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Archive for the ‘Boating’ Category

Panama has 22% of the World´s Ships Flying its Flag
Machine translated from the original article in La Prensa:

Wilfredo Jordán S.
wjordan@prensa.com
http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2009/08/18/hoy/Negocios/1891335.asp

In 2004 there were 6061 ships registered by the Panama. Now, in agreement with the official registries, there are 8661 ships.

Between 2004 and what goes of 2009, Panama registered 2600 ships and about 40 million tons of gross registry, that means a growth of 41% in this period. At the closing of 2004, 6061 ships registered by Panama with 168 million tons of gross registry existed. At the moment the country has 8661 ships with 202,979,000 tons. These numbers represent 22% of the world-wide marine fleet, in comparison with the main competitors of Panama: Liberia, that has a registry of 2639 ships and Marshall Island, with a count with 1612. “We have like the Government, the commitment that the income from this institution gets to the people who need it”, the administrator of the AMP, Linares Robert commented. The approximated net income of the AMP by the registry of ships calculate in 80 million dollars a year. In 2004 this income was 52 million dollars and in 2008 it went up to around the 78 million dollars. In indirect income, it is calculated that the registry of ships generates more than 100 million dollars a year. If the smaller ships of 100 tons are included, Panama has more than thousand registries.

Ships Registered under the Panamanian Flag

Ships Registered under the Panamanian Flag

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Snorkeling on Taboga Island

Two weeks ago we booked a “round-the-island” snorkeling trip to scout locations for our guests.

Parrotfish

Parrotfish

I am a retired PADI instructor and have taught and guided excursions in Australia, Canada, the Caribbean Islands, and wrote a dive guide book for the Tourism Bureau of Curacao N.A. — I am critical of dive and snorkel sites for my guests, and don´t impress easily. Here is what we found.

Pacific snorkeling is quite a different than the Caribbean. Expect more current, less coral, and lower visibility. Don´t attempt offshore snorkeling unless you are a strong swimmer with your own fins, a buddy, and a guide.

Snorkeling by Panga, Playa Hobo Taboga Panama

Snorkeling by Panga, Playa Hobo Taboga Panama

We set off 8 am on a sunny day with a local guide in his panga, accompanied by a friend and guest from Australia. Conditions were almost perfect, visibility good at 15-20 feet with plenty of tropical fish around to entertain us including a very large parrot fish. We spotted a number of large brain coral and plate coral. Find an excellent coral guide at this link: http://coralpedia.bio.warwick.ac.uk/.

Snorkeling Buddies Taboga, Panama

Snorkeling Buddies Taboga, Panama

Because of the strong current present the panga drifted with us as we snorkeled; “drift snorkeling” we dubbed it. We then headed off in the panga to the wild back of Taboga past the Brown Pelican Preserve and afterward to snorkel a shallow hull from a wreck by Isla Uraba. On the way back to Taboga our guide slowed and followed a large green sea turtle. We were thrilled, and strained to see the big guy who surfaced to check us out. A brown pelican was following so the turtle didn´t stay up long, giving us just enough time to snap a couple of photos. Almost back to the beach I asked to see the coral gardens nearby. There was a large area of coral, some clean but other parts unfortunately covered with algae or bleached due to the changing conditions in the area.

Sea Turtle Underwater, Taboga Panama

Sea Turtle Underwater, Taboga Panama

Back at the beach settling up, the trip took a total of 2 hours and we all agreed worth the effort of getting up early on a Sunday morning. $50 plus tip for 4 people without snorkel gear.

While Taboga is not the best area I have experienced, it was entertaining, at times challenging, and we enjoyed snorkeling amongst the island´s thriving ocean life.

To enjoy snorkeling by boat around Taboga island, Panama, contact B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical. We organize trips for our guests with local guides.
Email: info@cerritotropicalpanama.com
Tel: 507-6489-0074

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Playa Honda

Playa Honda

Thank you to Matt Landau for allowing me to repost this story he wrote about his weekend getaway on Taboga Island at B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical, and for the glowing review.

Weekend Getaways Reinvented in Panama, by Matt Landau of The Panama Report
View the original story here on The Panama Report

As a child, weekend getaways were epitomized by long car rides which left us so tired and cramped that, by the time we arrived at our vacation destination, none of us wanted to speak to one another. Our trips were long because, in suburban America, nothing is close. Close was the diagonal drive across the empty parking lot from Linens ‘n Things to Best Buy. The trip to the beach took four hours.

We’d usually break up our trips up by stopping at convenient stores where cheap sunglasses, beef jerky, and the burley men who bought both of them at once acted as exotic distractions if only for a few minutes, before we realized that we still had three hours to go. Our trips would take us on big highways where the only scenery was a blurry mass of metallic exit signs and generic forested wasteland.

Forbidden from owning a Gameboy, my brother and I resorted to various intellectual games as methods of self-diversion. We enjoyed word puzzles, brainteasers, and the popular road trip game I Spy, our contents of which were a tribute to America’s trashy consumer suburbia. “Something red…” I’d ponder. “Is it the Red Lobster sign? How about the McDonalds drive through overhead?”

Somewhere on one of these trips, I learned there were roughly nine million people that live in the sixteen main precincts of New Jersey, which meant that, if my family and I planned it carefully, we could visit all of them before we turned twelve hundred years old. Weekend trips required so much planning that, before we knew it, Monday would arrive and we’d be left another week to yearn.

B&B Inn cerrito tropical

B&B Inn cerrito tropical

In Panama, the concept of weekend getaways is reborn.

The amount of interesting destinations within a several-hour drive of almost anywhere in the country is enough to keep any tourist or local entertained for some time. One of my favorites is the literal hop over to Isla Taboga. Ridden with stories of pirates and conquistadors, the island of Taboga was founded back in the 1500s and is as rich in history as it is in sublime relaxation. It’s a low-key vacation option, located about 12 miles off the coast, which reinvents, for a kid from penny loafer New Jersey, the concept of a weekend escape.

The city has a way of depleting you. Traffic, pollution, noise, phones: it’s a hodgepodge of activity common to any large city that, over time, slowly sucks the energy and innovation from your bones leaving you robotic and dull as if just going through the motions. It was the kind of sunny weekday morning that inspired me, upon waking up around seven, to drive to the Amador Causeway and catch the Calypso ferry to Isla Taboga ($11 round trip) to get some of my mojo back by the beach.

I arrived on Taboga and was greeted by the caretaker- chef of a local hotel where I’d made a last minute reservation. The man, a longtime local named Aristedes, offered to take my backpack which I told him (citing the relationship between wit and leisure) was better left on my back considering it was filled with a team of baby turtles.

He walked me (and my turtles) through the town of Taboga, a narrow labyrinth of cobble-walkways and dangling bougainvilleas, then up an inclined path to B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical, my new favorite Taboga hideaway. The hotel itself is situated on a hillside higher than most establishments on Taboga and, while within walking distance of town, is blessed with its own serene Caribbean-like mountainside quietude. Cerrito Tropical is a beautiful retreat with a Creole ambiance offering both bed and breakfast rooms and vacation apartments: not the sort of thing that’d be out of place in Martinique or any other Caribbean isle. The place oozes relaxation.

My days on Taboga consisted of rigorous activities such as eating fried fish, downing cold pineapple juice, and relaxing on what amounted to my own private beach which was once a pirate´s hang out . I wandered up to a clifftop lookout that afforded a spectacular view of the same Panama City skyline I left not long before. I even went for a snorkel on the opposite side of the island, which is protected and offers a much improved water quality.

Aristedes, who I took to calling “A” (which in Spanish sounds more like “Ah”), is also the private Cerrito chef who prepared everything from ceviche to grapefruit salad from scratch. When I wasn’t eating his food or hanging out on the beach, I took full advantage of B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical’s wireless internet connection (having brought my laptop) and picturesque upstairs balcony which I converted into a temporary office complete with breezy palm fronds and lazy hammocks. Although work wasn’t something I had planned on accomplishing during my stay, to say that the atmosphere was conducive to intellectual stimulation would be an understatement.

The weekend jaunt to Isla Taboga was a far cry from the over-planned vacations I used to take as a child. There was comparatively very little organization and the trip in its entirety cost less than $150.

B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical Bed & Breakfast Inn plus Vacation Apartments
Tel: 507-390-8999: Cell: 507-6489-0074
http://www.cerritotropicalpanama.com

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Calypso King Ferry to the Taboga Island Beach for Vacationers in Panama

Calypso King Ferry to the Taboga Island Beach for Vacationers in Panama

Day trippers heading to the beach, or vacationers heading to Taboga Island on the Pacific side of Panama for a few days to de stress, hike, lay on the island beach, go fishing, take a boat tour, eat fresh fish, sleep in the hammock… Now can enjoy the convenience of the Calypso King ferry, a reconditioned larger ferry now sailing from Panama to Taboga Island. The trip was 1 hour in the Queen, but in the King we were back in the city in 30 minutes yesterday. The lower deck is air conditioned, while on the upper deck travelers can watch the ships waiting to pass into or out of the Panama Canal while they travel to Taboga.

The ferry leaves from Amador Causeway. Check the FERRY schedule on our Bed and Breakfast website B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical: http://www.cerritotropicalpanama.com Telephone for Calypso Ferries: 314-1730, 390-2403

We do not yet have the permanent schedule for the King which holds over 200 passengers. It will probably run on weekends and National Holidays-they will not likely send it when there are not enough people to fill it.

On a personal note: I still love the other open air ferries, they are slower and lull me into a relaxed state of mind coming from the crazy city to the much slower paced Taboga Island.

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Moored off Taboga Island Panama today with views from B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical´s balconies is the Amazing Earthrace. This impressive powerboat with its space age wave piercing hull design looked like it had dropped in from outer space.

The crew of Earthrace is relaxing on Taboga Island after transiting the Panama Canal before setting off for the Galapagos Islands.

From the Earthrace website: “The goal of Earthrace was to set a new world record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe, running 100% renewable biodiesel fuel, and with a net zero carbon footprint. The amazing Earthrace boat started the attempt on 27 April 2008 from Sagunto in Spain.

After breaking the world record in just 60 days 23 hours and 49 minutes Earthrace returned to Sagunto, Spain on the 27 June 2008, 12.24.00 GMT/14.24.00 CET knocking almost 14 days off the previous record. The journey was almost 24,000 nautical miles fueled by biodiesel to demonstrate the efficiency of, and draw global attention to, the potential for alternative fuel sources.

“This fantastic team of people and our astonishing boat have broken the record by a massive margin” said Pete Bethune, New Zealand skipper and owner of Earthrace, “I finally feel that all the sacrifices made, especially by my wife and daughters, have been worth it. I don’t even know how to begin to thank all the individuals and companies that have supported us along the way, some of them since the very beginning over five years ago. Without them, none of this would have been possible”.”

Learn more about Biofuels from this link on the Earthrace website.

The official fuel sponsor is SGC Energia (SGCE) which is based in Portugal, supplying the 100% biodiesel made from waste cooking oils, and soya bean and canola from sustainable sources. They are supplying fuel for the record attempt, as well as the promotional tour that will follow this years record attempt.


Check the Earthrace website out, a truly impressive undertaking and an amazing powerboat.

What interesting times we live in, there is never a dull moment, especially in Panama!

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