Saturday, February 09, 2013

Panama City – Las Perlas Islands, Panama Oct 2012- Feb 2013-02-09

Panama La Vieja (Old Panama) which now lies in ruins, was founded on August 15, 1519, by Pedrarias Davila, old Panama was the first European settlement on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.  Thru it passed all the gold which originated in Peru and was destined for Portobello and Nombre de Dios where it was loaded on ships headed for Spain. In 1671, 1200 men, led by Pirate Henry Morgan sailed up the Chagres River to the city which they plundered and reduced to ruins.

El Casco Viejo: with the destruction of Old Panama, its inhabitants moved to the skirts of Cerro Ancon where, on Jan 21 1673, the new city of Panama was founded by Antonio Fernandez de Cordoba y Mendoza.  The old quarter of town is a pleasant place to stroll around and has a shopping street with no cars.

Today Panama City is booming, overtaking Miami as Latin Americas business center.  The world’s tallest residential buildings (over 100 floors) are currently under construction.  This is the doorway to the world’s largest ‘free zone’ with daily trains, planes and buses to Colon.

Panama City is like returning to the land of stuff after being in the San Blas Islands.  It is a major cosmopolitan center with the majority of Panama citizens resident in this one place.  It is a place of unlimited shopping, high-rise towers including Trump’s The Sails and one of the most interesting architectural displays evident in the building known simply as ‘The Helix’, which regardless of where it is viewed always has the same anomaly that being, the top looks like it is about to fall is a trickery of the eye accomplished by some very interested engineering.

Panama City, Bridge of Americas, Bio-Museum (under construction) & Panama City Skyline

Shortly after our arrival in Panama City, Kaija departed for a return trip to Vancouver to see family and friends.  Meanwhile, Gary along with his good friend Trip headed out to the Perlas Islands for a few days.

Kaija enjoyed much cooler weather than anticipated but a very warm reception by her family and the many friends she was able to see in her thirty day stay.  Meanwhile, Gary & Trip were behaving or dare I say, misbehaving as only two adolescent overgrown, over-aged out of shape males can.  The good news is, whatever they broke, they were able to fix, sort of, and with the exception of one day spent of complete recovery, they had a blast sailing the boat and catching fish.

After Kaija’s return and Trip departure, Gary left for Toronto and spent a couple of weeks enjoying the company of old friends and relatives and taking care of business.

After returning from Canada, we departed again for the Perlas Islands and have spent as much time as possible away from the considerably less desirable city anchorages.  It is our first time since leaving Vancouver, that we have experienced the dramatic tidal ranges being as much as 17 feet between high and low.  The fishing has been excellent while trolling, however, visibility in these murky rushing waters has made spear fishing virtually nonexistent.

We are currently preparing for our soon departure (Mid-March) for the Galapagos.  We are being joined for this passage by our good friend Trip.

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