Adventure Sail to Panama


Portobelo, Panama


October 28th, 2007

The Bay of Portobelo was discovered by Christopher Columbus on November the 2nd, 1502 during his fourth exploration.  Spanish engineers chose Portobello in 1586 as the Caribbean transshipment center because of its magnificent harbor and convenient location.  

Inca and Mayan treasure brought from South America was carried across the isthmus and stored here, drawing European merchants to renowned trade fairs for nearly 150 years.

From this port, tons of gold and silver flowed to the commercial capital of the Spanish Empire, Seville.  Between 1574 and 1702, forty-five fleets of galleons were sent forth, none of which carried less than thirty million pesos of riches.  Ruins of the forts that were built to protect Portobelo are still visible today.   

This port was attacked and sacked by the famous pirate Sir Henry Morgan in 1668, and later in the 18th century it was a target of Sir Francis Drake, who was supposedly buried at sea in Portobelo Bay.

The "Real Aduana de Portobelo" or locally known as the Customs House - This rectangular building of renaissance style was constructed in 1630.  Gold and silver were stored here before being loaded onto Spanish galleons for the trip back to Spain.  Much of this wealth was Mayan and Incan treasures "confiscated" by the conquistadors.  

One of the left cannons from the fort

Leki the monkey - he looked just like "Marsel" from Friends

He was only 4 months old

San Fernando Fort Battery - Constructed in 1760 on the north side of the bay, it was built on two levels, a low one with fourteen cannons and another high one with six.

The guard tower is the rounded section on the top level

The date in the stone says ano 1758

Inside the fort, most of the rusty cannons still occupied the same space they did hundreds of years ago

Vultures abound in Portobelo and gave us a very unsettled feeling

There was a large stone ramp leading up to the second level where the guard tower was perched

Kate standing on the ramp up, it may have been used to roll cannons up to the second level

The Guard Tower

Mike & Kate in Portobelo

A house on the shore in Portobelo, we got closer to this place than we would have liked, the holding was poor and we did drag all over this anchorage

Sunrise in Portobelo, we were ready to leave! The guys were up throughout the night checking our position because of the poor holding

There were some very nice homes onshore, inside the anchorage at Portobelo

There is an overturned boat in the slip by the house, look at the middle right of the picture and you can see 2 men in the water and the bottom of the boat


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