It is a bit of a fib to say we are in Colon. Shelter Bay Marina is located in an abandoned US military base, still know as “Fort Sherman” by the locals. Colon is about thirty minutes by car. The route crosses the Gatun Lock so there is often a long delay as ships lock through.
Fort Sherman was built at the same time as the Panama Canal, and used by the US to secure the canal. The base was abandoned by US in 1999, and immediately stripped bare by the Panamanians. Shells of US military housing remain, along with both newer and older military installations. The roads through the base now serve as convenient nature trails for visitors to Shelter Bay Marina.
In Panama, we needed to make up our minds: whether to remain in the Americas for another year, or cross the Pacific this season. A trip to Colon, and a few walks along Fort Sherman’s roads sealed the deal. We like Colon. We like Panama. Panama has it’s own intrinsic culture that is not tourist dominated. The Panamanian jungle is exotic and interesting. We have seen Howling monkeys, Capuchin monkeys, and some oversize rabbity looking thing we do not know the name of. We are able to just scrape enough money to pay our bills.
Shelter Bay Marina is an easy place to stay. At only $24/night for a boat our size staying at least 16 days, $10/week for Internet and $1 happy hours beers we can afford to stay here indefinitely. It is also a great place from which to fly the US, so I will be flying to Minnesota to visit Ruby and Darla, Harvey and Diane, Mark and the SpEd Forms crew, and pick up some parts.
After I return, we will get the boat ready and start making our way to the San Blas Islands and then to Cartagena, Columbia. Our plan is to put the boat on the hard (ie: pull the boat out of the water) do some maintenance on the hull and put Franklin in a Columbian preschool for a few months. We have heard great things about Cartagena and Columbia, and look forward to visiting.
After Cartagena, who knows? Our plans are written in sand.