We could not have been blessed with a more beautiful and natural setting to stay as our boat took on
repairs. This place is like no other. The marina is positioned at the former Fort Sherman, a 23,100-acre
facility on Panama's Atlantic side, on the west bank of the Canal across from Cristobal/Colon. Over half
of Fort Sherman's land area is covered by tropical forest. Much of this forest was used by the Jungle
Operations Training Center (JOTC), a facility run by U.S. Army South (USARSO) that trained U.S. and
Latin American personnel in jungle warfare and survival techniques. Fort Sherman was handed over to
Panama in late 1999. The last rotation through the JOTC took place in March 1999, and there were no
plans to replace the facility. So here enters Shelter Bay operations.
Shelter Bay has taken over several of the buildings and has erected manufactured floating docks with
plans to add more by the end of the year. Their future plans include a pool, gym, chandlery, 100 ton
Travelift, hydraulic trailer, welding shop, engine shop, electrical shop, cabinet maker, rigger and more
with a five acre storage yard, which will include self help area, power and water. Also coming soon is a
new dock with 46,50 and 60 foot slips. They can accommodate vessels up to a 20ft draft.
This facility is extremely clean and protected. There is a bar/restaurant, great laundry facilities and
private well appointed shower facilities. Their remote location is far from the inner city of
Colon.Additionally the setting is breathtaking. Right out your door you can hike the 14,000 acre
National Park where you will see the jungle covered remains of the USARSO Battery's, bunkers and
The wildlife is abundant as you walk through the Jungle along brush covered paths with Howler Monkeys
all around you and Northern Tamandua, Iguanas, Crested Oropendolas, Tapir and much more. At one
point we came upon a few dozen Monkeys running down from a tree directly in front of us. And the
Tamandua we saw was very slow moving. They are one of two tree dweller anteaters in Central America.
The Crested Oropendolas are black birds with bright electric-yellow tails. The Males range in length
from thirteen to seventeen inches long. Female Oropendolas weave wild looking spherical nests out of
grass and palm fibers. Click on the picture above to see their jungle presense. These nests measure
from three to six feet in length. During mating season, the males song is a wobble like chatter that is
very unusual and pretty to listen to.
The Howler Monkeys are unbelievably loud and during our first walk we actually thought the loud
"freight train" sound was the high winds blowing through the numerous abandoned metal structures
along the base. The males Howl to protect their troop. These monkeys are tree dwellers and diurnal.
January 17, 2007
Log Entry End Date -
February --, 2007
Location(s) Covered -
Colon, Panama City
Latitude: 009.22 N
Longitude: 079.57 0W
Weather: Sunny - 88
since last entry:
791 nautical miles
P A N A M A
It was January 19, '07 on a beat as we made our way down from Belize along the Honduras Pass when our engine QUIT.
It was blowing 20-25 knots as we altered our course and kept ourselves safely away from the smaller islands and the shoal
areas and further out to sea. The following 36 hours were difficult as we took in all sails and bobbed in the middle of the
ocean with choppy seas while attempting to start the engine. We learned later we had a fuel problem, bacteria that infected
the filters, the injectors and the fuel pump. Our engine was starved of fuel and we weren't going to get it fixed at sea. We
now had to worry about our generator as it was our last source of power and used the same fuel. We later learned that the
culprit was a Biocide product we put into our fuel tanks.
6 days later we sailed into the Christabel
Harbor, Panama ship holding area where we
slithered our way around numerous container
ships and freighters that were both anchored
Harbour authorities instructed us to follow a
particular ship into the inner harbour. With
their pilot boat to maneuver around, we turned
to Starboard just inside the breakwater and
followed it down to the far Western end where
we were taken in by the good folks at Shelter
Bay Marina. We sailed all the way to the dock
with no incident.
The area can be seen on the far upper left: CHART
|Our Chart Plotter view as we are heading into Christabel Harbor, Panama - Under Sail !
We are the green boat Icon at the bottom of the screen and just a speck in size to all
those monstrous sized vessels (in black) around us. We had no means of quick
propulsion or stopping and were considered a vessel in distress by the local authorities.
|We sailed onto the hammerhead, where the
Big white power boat is shown above right.
Ft Santiago, Portobello Panama
The city is very
Ft Lorenzo, Panama
Shelter Bay Marina
Marina go through the Jungle for
a walk to St Lorenzo
|Bob - working away on the
Portuguese Wash Tub
fuel from the towels.
Pig Roast >
Shelter Bay Marina
This was some of the
best pork we have
|Bob & Panamanian Fisherman
showing us his Ballyhoo Fish.
Note his handmade dug-out
The Marina Bus goes into the City of Colon
twice a day on weekdays and stays with you for
protection and you visit the market as a group.
Click on Image
We have had some great fishing coming down the Yucatan channel and the
Honduras pass. At one point while Bob was on the phone I caught a Tunny but
thru it back, followed by a Horse Eye jack of which I kept it in water until we could
figure out what it was - tossed it back. And before I could even get fully set it took
off running - another bite! It was a Huge Black Fin Tuna. I brought it in and put it
in salt water and saved it until Bob could come up and fillet it.
Here is a picture of a Dolphin Fish (Mahi Mahi) that Bob caught >>
January 24 2007 - March 28, 2007