Shelter Bay is the marina close to the entrance to the Panama Canal where the World ARC fleet has gathered awaiting transiting the Canal.
We arrived here on Wednesday afternoon after a very nice sail from the town of Portobello where we had spent the night after enjoying a great meal at Jack's, a beautifully situated restaurant serving wonderful food.
We had sailed to Portobello from Porvenir our last stop in the San Blas Islands and the location of a Panamanian immigration office. Getting to the office from the boat was a little challenging as the island is surrounded by reefs. I probably didn't follow the instructions carefully as I managed to hit the reef three times with my dinghy engine.
But here we are in Shelter Bay getting ready to transit the Canal Tuesday and Wednesday (it is Monday today). Very exciting. Even more exciting is that Laurie is back on the boat. Ready to go to the Galapagos and then cross the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas.
We will have new crew joining us for the Canal transit ,Lyn and John from Australia, and then the Galapagos passage. The passage departs from the Las Perlas Islands, our last stop in Panama.
Elena and Joe who have been with us since St. Lucia are leaving us here in Panama. They have been a great crew. Very knowledgeable, hard working and fun to be with.
And they had some strong winds and big seas to deal with.
The Canal is something else..! We joined an excursion to the new Gatun locks and were taken aback by the size and busyness of it all. Very impressive. We will go through the locks rafting with two other boats. All three of us are Hylas 54's.
Of course Blue Pearl continues to require tender loving care, we even had to fly out a marine technician from Annapolis to help us correct a problem with our newly installed rudder. All is well now, we hope.
I guess it is not surprising but we have realized that keeping the boat going requires at least as much time as enjoying the new places we are visiting.