We’re off to Jamaiica

since I last wrote we’ve left the Pacific behind, transited the Panama Canal, and entered the Caribbean Sea. The Canal was pretty amazing – I took about a million pictures, so I’ll have to post properly about it when I get a real internet connection.
We spent 1 night on the Paific side of the canal in Flamenco Marina – that gave most of us a few hours to visit the Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old town.It was very beautiful and very dilapitated – providing stark contrast with the modern skyscraping city acrss the bay.
On the Atlantic side, we berhted at SHelter Bay Marina, which is bang in the middle of a deserted US base, Fort SHerman. Most of us stayed in a ‘resort’ hotel about 3O minutes away, on the outskirts of COlon and surrounded by another derelict US base. It was strangely deserted when we arrived – like a ghost hotel. But it didn’t take long for CLipper crews to fill it up and bring some life to it.
THe highlight of my stay in Panama was seeing a real live sloth crawling across the road – slowly, of course, giving us plenty of time to take his picture. We also saw and heard a family of howler monkeys – this was as we drove through a national park, untouched jungle, to visit a ruined Spanish fort above the Chagres river. All very ‘Mosquito Coast’.
Late yesterday evening we left the marina. and motored through the night ready for a 7am Le Mans start. We had drawn the second most upwind spot on the iine – and all went well so it was a pretty good start for us. Now at nightfall we can only see OneDLL, but we know most of the boats are within a few miles – except for GB and QIngdao we can see them all on AIS. It’s been a great tradewind day, blue sky, blue sea, flying fish. We have to get used to life at an angle and upwind sailing again – ex[ecially the crew who joined in San Francisco and enjoyed almost a month of downwind all the way.

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