Monday, April 28, 2008

A walk on Isla Grande

Isla Grande is a popular vacation spot for Panamanians but is really quiet during the week. It was a fifteen minute dinghy ride from our anchorage at Isla Linton and we spent a half day there exploring.

There are no cars so a well beaten path leads along the waterfront in both directions from the main dock. Surfing is popular at the east end of the island.

There a charming quirky hotel named "Sister Moon" sits on the edge of the cliffs. They have built a one person non demonination chapel or meditation chamber overlooking the bay. You might be able to read the sign if you double click on the picture.

We also took a steep path up to the lighthouse on the northeast end and got a lovely view. On the way we saw superhighways of leaf eater ants. This is truely remarkable. A wide swept path leads from the current tree (their garden) to their nest and the ants march in huge numbers to and fro, carrying their large burdens. Double click on this picture to see them up close.

This area of Panama is in the Colon Province. It has been long neglected by the government. Balboa was on the ship in 1501 that cruised this coast for the first time and he later was the first European to lay eyes of the Pacific. Columbus landed here in 1502.

Sir Frncis Drake died near here in Portobello, once one of the most important ports in the Spanish empire but now a sleepy very poor town. There is a very Jamacain feel to the community with a lot of Rastafarian culture and reggae sounds always in the air.
We set sail for our last passage for awhile early on Thursday morning. It was only 28 miles and another beautiful day. The coast is very scenic and we took a brief look into Portobello. We'll stay there on the way back to the San Blas in the fall. Approaching the breakwater in Colon was very exciting. Over 50 huge tankers were anchored off shore, presumingly waiting for their canal transit.
It was the middle of the day and happily no one was moving so we had an easy entrance through the large cut in the breakwater and motored down to the Shelter Bay Marina. Our slip was easy to access and several folks helped with our lines so we were all settled in by lunchtime. We'll be hauled on Monday, hopefully.

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