Looking behind, to the East at the beautiful sunrise as we set off down the Panamanian coast.
Photo taken in the dark (enhanced) of ships at anchor waiting to go through the Panama Canal.. View from the Rio Chagres as we leave in the wee morning hours.
A Day Sail
The plan: Day sails to break up the 125 miles to Bocas Del Toro.
The last day/night in the Chagres we anchored at the mouth of the river in preparation to leave tomorrow at O-dark-30. As the sun began it's decent, a squall came over the mountains and moved right over top of us. Even if we hadn't looked up from our comfy chairs on deck at the encompassing darkened skies, we should have known from the increasing level of sound coming from the howler monkeys. Fair warning that a storm was eminent, as the resident Howler monkeys bellow out their grief every time there is a whiff of rain eminent. It made for a very quick ending to our pot luck hors d'oeuvre dinner and happy hour with Carl and Debbie from "Diva"; as they had to row "home" before, yet another torrential downpour.
With L.P. wrapped up and sealed in, Steve and I decided to use the pelting, fairly cold raindrops and enjoy a shower on deck, something I don't really enjoy as it feels as though one is ducking as lightening bolts strike all around you and the sound of thunder makes me jump or hit the deck. Regardless, it was a well received bath before heading down below decks to sleep.
Last night in the Rio Chagres
When you see a guy hacking through the jungle mile after mile in movies, don't believe it unless they admit it took weeks and they had a army of "young" men with machetes. We were hacking our way along a supposed path that have been abandoned for a couple of years and soon lost the path and our will to proceed. We did find Nutmeg on the ground. We are familiar with the spice from Grenada where it is abundant on small bushy trees, here it had fallen from towering trees with their foliage up in the canopy.
Steve using the machete that Nancy (his sister) gave him back in 1977. She brought it back from her trip to San Salvador and we hid the darn thing until we decided to go on this sailing adventure. Steve sleeps with it ..lol.. it lies just above his head, for easy access, if we have intruders! Can you imagine!
Carl taking a break.. I don't know where Carl got his.
photo of us trying to hike through the bush.
Fort San Lorenzo
Photo looking down into the Rio Chagres and way up on the other side is the crane used by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
It was a walk along a road to get to the Fort San Lorenzo which was a good thing because it was the day after the big rain storm. Marg described it as ABF (another bloody fort) but it was quite spectacular and well preserved. It seemed like an impregnable fortress up on a high cliff but it seem everyone and his brother captured it and destroyed it, the pirate Captain Morgan and the British Navy. The Americans had an installation in the fort during the second world war but I don't think any one was defending it when they took over. One feature that was interesting where large rooms with vaulted ceilings and windows over looking the cliffs. They had protrusions from the wall where the candles must have been placed and you could easily imagine the room occupied by the Spanish Commander or Captain Morgan or the British Commander. Well I could . . Margaret not so much.
Debbie and Carl on "Diva" join us again on another hike up..
Fort San Lorenzo.. that way to Bocas (sort of).
On our way home we discover a natural swing.. just had to try it out.
tight squeeze ..
photo of the dam up close..
The Panama Canal
photo of Lake Gatun
The Rio Chagres was damed to make Lake Gatun which is the top part of the Panama canal. We took the trail from the river through the forest and eventually up a large grass embankment to he top of the dam and could see the first of the two locks dropping ships down to the Atlantic ocean as well as a line of ships motoring along the lake after being lifted from the Pacific ocean. All the traffic seemed to be from west to east when we were there and we didn't in see any sailboats among the monster ships.
finally dam it ..
June/2/2011, Rio Chagres, Panama
photo of brown frog with white stripe down it's back..
We took three walking trips one through the forest and up past the dam to see the canal, one up to Fort San Lorenzo at the head of the river and one to see what it would be like to hack your way through the jungle with machetes.