It’s a Jungle Out There!

Shelter Bay Marina, where Beatitude is docked for lightning-strike repairs, is out in the middle of nowhere. This is bad when one needs something from town. But, it’s good if one wants to be close to nature. And… close to nature we are!

Dock neighbors.

Shelter Bay Marina is built on the site of a former American Military Base, Fort Sherman, which was constructed in the early 1900s to defend the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. It’s counterpart on the Pacific side is Fort Amador. Both bases were turned over to Panama in 1999. Over one-half of Fort Sherman was jungle, and therefore, the fort was the center for US Jungle Warfare training for some time. The jungle, which surrounds Shelter Bay Marina, is now called San Lorenzo National Forest.

The Jungle has invaded Fort Sherman

Fort Sherman buildings

Cindy, at Battery Baird

Interior of the old Fort Sherman church

Fort Sherman Church exterior

Standing atop the Battery Baird building. Battery Baird housed four 12-inch coast defense mortars

The Fort Sherman Theatre (you can see the box office window), which is now the Sail Loft on which Cindy painted our Beatitude memorial. Apparently, it used to be quite the place.

Several more abandoned Fort Sherman buildings.

So, here at Shelter Bay, we are enclosed by Panamanian Jungle! Almost every day, from our salon aboard Beatitude, we can hear the cacophony of howler-monkey screams. On each of the last two days, Cindy and I have taken two-mile hikes up into the jungle along the old military roads. I’m glad I don’t have to clear our way through the jungle with a machete to experience it. It has been amazing! We hear the howler monkeys in the distance along with other jungle noises from unknown sources. The howl of the howler monkeys is almost other-worldly. Cindy says it sounds like we are walking in Jurassic Park. I felt like I was on the set of Lost.

The Jungle

Walking on the military roads in San Lorenzo National Forest

Beautiful Panamanian Jungle Moth

On our walks, we’ve seen several toucans each day, usually flying away after we’ve alarmed them, but occasionally sitting in the tree tops. Today, we had a group of about 15-20 anteaters amble across the path in front of us! Yesterday, we ran into a cute howler monkey which obliged us by sitting in the limbs of a nearby tree for a little while. And, today, we saw twenty or so capuchin monkeys leaping from branch to branch, stopping nervously to make sure we were not aggressive creatures. Occasionally, one would become alarmed and let out a warning call to his neighbors. And, perhaps my favorite animal encounter was with the Brown-throated three-toed sloth hanging from a branch behind the old church!


Anteater (not of the Giant variety, which are also found here.)

Mr. Howler Monkey

Cute anteater hiding behind the tree

Capuchin Monkey!

Monkeying around


It was difficult to get good photos with the bright white overcast sky as background.

It is a remarkable experience to walk out in the jungle and see all these creatures that are usually only seen in a zoo! Fortunately, we did not meet up with a couple of other Panamanian jungle inhabitants on our hikes, the jaguar and the puma. It’s okay if we don’t.

Here is a short 1-minute video which features the howls of the howler monkeys and a few other monkey shots:

12 thoughts on “It’s a Jungle Out There!

    • They’re lunch for the anteaters! 🙂 There are long lines of thousands of ants busy at work hauling leaf particles across the path.

  1. That is so neat! How awesome! I’m glad you took that video -they gave us an idea of what you were experiencing.(even though that may drive me crazy hearing that all the time ) be careful getting too far in because you don’t know what you may encounter! Love you guys❤️

    • Cindy was the one shooting the video. I’m glad she did. I keep trying to go deeper into the jungle, but Cindy makes me behave. 🙂

  2. I think what you are calling anteaters are coatmondis (May not spell it correctly.) There were a couple that hung out at the commissary and we were told what they were. I had no idea. 🙂 As with several other things we learned. Ha ha.

    • You may be right! I looked on the web and the Coatmundis look similar, but so do certain species of anteaters that are found in Panama. Hmmmm.

  3. WOW…. No other words to use. We have seen these animals in a zoo, but you have seen them in their own habitats…and shared your findings. Thanks so much once again.
    Luv to you both.
    God Bless.

  4. hi, i am Panamanian, but my dad served in the army as civillian personnel, and i will like to know how to get in battery Baird and Battery Stanley, did you leave the car somewhere and walk all the way in?

    • Hi Victor, We were at the Shelter Bay Marina on a boat and walked from the marina. But you can easily drive a car down to the marina and walk. It is nearby.

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