Friday, 6 September 2013
Some things never change - here in Panama we have lightning every night. Sometimes there is thunder and rain too, but often there is just lightning on the horizon, somewhere far in the distance. Here in Portobello, that is the same, although so much else has changed from our experience in the Kuna Yala.
We have left the San Blas. We had a glorious "last supper" with lobster that the Captain had bought for $6 cooked in butter, garlic and cream on pasta, served with red wine and a bar of dark chocolate for dessert. Then it stormed the next day, so we didn't leave after all. But the NEXT day was lovely and we motored our way through the reef and around the point.
We had two nice days of travel, with a balanced combination of motoring, motor-sailing (motoring with the mainsail pushing us along a bit) and proper sailing. We spent the night in Turtle Cay Marina on the dock, where we were able to refuel and re-water. (Re-water? - not sure of the proper term for filling the water tank.)
Now we have been in Portobello for two days and it is a bit of a funny spot. The bay itself is quite lovely, with green hills all around. We've heard monkeys hooting and birds calling and just a few minutes ago there were about 15 swallows of some kind all sitting along our jib sheet. It is fun to be back in a different kind of ecosystem then sandy palm tree islands.
The town of Portobello is a run-down Caribbean town, with lots of concrete construction, but brightly painted. It is an in-between-spot for cruisers: they are either getting ready to head out to the San Blas or down to Colon to go through the canal. There may be as many as 50 boats here in the harbour with us, but as many as a third of them seem to be abandoned. It's hard to know what you do with a boat when you are tired of it and can't sell it. Portobello Harbour seems to have been many people's answer.
For me, it has the amenities I have been missing. Yesterday we took a bus into Colon and bought some much needed items, such as a new inverter for the boat (although the one we had convieniently gave up the ghost the day before we arrived), a mobile internet stick so that we can get internet off the cellphone network, and a whole pile of groceries. We also had yummy hamburgers up at "Captain Jack's", a cute bar that caters to the sailing crowd, and a number of cheap beers at a not-so-cute-but-functional shack on the waterfront where the salty dog sailors hang out and can give you the local gossip.
I am glad for a little change, even though I never thought I could get tired of crystal seas and white sand islands. Oh well, there is always the lighting.