Shelter Bay Marina, Elizabeth Jean‘s home from April to November, is re-purposed U.S. military base, Fort Sherman. The Fort dates back to 1912. Constructed concurrently with the Panama Canal, Fort Sherman included coastal defense guns as well as barracks for troops to defend against a direct assault. The Fort included 23,100 acres of land, about half of which was covered by jungle. The U.S. operated the Jungle Operations Training Center from the Fort beginning in 1953. The Center was an important training base during the Vietnam War. As part of the process of turning the Canal over to Panama, the U.S. turned the base over to Panama in 1999. The jungle is reclaiming much of the Fort, although the Panamanian military continues to use part of the site. With Veterans Day just passed and armed conflict continually in the news, our stay in this tranquil spot is particularly poignant.
Shelter Bay is located on the tip of the point to the left across the bay from Colon. This remote location served the Fort’s military purposes well. The marina offers twice daily shuttles to Colon, the nearest area for provisioning and boat supplies.
The Albatross-eye view of Shelter Bay Marina’s location before the marina was built. View from the northwest (lower left corner).
Old batteries; no longer present.
The Albatross-eye view of Shelter Bay Marina. View from south (bottom of picture) to north. Two more docks have been added since this picture was taken.
The Panamanian military continues to operate out of these buildings.