Sailing in the Carribbean Panama
San Blas Islands
Kuna indians canoe in their home waters. Yachties are visiting.
One day sailing from Colón with Adi and Omer from Izrael. Big swell in light winds made Adi seasick so she left the boat immediately after arriving to Porvenir in San Blas area. Sailing is not for everyone.
San Blas - about three hundred picturesque tiny islands - territory of Kuna indians. These people are living in houses on some islands, sailing around on their wooden canoas with sails, selling their products to many cruising yachts around. Off course as in many places where the so called rich and so called poor worlds meet there might be a barrier between those who almost beg and those who do not want to be bothered. Personaly I found it possible to break this stereotype at least a little bit. The easiest talk is usually with kids because they learn spanish in school and thats why they are more able to communicate with foreigners.
The midday heat in this humid and calm climate was nearly killing us just walking over Porvenir airstrip. But around 20 young Kunas did not find it an excuse to stop them from their soccer training. Running back and forth along the airsrip (a plane is comming earlier in the morning) they assured me they were preparing for next world championship. All the best for Kunas team.
Few islands have airstrips built by US for strategical reasons in the 2ndWW. Some of them were damaged later to stop illegal drug traffic in later years.
Playing wolleyball with other sailors , one Kuna little boy joined us and learned so quickly that some of us decided to stop playing not be ashamed.
We enjoyed hospitality of French sailors Jean Pierre and Morgan on huge catamaran Levanto. Their are both underwater hunters, spending just a small part of their daytime above the water and most of their night time by eating what they had shot with their harpoons. (However any gills have not developed behind their ears yet. We learned some surprizing facts: 1 there is much more eatible sea creatures than I had thought, 2 they are delicious (but not kosher, as Omer mentioned) 3 our stomachs are about ten times smaller than thouse of our friends 4 chilean wine is better than french one (thats what the french said).
A flew got me during our stay in San Blas Thats why we were not able to visit all places we have planned and snorcheling was unfortunately immpossible. At least I have reasons to visit San Blas islands again.
San Blas Islands are not far from paradise. I enjoyed it but I must say I am not ready for paradise yet.Give me 30 years and I can probably live here in peace.
According to what I know from guidebooks, Kunas have always been relatively autonomous community This was confirmed after their revolt in the 20th last century. Because of US intervention rebeled Kunas community have not been suppressed by the police but they were given autonomy and their territory is a property of Kunas people. Their rules are sometimes hardly acceptable to me. For example: everybody must pay a fee for visiting another village.
San Blas is a good place to meet people, both tourists and locals. The islands are so small that they can not stay far from each other.
I love tropical jungle. Rio Chagres is a place where I experienced something new. Sailing from the sea - the big blue to the jungle - the big green in few minutes. The night song of the jungle can not be described in words. What a pity all the monkeys were too busy to see us. At least we have heard their scary screamings. Toucans and antbear (ant eating mammal) were our company in this part of Panama.
The river Chagres is entered from the Carribbean sea and after several miles ends with a dam. There is Gatun Lake behind it with all the Panama canal trafic.
A boat anchored in nearly each curve of the river spoils some of the charms of this place. It is relative. Better than traveling with crowded metro to get to work everyday. I think.
Henry Morgans sailors were suffering while traveling up the river Chagres to raid Panama City. The country was inhospitable in thouse days. Even now it is too hot and sweaty sometimes.