Thursday, January 31, 2008

Portobelo – Isla Linton - N09.33.541; W079.35.023 - October 17 – October 24, 2007

26 miles east of Colon (Cristobel) (The Panama Canal) is Portobello. This small village is famous for the Church of the Black Christ and history tells us that a statue of the Black Christ was stolen from Portobello and catastrofe fell upon the thieves. A second attempt at a theft resulted in similar results. The statue was returned and miraculous healings have been attributed to this religious Icon of the Black Christ. Once a year pilgrimages are made by the faithful dressed in traditional robes of scarlet and purple and gold, walking great distances to pay homage in this sacred place. It is a time of great celebration and fiesta and a great time to visit this small community. The anchorage is less than ideal, facing the prevailing winds and waves and can be somewhat uncomfortable, however, there are a number of stone forts to see and the settings are picturesque.

Only another 12 miles east is probably one of the best and safest all weather anchorages in Panama located at the Isla Linton. Many cruisers find this safe haven and stay for considerable periods. Certainly one of the most delightful parts of the stay is to visit with the monkeys on the island who are quite tame, as long as you are feeding them, but we learned that you do not say, ‘last piece’ in reference to the food offerings. These little ‘monsters’ can become very aggressive as we witnessed with our friends Lyla and Aaron. Unfortunately, we did not have a camera running, but I dare say I do believe I could have won the $100,000 prize on Candid camera’s funniest moments…in the end no harm no foul, but for a few moments, it looked like the monkeys were winning and Lyla and Aaron we way too busy doing the double boogie back step in unison landing in the dinghy, with the monkeys close behind. The only thing that saved them, was the monkeys will not venture into the water, but they were real close to commandeering their dinghy, camera and Lyla’s shoes…you had to see it to believe it… we laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes…all’s well that ends well!...but be warned if you ever go there for a visit, they are cute and taking food from you with such gentle sweet dispositions, you would never guess that beneath that cute, cuddly exterior there lies the heart of a raging beast.

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