Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cruising the San Blas Islands (by Todd)

Once the rough part of our sailing adventure was over, we had arrived in the San Blas Islands of Panama for three days of calm water sailing along deep blue waters dotted with palm tree covered Caribbean islands.

Except for the smallest islands (think one solitary palm tree), at least one Kuna household permanently lives and "governs" the island, requesting a dollar or two for island access, maybe a few more if you want to sleep over for the night. Aside from visitors, the Kuna make their living with coconuts, fishing, or handicrafts; a few commute to the mainland to farm as well. While living on a beautiful island has some appeal, I think it would be tough for us to adjust to a lifestyle with essentially no utilities, limited fresh water, and such limited opportunities for interaction with others.

Each day we'd anchor near a new island and spend the day snorkeling, swimming, and alternately lounging on the island or on the boat deck. Like the rest of our time underwater on this trip, the animal life was pretty sparse - other than giant starfish and few small tropical fish, we saw one manta ray, but otherwise not a whole lot was visible under the water. In the evenings our group would sit under the moon & stars on the boat deck, drinking beers in the nighttime heat.

Each day we enjoyed three nice big meals on the boat - Juli and I were both hoping for a fresh lobster dinner one of those days but unfortunately due to the high seas the local Kuna fishermen had no lobsters to sell us :(

We enjoyed one last sunset before heading below decks for the overnight journey to Portobelo Panama, the final destination of the crossing from Colombia.

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