Week One in Panama

posted in: Christmas, Daily Life, General, Panama | 0

It’s our 1 week boat anniversary! We’ve been on our boat for 1 week exactly and here are my thoughts and our adventures to date.

The drive from Panama City was the first interesting part. It takes at least an hour to get to Colon where we then have to catch a ferry over the Panamas Canal to Shelter Bay Marina at Fort Sherman (an old US Military base when the US had control of the Canal). All the barracks and other buildings have been left to rot and decay. We had to take a detour to a little grocery store where we stocked up on food to last us until we could get into the town of Colon to pick up supplies. Picture a car with 5 people, 8 pieces of check in luggage, 10 carry on bags, including a guitar and a fiddle, and two longboards and then cover the people in the back seat with 10 grocery bags. It was fun!

Finally getting to the boat after 2 years or more of working towards that goal was a huge high. It took a lot of perseverance and patience to pack up our lives and make the changes and decisions we needed to make to buy a boat and move to Panama. We celebrated with ron y cola (rum and coke) and headed to the restaurant for dinner. We discovered we had no propane for the stove. Some things do go my way! LOL

Our first adventure into town was to get two tanks of propane. Colon has been left to rot in squalor by the government of Panama and so it is very dirty, poor and unsafe. We take trips in to pick up supples and get out quickly. If we need to go anywhere specific, we take a taxi there and back and the taxi waits for us at the store. We had to do this three times, first day it was propane, second day was phone SIM cards and grocery shopping but we ran out of time and had to leave a half full grocery cart to catch the bus back to the marina. So the next day was another go at the grocery run. Everything takes twice as long as we don’t know where things are and there is a language barrier to contend with as well.

We arrived at the marina on the 20th and on the 22nd, the Catamaran Ultra had organized a progressive appetizer and carol singing night on the docks. We brought a potluck appetizer and a cup. There was a different drink on each dock so you can imagine the party when we got to the 5th dock. Boats were decorated for Christmas and there was a contest for that and we all sung carols on each dock. It was a lot of fun and a great way to meet all the different people in the marina. Fortunately for the kids there were lots of families and they made friends almost instantly and spent the week long boarding, swimming, selling frozen lollies to kids on the docks, participating in a Christmas carol singing performance and playing their instruments at the open mike night.

Christmas was a little different with it being so warm. It really didn’t feel very much like Christmas and we were all relieved when it was over I think. Although the festivities were fun, we missed the snow and our friends and families.

A week was great at the marina but once Christmas was over we were itching to get out on our boat and do a little sailing. We were perhaps a little too eager.

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