We continue our exploration of these amazing islands. We move from one spot to the next staying anywhere from one night to 3 or 4 days depending on how we like the area or what the winds are predicted to do. A long transit day might be 15 miles most are 3 to 5 miles. Not exactly taxing passages.

Cooling off even on cloudy days

Some of the anchorages are barely hidden by the small islands. While the reefs around the islands break up the waves the smaller islands do little to abate the wind. The reefs continue to challenge our navigational skills. Our boat needs 4 feet of water to float and there have been several reef crossings that had 5 to 8 feet of water within the passage.

One of several reminders to be vigilant with your navigation
Enterprising locals with floating grocery store panga
Fresh fruit, eggs and baked goods to restock the pantry
A rare elevated building

We stopped in the Cardi Island group. This is the more populated area of the Archipelago. As our anchor was settling on the bottom we were approached by some of the locals. The first dugout was selling lobster and crabs. We had to try some of those. The second dugout was Ernesto. With his very respectable command of English, he offered to be our tour guide. We provide our dinghy, and he would take us to three of the nearby islands and do a narrated walking tour of each. We agreed to meet at 3 that afternoon. The third was a very persistent woman selling molas.

Fresh sea food for sale
almost had to throw her off the boat to get her to leave 🙂
Ernesto and two of the islands we visited in the background

The Kuna have a tough life. Income is derived from tourism, crafts, fishing, and some agriculture (coconuts and plantains). On the three main islands we visited they had community electricity provided by a generator. The electricity was on from 6PM until midnight. Some of the home and businesses had small solar panels and battery systems, many did not. On many of the islands, flashlights were their only light source.

There are no “roads” on the islands just wide paths and narrow paths. Buildings, unless government subsidized, (schools & medical buildings) were made from what ever could be gathered and put to use.

Election day was coming up. the flags represent the different candidates
Note the Kuna flag, they have been using this symbol before the Nazis.
Football (soccer) in the school yard
Kuna woman in traditional attire. They don’t like getting their picture taken but happy to oblige for a small tip.

While there are no cars on the island almost everyone has a dugout canoe. They rig them up to be paddled, sailed or powered by small outboard engines.

Giving cookies to the kids always gets a smile.

Interestingly most people have smart phones but many have no way to charge them. We were approached by a local who paddled out to us and asked if we could charge two phones for him.

As we have noted Eco Tourism is a big deal in the area. So much so that the Cardi Islands are a cruise ship destination. All be it small ships, but as we passed back through the area a week later there was a ship anchored off the islands. Ernesto would have been busy as would the women with molas to sell.

It really saddens me to post the picture below but I have to say we have not been on an island or a beach that did not have some form of plastic litter on it. For all their convenience single use plastics are going to be the death of this planet.

We are back at Shelter Bay Marina. We have hauled the boat out of the water and are in the process of decommissioning it to end another season. It will sit here “on the hard” until we return in November to begin another season.

We have decided to take the long way back to Vancouver and will be flying to Colombia for a week before heading home.

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2 thoughts on “San Blass Part 2

  1. Hi guys,
    Awesome pictures and travel stories.
    Can’t thank you enough for your great blogs.
    Look forward to seeing you.

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