Last Island

Trip Start May 20, 2010
1
161
181
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Panama  , Colón,
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Keeping moving towards Colon and the Panama Canal we made one last island stop at Isla Grande.  It is separated from the mainland by about half a mile and well sheltered from the Caribbean Sea now that we have left the Kuna Yala Islands.

This place is popular with Panamanian holiday makers and boasts a resort, of sorts.  Once again we found ourselves anchoring near a small yacht flying a kiwi flag..................my god they are everywhere!  "Double Brauyn",  really a play on the word Double Brown which of course we were the only ones to get the meaning.

We  had yet to check into Panama so were somewhat wary of official looking boats, so image our reaction when first thing next morning there is a helicopter overhead, three gun boats roar into the anchorage and a Coast Guard vessel is standing off!  Surely not because of our lack of paper work.  No it was an early morning drug bust.

We quietly upped anchored and moved on, as you would.  We sailed on down the coast to Portobello and dutifully checked in the next day.  Rumours had been flying around on the radio net as to the cost of checking in.  Rules have just been changed and we'd been told to expect a charge of $193. for a cruising permit (lasts a year) and the new visa charge of $110.00 per person.
However the Port Captain in Portobello is very cruiser friendly, he stamped us in for $20.00 and instructed us to present ourselves at immigration in Colon at our earliest convenience.

Portobello was an interesting place.  Discovered by Christopher Colombus and safe harbour for ships ever since.  Here gold was traded out of the Americas and for over a hundred years saw a third of the worlds gold pass through the gold exchange building.  Surrounded by 400 year old forts now guarded by vultures it was fascinating wandering around.
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