Shelter Bay to Portobelo then through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Side

Shelter Bay’s Marina was the only game on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal to get canal clearance papers, have the boat measured and take on our crew and provisions. The marina’s anchorage was extremely rough for 5 days; we all felt a bit seasick in the anchorage. We decided to take a break from Shelter Bay’s “rolly” anchorage and headed East for a few days to Portobelo

A few hours sail East to Portobelo  home to ancient Spanish forts and the final resting place of Sir Francis Drake

See the source image



So much history and exploration opportunities: ‘more forts”, kayaking and hiking

portobello fort 3

Shenemere would have been a direct hit

Much of the outermost fortress was dismantled to build the Panama Canal and many of the larger stones were used in the construction of the Panama Canal-  Locks

legend is that after Francis Drake died of dysentery in 1596, he was buried at sea in a lead coffin near Portobelo Bay

The colorful side of Portobelo

IMG_4284$3.00 bus ride to Colon

Elizabeth’s keen eye found this local bar serving micro- brews


All smiles as we explore the mangrove channels of Portobelo in search of the fresh water river

Back to Shelter Bay #Marinacomforts #pool #docks #socialhours #easy


Gotta love this…Elizabeth with the “Ship Faced” cozy for her Guinness 🙂


Potluck Dinner at Shelter Bay Marina. Julie, Martin and Ingrid flew into Panama to assist with the Panama Canal transit (4 line handlers are required for each boat): Julie and Martin on S/V Shenemere and Ingrid (flew in from Vancouver) , Helen and Michael (all the way from Ireland) on S/V Irwinish

Panama Canal

20 years ago Martin and I transited the Panama Canal on Topaz. This picture is our attempt to recreate the memory on Shenemere 

IMG_4400Real close

ship in cannel lol

Too close…image from social media of what not to do!





So many ships that simply seemed too close

Proost!! to the line handles… Fantastic Job Pierre, Martin and Julie!

Martin driving the two boats through the canal and Shenemere as seen from the next lockpacific side

We made it to the Pacific side!

Panama Canal Time lapsed video of our two-day transit

Rising 85 feet above the surface of one ocean, and then descending again to be gently floated on another one. 3 sets of locks on the first day. We stayed the night moored to a bouy in the Gatun Lake and transit the lake the next day to complete the second set of locks where we ultimately popped out on the Pacific side



Time lapsed video of the entire two-day canal transit condensed down to a few minute

the after party

Canal Transit after party around Balboa Yacht Club: Michael, Helen, Elizabeth, Pierre, Adrien, Susan, Ingrid, Julie, Dutchboy, Garth and Martin

casa de Proost

Casa de Proost celebration in Panama Cities Old Town “Casco Viejo” the historic district of Panama City settled in 1673 and has seen a recent surge in development

Julie and Martins Air B&B was a 5 star apartment nestled between the old and the newly “gentrified”casa de Proost 2

No we did not sink!

‘Casco Viejo” the historic district of Panama City

Soon after the French launched the construction of the Panama Canal in 1881, its workers started dying from malaria and yellow fever. Within eight years, over 20,000 Frenchmen had perished. This obelisk is a monument to them.

The famous San Francisco de Asís Church is impressive and the local fish market is a must see if you visit Panama. Viva Panama!

On the Pacific side

French Polynesia here we come 🙂



One Comment on “Shelter Bay to Portobelo then through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Side

  1. A most interesting adventure story, – one that I’m so envious of and probably won’t be able to do. Thank you so much for sharing. May the winds be favourable and the seas be following. Enjoy.


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