Panama at Last
17 February 2010 | Shelter Bay Marina Colon
First Mate Hels
Hola from Shelter Bay Marina where we are gathered with a bunch of boats awaiting the scheduling of our transit of the Panama Canal. The last few weeks have been brilliant. You will be pleased to know (sorry to scare you all) but things have calmed down considerably from the Cartagena Night of Terror. We had a great week in Cartagena absolutely loving the old town for its culture, historic buildings and general groovy atmosphere. The Columbian people we met were fantastic, really friendly and helpful. The cruisers we met were also full of great information and welcoming. After stocking up on some Spanish jamon we had a lovely easy passage overnight to San Blas. These are a group of islands off the Panama mainland and are truly the best cruising ground we have come across. The islands are basically uninhabited and unspoiled and look like real tropical islands. They are surrounded by reefs scaring off the loud yobbo charter market crowd and are just superb. The local people are the Kuna Indians who live a very traditional way of life. They paddle handmade dugout wooden "ulu' canoes and survive on trading coconuts and "molas". These are beautiful handmade embroidered stitching pieces about the size of a large placemat. They could be made into cushions or used as a decoration. They are quite stunning and we bought quite a few off Venanzio the Master Mola Maker. There was great excitement when he paddled up to our boat early one morning - we had heard from other cruisers that his molas are the best in the San Blas. Breakfast and schoolwork were quickly thrust aside as we pored over dozens of molas - they were all so good to was hard to choose which to buy. We spent about a week in the San Blas which was really fantastic and we met a bunch of great people including a bunch of family boats who are carrying on to the Pacific. We are now at Colon awaiting our transit and will soon be joined by JD's sister Lisa and hubby Leon which will be great. They have been to the States and Cuba and no doubt will have some stories to share. If anyone is interested on our next blog we will put down the webcam address of the locks on the Canal and let you know when we are transiting as you can then see us in the locks which would be kind of a hoot! We will leave you for now - hoping Sydney's rain is easing and all is well in your worlds. I will leave you with some funny questions sent to us from our good friend Benson in a recent email which put a smile on our faces. Adios amigos.
- Who in their right mind would let their 5 year proven maniac son drive the new high speed dinghy?
- did Hel's CATCH the three rogue waves during the Cartagena Night of Terror?
- do not agree to transport any 'packages' for agreeable Columbian gentlemen through the Panama Canal.
- why did everything blow up JUST AFTER Nada left the boat?
- what was the name of the Orca that came to visit?
- what were the EXACT words that came out of adult mouths when an 8 metre sea monster flew out of the sea next to the boat?
- why has there been no mention of rum cocktails?
- what punishments have been meted out to Tykes for not doing schoolwork?
- what shade of brown are your faces now? Please be specific.
- why are all autopilots called George?
- has anyone used the word 'coxswain' in Scrabble yet?