
The land route to the marina includes crossing over the canal at the Gatun Locks.
|One day, we took a fascinating day trip up the Gamboa River to visit a village of the indigenous Embera Drua Indians. We drove by car into the jungle and met some representatives of the village who were waiting for us with their traditional mode of transportation: Cayucos.|
|It was a fascinating day spent with these indigenous people who are trying to keep their traditions alive and vibrant in the midst of a modern society.|
|Panama is rich with history and proud of their heritage. The month of November is their Patriotic Month with several “independence days” (independence from Spain, independence from Columbia . . . ) celebrated with many parades, carnivals and festivities.|
|Panama City is a large and vibrant metropolis.|
|We have been in Panama over one year already!|
We’ve seen the mangoes flower and ripen.
|And a new crop of cashew nuts develop.|
|We hope to continue to explore Panama, watching those cool ships come through the canal until it is our turn.|
|Some very special people in our lives.|
Dr. Evelia Gomez. A life saver.
|Aneida, who came to the hospital to cut Paul’s hair. No Cost!|
Not all who wander are lost.