Ghost marina

<  Ghost marina

Who doesn’t love the lonely emptiness of a ghost town? From nautical periodical Sail World:

At first it just appears like an old fashioned building – long and low with wide verandahs, cool looking for the tropics. Then you start to notice other things around this marina – similar buildings on the skyline, weedy bitumen roads into the rain forest, ancient fire hydrants – and you start to realise that you have arrived in some kind of a ghost town. Asking questions, you find it’s not an ordinary, or even small ghost town, but an immense, wilting military city, a leftover from the US presence in Panama.

In our Peterson 46 Blackwattle we have arrived in the ‘new’ marina called Shelter Bay, just opened a few months ago on the far side of the Panama Canal from the city of Colon.

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In the empty air it’s easy to imagine lines of soldiers here, snapped to attention, whiffs of diesel as the jeeps roll by – basketball being played in off times, jungles runs in the morning, the clatter of the mess rooms. The rain forest has been cleared for the buildings, replaced by rolling lawns, now tall and weedy among the remaining palm trees.. Back in the marina we’ve heard tales of jungle training in the thick forest. But now, as the forest reclaims its own, the monkeys are taking over, yelping to each other, and making impossibly long leaps high above us through the undergrowth. The chorus of birdcalls sways back and forth over our heads as we walk. We’re glad for them, these returning inhabitants.

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But then we take a car, and just 10 minutes and hundreds of years away visit another ghost – the ancient fort of San Lorenzo that guarded the legendary gold of the Chagres River. The Spanish built it around 1600, but over the centuries were given a very hard time by the English, who kept attacking and destroying it. That loved vile pirate Henry Morgan did a thorough job of it – he captured it, used it to sack Panama City, then blew it totally before making off with the gold. They built it again, but then the English Admiral Vernon took it again just 80 years later. The ruined structure that we roam was built yet again in 1750.

Go read all of it. Sounds like a great setting for a story.

Posted in Nature, red in tooth and claw, Pirates ~ You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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