Panama

Guna Yala

Guna Yala

San Blas – The Mystical Paradise of the Guna

From Providencia, we’re cruising 270 nautical miles to San Blas, Panama. The archipelago consists of over 350 islands and islets and is governed by the indigenous Guna people, who call it Guna Yala. We clear into Panama on the main island, El Porvenir, and pay our contribution to the autonomous Guna authority. Porvenir is tiny, with little more than an airstrip and a few houses. While clearing in, one officer is mowing the grass while the other stamps our passports. Here, everyone does a bit of everything.

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Posted by Karin in People & Country, 0 comments

Traffic jam at the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is one of the most important bottlenecks for international shipping. Approximately five percent of world trade is now handled through the canal, and two thirds of all ships that pass through the canal come from or go to the USA. Thanks to the Panama Canal, international shipping routes have been shortened by weeks or even months. Merchant ships, cruise ships, sailing ships and warships no longer have to sail around Cape Horn, which is feared as a ship graveyard with its wild storms and untameable waves, but can cross the continent in a day. The canal is fed with fresh water from two reservoirs: Lake Gatún and Lake Alajuela. These also supply the two million Panamanians who live in the center of the country. The population and the ships compete for the water. For a long time, this was no cause for concern, as tropical Panama is one of the rainiest countries in the world and the reservoirs were always well filled. However, everything changed last year with the El Niño climate phenomenon.

Published in the magazine “Reportagen”, issue #77.

https://reportagen.com/reportage/stau-am-panamakanal

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Posted by Alex in Publications
Gallery – Panama Canal

Gallery – Panama Canal

Then plans change: We decide that we and Mabul are not yet ready for the Pacific and that we would stay one more season on the Caribbean side. Of course, we still keep our promise to be line handlers for SV My Motu during their Panama Canal transit. So we moor Mabul in the Turtle Cay Marina and go on board SV My Motu. Together we make our way to Shelter Bay Marina in Colon. This is the first (almost) necessary stop before heading into the canal. There, the final preparations are made, large fenders and long lines are delivered by the agent and we get a briefing. Then we set off shortly after four o’clock in the morning.

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Posted by Alex in Gallery, 0 comments
Gallery – Panama

Gallery – Panama

There are different places one can go cruising in Panama. We visit San Blas and Portobelo and dock Mabul in the marinas of Linton Bay and Turtle Cay. Preparations for the Pacific are in full swing. Together with the crew of SV My Motu we rent a car to make various trips to Colon. In Shelter Bay Marina I pick up our new anchor chain, deliver lithium batteries from sailors in San Blas and in return get Canadian passports for people in San Blas. We buy food and alcohol in the Zona Libre, I get our liferaft serviced and pick up packages from the US. Before the second San Blas round with Georges, we visit Portobelo, a small town with a great history, and after transiting the canal on My Motu, we explore Panama City while Mabul lies patiently waiting for us in the Turtle Cay Marina.

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Posted by Alex in Gallery, 0 comments
Gallery – San Blas II

Gallery – San Blas II

After all the jobs in Linton Bay Marina and Colon, are done, Mabul is equipped with a new 80 metre long anchor chain, six brand new AGM batteries with a capacity of 630AH and an incredible amount of food. Karin returns from Switzerland with not only some boat parts, but also her father Georges. We spend a short time in the marina and then set off under engine in total calm. If you ask the people here, you quickly realize that this is the best way to cruising back to San Blas. Once again we drop anchor off some small sand islands, snorkeling, cooking, drinking… Georges is doing amazingly well on board and brings new vigour to the galley.

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Posted by Alex in Gallery, 0 comments
Gallery – San Blas I

Gallery – San Blas I

The next leg from Providencia will take us together with SV My Motu to Panama, or to be more precise, to San Blas. We heard a lot people saying, cruising in San Blas is a must, so we want to spend a few more nice weeks at anchor here and then sail through the canal to reach the Pacific. We clear in at the small island of Porvenir and spend two weeks exploring the archipelago with its more than 350 islands. But there are still a few jobs on the list before we can cross the channel, such as a liferaft service, then we need to buy the new anchor chain and loads of food. I sail single-handed into Linton Bay Marina for the first time, while Karin deals with things in Switzerland. Linton Bay is where Karin and her father Georges will return to from Switzerland so that we can sail one more time to San Blas.

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Posted by Alex in Gallery, 0 comments