A Panama harbor ...a place to anchor...by Bill Nokes

Las Brisas Anchorage, Panama, Republic of Panama

Imagine a place for cruisers, a place of relative quiet, but with some interesting local activities, some of which you can hear from your boat on weekends.

A place morning coffee is shared with the sounds of muliferous birds, and the sight of large sloths eating breakfast of tree leaves. Joggers and bicyclists pass on the causeway visible from your anchored vessel.

A place a 2 dollar cab ride from a big active city.

A place an easy day sail from within 10 miles of Isla Taboga, an island, half wild life sanctuary and half a very Mediterranean like small city overlooking an all weather anchorage, a town with no driving streets.

A place 25 miles from a gorgeous small bay which will only accommodate one boat, or two if they cooperate on where to drop a hook, which place is on uninhabited Bono Island with crystal clear water and fascinating snorkeling.

A place 30 miles from a small popular resort island with ferry and day flight access.

A place 35 and 60 miles of islands with some small towns and some completely uninhabited with protected anchorage.

A place 65 miles from a beautiful bay split by a peninsula, on one side of which is a very expensive world class fishing resort holding more record size fish caught than any other place in the world and on the other a small Indian village of happy and friendly people, with beautiful crafts to sell you at bargain prices, The town, Bahia Pinas, having not a single motor vehicle, and no land routes out of town.

A place with an estuary and river, not one but three, navigable in 6 foot draft vessels, one of which is into the famous and totally wild Darien. The Darien Gap being the only area of the Americas without a road.

A place an overnight sail from dozens of small islands and bays, all well charted but mostly unoccupied, Surf, scuba, snorkle, or sit and dream at world class undeveloped locations.

A city place with a free anchorage, a free dinghy dock from which you can get free drinking water, A small, but not free store carrying essential items. Several resturants, and a couple of small fun bars. All within an easy walk from the dinghy dock. Anchored off the Smithsonian Institute Tropic Studies Facility, Panama, with its displays and information.

A place which in the morning, you watch the sunrise over an island. And watch the sky scrapers of Panama City catch the sun in their windows. At sunset, it hides behind yet another island. In between... part of the day starts cloudless, they accumulate until mid afternoon when it might rain. A breeze has picked up cooling the intensity of the sun, both before and after the cooling rain shower.

A place you can pickup cell phone and wifi from your boat at anchor, or take a cab to Price Smart, a subsidiary of Costco. If you don’t mind the prices, you can get American products at several stores, Or, if you like the local culture as I do, you can eat excellent food for a pittance at a resturant frequented by Che Guevera, before he became Cuba’s executioner.

A place where there is the “walking street“, lined with carts and shops selling a wide variety of things at prices well below the US. A huge supermarket putting Walmart to shame; its only drawback being its popularity so that lines are long. To the northwest of the walking street is China Town with an incredible variety of herbs, spices vegetables and housewares. The city has at least 4 public merecados, markets where you can purchase anything direct from the producer, raiser or catcher.

A place with excellent medical and dental care are available at about 30 percent of US prices from well qualified professionals. Pharmacies sell US products at about ¼ the US price, and many times for the exact same product. Quality craft and mechanical work is available, but you must carefully distinguish between the many wanna be's, and the few real professionals. Air fare from here to the rest of the world is convenient, and priced about the same as US.

If you knew of such a place, would you go there? Well, it exists, it’s the Las Brisas Anchorage on the Amador Causeway, which parallels the entrance to the Panama Canal. Hard to believe......easy to get your anchor stuck here.

Bill Nokes.....Chetco Cove, Oregon



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