San Blas, Panama

After five days in Marina de Pesca, and filling up with diesel, we left Cartagena for to sail to San Blas Panama in the afternoon the 23/3-16. We started going for motor threw the bay of Cartagena and sat the Jib when we were out. It was a lot of wind and it got more during the evening so we rolled in the jib and sat the stay-sail. We had six hours with winds up to 46 knots in the gusts and both of us just hold on there for six hours. Alexandra and the autopilot did well but we got wet several times when water from big waves entered the cockpit, and that is very unusual when sailing Alexandra. It was the high wind from the side making high waves. Early in the morning the 24/3 we had landfall and soon we were anchoring at Hollander Cay, San Blas, a very beautiful island with high beautiful palm-trees and a reef with fresh corals and fish to snorkel around to see.

Because of having bad stomach we stayed at Holander for several days. Yesterday we were fresh enough to get a long time and good snorkel tour on the reef taking pictures and enjoying the beauty of the corals and fish before we left for the next island, Cocos.

Coco Bandero Cays is not far away and also very beautiful. Mooring between to palm-tree islands. We came there the 29/3 and stayed for a couple of nights. We did not find any corals but very beautiful sea-stars and a few fish. The water was 31° C. We saw the kuna men harvest coconuts and how they made steps on the tree to get up and fetch them.

Eastern Naguargandup Cays, alongside Canbombia (Morbedup) island is not far a way, just one and a half hour sailing trip the 31/3. It was difficult though to find a way to the anchor place but after going a little back and forth we now moor close to the island. The island is inhabited by a kuna family and we have had several visit from them. Yesterday we bought a chicken fish (very hard skin like shell so Lars had to get some tools out of the tool bag) from to brothers living on the island. Today to kuna men, sailing around in there traditional, cut out wood log, canoe, managed to sell to small lobsters to us for 6 US$. We also had a kuna boy visiting sailing around in his traditional canoe. He was happy to get a snorkel set from the “toy” cradle. The water temperature is 31.7 and the air 32°C and no wind so very hot. Therefore, after investigating the environment in the water for fish and coral that turned out to be less then before, we actually enjoyed cleaning the water line (Maria) and the under water hull (Lars) to cool down. If we cant sail Alexandra with the speed of 5 knots threw the Panama Canal the Canal authority can give us a law speed penalty so important to clean the hull!

After having to launch the anchor during the night because of a 180° wind shift we were, in the morning, on our way to Carti island, the largest Kuna village, to moor. It was an extremely hot day and unfortunately no wind so motor sailing. From the anchorage we could see three Kuna island close to each other and there was a lot of activities. Boats were coming in and out transporting kunaer on there way to work on the main land, school, visiting other island or just home. Before we left the next day we visited one of the 3 islands and passed close to the others. It was obvious that the kunaer cleaned the path for the tourist to go but also discouraging to see al the garbage around the islands and how easy it can fall into the water and pollute the water too. Very fine traditional houses they had though mixed with houses made of whatever they could get hold of.

The final stop in San Blas was Lemon Cays and we came there 3/4. We hoped to find some reef there with corals and fish. We had some difficultly to find the proper entrains but after several tries we ended launch the anchor close to an island prepared to have tourist from he main land. Lars was not fit for swimming so I swam over to a break in the water and hope to find a reef but find seaweed on sand and nothing else. In the evening we sailed in ad visited the centre and had a beer for our last dollars in the bar. There were kunas in al ages. Old women in traditional clothing, a young women in modern clothing and al in between. They al rested after the day tourist have been transported back to the mainland. The men washed the safety-jackets used by the tourist and hang them op to be dried. We were the only people from outside except for a European sailor in a catamaran that had been in Kuna Yalla for several years. Next morning we wanted to explore the water and make sure we had not missed reef with corals and fish. We took the dingy out to the “reef” and so corals, quite nice, but no fish. We hang on to the dingy and free-dived with the current to Alexandra in the bay. Now we were ready to leave this secluded area and go for Portobelo, Panama.


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