Jan. 24 Passage to Colon
Today was a lazy day; we were planning to leave for Colon and the next leg of our trip just before dinner so as to time our arrival during the morning. The San Blas islands have been nice but we are ready for some civilization and are looking forward to a few days of marina life, complete with real showers, restaurants and bars.
The sail up the coast was an exciting broad reach; no more of the side to side rolling we experienced on the way over from St. Lucia, it has been replaced by a forward to back bouncing motion as we sail through the large swell. As we got nearer to the Panama Canal the number and size of the ships we saw increased dramatically, itís fun to try to identify the type and direction of the ships before checking them out on the AIS. A short rain shower passed through, luckily for me just after I finished my watch, but other than that it was a night spent between steering, looking for ships and admiring the stars free from any light pollution. We were making better time than expected so during the night Dan dropped the main sail to slow us down; we arrived just as the sun was coming up and gingerly made our way through the many large ships motoring around or anchored off the entrance to the canal awaiting their turn to make the transit.

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Jan steers through the maze of ships awaiting thier transit through the canal

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The sun rises over Colon and a ship at anchor

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Dan takes the wheel as we approach Shelter Bay Marina

Jan. 25 Shelter Bay Marina
After living aboard for two weeks we were all looking forward to a large breakfast at a restaurant; once Skyelark was tied to the dock we set out in search of a grand meal. Much to our dismay the restaurant didnít open until 8:00, so good use was made so the spare time by heading for the showers, which are quite luxurious for a marina.
Breakfast was a bit of a disappointment; it was buffet style but there werenít many choices and the eggs were probably instant, the fruit was great and the coffee strong. After breakfast we did some boat chores, getting her cleaned up and washed off from the long miles we had put on her over the last two weeks. The marina isnít very big, just one bar/restaurant, a pool and some shops; it does make it easy to run into the other crews though. We all met for lunch, then everyone went off to do laundry, rest or use the wifi.
The restaurant was very crowded, maybe due to the theme dinner, aphrodisiac foods; they also had a live band that played some good romantic tunes to complete the atmosphere. Service was slow for the food but the beers and drinks came at a good enough pace that it didnít matter. Jan and I were the last ones up again having a few in the cockpit and listening to some smooth jazz on his I-phone.

Drink all day at home, your friends worry about you; do it on vacation and they say "what a good time you're having". Save your friends needless worry, travel more!