Sunday, 6 December 2015


So we finally found a decent weather window.....not an easy task in Colombia, either no wind, too much wind or wind going the wrong way it seems to me! We decided to leave early in the morning hoping that it would then allow us to get sixty miles or so before dark but also for us to be I front of the edge of the strong winds that were evident on Weather 4D our weather app of choice. As I let slip the lines I noticed that there were swarms of midges behind the stern sheltering from the wind! Usually the wind has been strong enough to keep the mossies and no seeums away but this morning they seemed to be out in full force and by the time we had slipped the lines and driven out of the marina with the gearbox behaving beautifully both John and I realised that we were both starting to resemble a pin cushion! The insects had had a tasty breakfast and the scratching that continued over the next two days had started! 

We had a good sail winds around twenty knots to start and then the wind moved around onto a reach..... we averaged six and a half knots covering about 165nm day one though we did slow down day two. The trip I'm glad to say was uneventful and we decided we did not want to go into Colon in the dark so we put into Portabello, dropped the hook and chilled over the weekend. It was like a millpond in there so we had plenty opportunity to catch up on some sleep. The anchorage at Portobello is disturbed by water taxis whizzing across the bay ferrying workers and assorted travellers to both sides of the Bay. It is also littered with 'dead' boats which is sad to see. We did not put our dinghy in the water but noticed that the water taxis came very close to the boats and particularly at night if your dinghy was not raised then it was possibly dicing with disaster! We lit up our cockpit to ensure the boat boys could see us as they ferried revellers back on Saturday night. Apart from the drumbeat that went on into the early hours and the unmistakeable sound of outboard engines the anchorage was still and we both slept soundly. 

We figured it would take us about five hours to get to Shelter Bay. Leaving early Monday morning on another good reach we got to the outskirts of Colon and the numerous parked large cargo vessels in good time. Going through busy anchorages like this is when AIS is really useful, it makes it so much easier to identify those parked and those still moving very can also earwig in on some interesting conversations on the interesting one we listened to between two large cargo ships ' Vessel A I have you on my AIS what are your intentions? ' ' Vessel B I am at anchor, repeat I am at anchor' ' Vessel A we have a cpa (closest point of approach).         of .5nm what are your intentions?' Somewhat exasperated the reply came back 'we are at anchor!' The reply was an increasingly concerned and edgy ' yes you are at anchor but we are not under command ( in other words drifting! ) stunned silence on the end of the radio and then came the reply 'Standby' .......we heard no more from these two ships and looked at the AIS monitor to see if we could work out who it might be ...but no luck they were probably out of our range but hoping the outcome was not too stressful! 
As you can see from the picture it is a little busy in Colon! 

However we are safely tucked up here in Shelter Bay and planning what next?!


  1. When are you planning to transit the canal? Have you explored the San Blas Islands?

    1. Richard I did write a reply but obviously you didn't get it ....We are spending Christmas in the San Blas and the exploring Panama a little more before heading inland. Shelter Bay seems a safe place to leave the boat . We hope to do some travelling in Peru and then wander up the coast Guatamala, Bay of Islamds and Belize there is till such a lot to see so probably it will be next year now!

    2. Richard , just found the reply in the comments on the previous post! Oops