Panama, Portobelo – Forts and farewells

We were a little concerned about coming to Portobelo.

Some people said the place was horrible, mostly because of the thieving cruisers who anchored their sinking ships there. Others said the place was rather nice. Old forts, museums, a few  restaurants and easy access on the bus to a big grocery store.

We decided to give the place a look see. Steve had gotten very San Blasé about all the lovely desert islands so we thought a little history culture and civilization was in order.

a-near fort view of anchorage

To get to Portobelo is a simple day sail about 50nm down the coast. Unfortunately it was a rolly beam sea to start and everyone aboard, including me, was a little ‘green around the gills’ except of course our company Steve. And this was his first ‘biggish’ sea voyage. At least we were rewarded with some fishing luck finally.

a-fishing success

We anchored up in the harbour just off an old Spanish fort and were rewarded with the symphony of bird song and the roar of howler monkeys.

After a good night sleep we were off to explore the area. First stop was getting me ashore for a walk. The boys were entertained by the hill side Spanish fort here and the great views out over the harbour.

a-anchorage from new fort

Next stop for the humans was town.  a-arial view of town

A little small and a little run down it still had its high lights. The church of the Black Christ, the town fortifications, the museum. A couple of mini-marts, bakeries, bars and restaurants. What more do humans need?

a-fort and anchorage

After their hot and sweaty day looking about they headed back to the boat for our last meal aboard all together. The boys are off to Panama City tomorrow. Steve’s holiday has come and gone much too fast.




And what a fantastic trip it has been – from learning a whole bunch of new stuff to experiencing a part of the world I had never heard of, much less thought about visiting, prior to Cain and April sailing here. Thanks to them for all that they have shown me and for being gracious enough to host me for so long and affording me the chance to catch up properly with them after so long apart.

It would be impossible not to fall in love with the San Blas islands; genuinely they are picture postcard perfect. You sense that time may not, however, be either on their side or kind to them – development and modernization looms large. They are not easy to get too but they reward you for the effort many times over.

This journey now nears its end but, as is so often the case, as this one draws to its close another looms for me. Spirit of Argo’s will take them elsewhere and not, for the immediate future, on the same path – sail well, sail fair and sail safe.