In this episode we hop along the coast of Panama from the San Blas Islands to the Panama Canal entrance.
Puerto Lindo was a fun place to stop. Monkeys inhabit a small island in the middle of the harbor. We had been told not to approach them, supposedly they get angry when you leave! Other people didn't seem to heed this advice and we didn't see any aggression from the monkeys at all. We got pretty close with the dingy and the kids really enjoyed it.
In Shelter Bay Marina (nicked named Shelter Pay by most cruisers) we prepared for our haul out and got started on formalities for the Panama Canal, getting ready for the Pacific Ocean which would follow shortly after the canal.
We arranged the canal transit without an agent. It was pretty easy, all the canal people speak perfect English and the forms aren't tricky. The admeasurer actually filled out the form for the most part, just asking us questions as needed. Taking the taxi to the bank to pay was a non-issue and seemed perfectly safe (contrary to reports we'd read). We'll speak more about this in the Panama Canal crossing post and video.
The haul-out was one of the worst weeks of my life. When SeaBean is out of the water she's not much fun. We had a 3m ladder to climb with the kids and the humidity and heat was unbearable. Many thanks to our friends on Caramba who let the kids nap on there boat (in AC) during the day. Add to that heat rash, mild sunburn and lots of hard labor, oh, and lots of mosquitoes, and you can understand why I was so so happy to be done and back in the water. The pool at Shelter Bay Marina was also a total god send as it kept Chloe and the kids busy.