Shelter Bay Marina, Fort Sherman, Panama

We took Sunday, the day after our Canal crossing, off, just lounging around the boat all day. It was nice to be at the Shelter Bay Marina. The boat was not rolling around, like it had for nearly a month at the Balboa Yacht Club, so it was pleasant to just lay around and be still, napping and reading for most of the morning and afternoon. In the late afternoon, we did a quick exploration of the marina, ending up at the restaurant for dinner. The menu was quite limited, but as we were trying to conserve our provisions, we had decided to eat there as often as possible during our stay here. The menu listed three or four different dishes with fish or shrimp in them. But we were disappointed when we were told that, sorry, they were out of the salmon, out of the mahi-mahi, and out of the shrimp. So I ended up having a hamburger.

The next morning, Monday, we took stock of the boat. After our canal crossing, and nearly a year of cruising, RHAPSODY was in need of some TLC. The bottom was pretty foul after the time at BYC, the cockpit was dirty, not having been given a good scrubbing since April, and the sides of the boat were marred with black marks and scratches from the rubbing of the tires and bumpers during our Canal crossing. I took the tires off and stacked them up on the dock, where they were quickly retrieved by another boat who was making their Canal crossing the next day.

It was an odd feeling to be at a marina, after such a long time at anchor and on moorings. Not only was the boat not moving around, but here on the Caribbean side, the tidal range has gone down dramatically. Where we were getting 16' tides on the Pacific side, the tides here are more in the 1-3' range. So it was very still - no currents, no waves, and RHAPSODY was tied up to a dock.

It had been almost 6 months since we had last stayed at a marina, with running water and shore power, so one of the first things I did was hook up the shore power. Since April, way back in Nicaragua, all of our electricity has been produced onboard, mostly by our faithful Fischer Panda Generator. It felt like a real luxury to plug into the grid and charge the batteries without the noise, heat, and smell of the generator running. The days were hot, in the upper 80's and low 90's, though surprisingly dry (the humidity only 60%-70%), so it was wonderful to be able to turn on the air conditioning and not worry about the generator overheating or the fuel it would consume!

We had a good internet connection, so one of the first things we did was to check our email. A number of people had seen our Canal crossing on the web, with some having sent us pictures and movies of it, so it was fun to see ourselves from that perspective. We sent out a bunch of "thank you" emails to all the people that had done the screen-captures for us, and especially to our linehandler crew for the crossing.