Feb 23

Panama City, Old Section and Isla Taboga

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The old city, Casco Viejo is where the City of Panama was founded , after the original settlement was invaded, looted, and destroyed almost to it’s totality by an attack lead by the pirate, Henry Morgan, in 1671.

Two years later, in 1673, the new Panama was founded again, but this time strong walls were built around the city in order to avoid further attacks. In 2003 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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This Barber, even has a line up waiting,….. just provide a bucket to sit on, an old banner, and a pair of clippers.

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Been described as Little Dubai…..Panama City

Off the coast lay, 39 islands , known as the Las Perlas, a real tropical paradise: The Pearl Islands. it’s name derives from the abundance of pearls that were extracted during the time of the .Spanish colony. It was here where during the 16th century, the famous “La Peregrina Pearl” was discovered, a gem of unusual form and size which history is really fascinating. Since it’s discovery, it has belonged to countless famous people around the world. In modern times, it was owned by Elizabeth Taylor, after her husband Richard Burton gave it to her as a gift. In December 2011, the legendary pearl was auctioned for 9 million Euros.


Taboga Island, also known as the, “Island of flowers”, is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Panama, it is a tourist destination only 7 nautical miles from Panama City. The name derives from an Indian word “aboga”, meaning many fish. Isla Taboga has been the home of Conquistadors, Pirates,Gold Rush prospectors, Artists, Soldiers, and rests in the glory of being the birthplace of a Saint. In the era of the French Canal construction, a hospital and sanatorium for workers with yellow fever and malaria was established.Among those who recovered and survived  was Paul Gauguin, the famous French impressionist.  Through it all, the island has remained it’s tranquil self.

San Pedro was founded in 1524,. The small town is pleasant and clean, with tiendas and nice restaurants, there is also a bakery and several hotels. The church of the same name is clamed to be the second-oldest church in the hemisphere.

Tourism is the major economic activity on the island, on weekends boatloads of people come from the mainland to enjoy the beaches and restaurants.

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Hotel…..overlooking the beach

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With as much as 20 foot tides, we actually motored the dinghy right up to the beach. When it came time to leave we found it high and dry. Back to the patio for a couple more beers while we wait………


Feb 16

Panama Canal Transit

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When we were asked to assist as line handlers on Imagination, our friends beautiful, Leopard 42 catamaran, we jumped at the chance. All small boats transiting the Panama Canal must have on board, at least 3 crew, an adviser, plus a captain. We had met Lorela and John Hess in Santa Marta, when they first mentioned that they could use some help. We had sailed west together, but hadn’t seen them since when we arrived in the San Blas. They had carried on to Colon to do last minute preparations, and  provisioning to get the boat ready for their trip.   

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Balboa Yacht Club….on the Pacific side.


Have a look at this video of our 2 days of Fun

Thanks Guys

Feb 09


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Portobello was discovered by Christopher Columbus, in 1502 during his 4th trip to the new world. Because of the perfect harbour and location, it was chosen as the shipment center for the riches coming from Central and  South America. From this port, large quantities of  gold and silver were shipped back to Seville, the capital of the Spanish Empire. Between 1574 and 1702 forty five fleets of galleons, each carrying no less than 30 million pesos made the trip.  

In 1668, Henry Morgan, who worked the Spanish Main came calling. With an assault troop of 40 men he managed to take the town, the small troop of defenders put up little resistance and were overcome. Morgan demanded 100,000 pesos in order not to destroy the population.

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The Customs House, built in 1630, attacked in 1644, reconstructed in 1760, only to be damaged by a strong earthquake in 1882.  It is so nice to see this beautiful renaissance building, which was formally the Governors’ office and merchandise warehouse being restored.

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The hills on the north side of the road, hold more parts of this fort system, hidden by the vegetation.

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Church of San Felipe de Portobello

The church is located on the site of an older church built in 1814. A wooden statue of Jesus of Nazareth makes this church home. The statue has become holy and worshipped because miracles attributed to it. Every October 21st, the “Festival of the Black Christ of Portobello”, is celebrated. This local saint is worshipped by followers throughout Latin America. People walk on their knees from as far away as Costa Rica to pay their respects.


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Feb 02

Linton Bay Marina, Panama

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Lead around the small island we were anchored behind , then through the narrow channel between, Nester our Kuna guide led us and 4 other boats to open water. We had asked him to assist, as an additional crew member to travel with us to Linton Bay Marina. There we hoped to find a mechanic to solve our engine problems. When we started out, it was a bit unnerving when Nester asked us what the chartplotter was, our navigation system. He only knew how to travel amongst these islands by memory. He pointed out landmarks along the way, we double checked on the charts, he was correct every time.

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We had to pump water out of the bilge as we went along at a rate of about 50 gallons every 15 minutes, while our helper steered the boat. There were large swells, but we rode them well, and had a comfortable ride the whole way. While not doing his helm duties, Nester chose to relax on deck. ***click photo on right***


After, around six hours, we rounded Isla Linton and made our way to the marina. Glad to have safely arrived, we could now get repairs done. Linton Bay Marina, will be our home for the next little while. Travelling by bus, which runs every two hours, we can get to the city to shop, or pick up parts  only a two hour ride Trucks stop by the marina loaded with cases of wine, today a great deal,   6 bottles for $30, or smaller vegetable trucks show up often. A 1/2 of Squash, Oranges, Cucumber, Plantains, Lemons, Limes, and a Papaya……..$6 bucks. You can see why, many cruisers have stayed for a while here. At sunset a guy even set up his mat and performed Tai Chi, I chose to relax on the bench watching.

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Never thought I would be spending my retirement……waiting for a bus. These music blaring, colourful, racing vehicles, actually, old school buses, will take you to where ever you need to go. For just 3 dollars they will get you to Colon, what a great deal.

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Who would have thought a Sloth could swim?????