Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Going round in circles

After many weeks of motoring, today we sailed! Only a few miles, but it felt really nice not to have the rumble of the engine drowning out everything else. And good luck is in the air, because yesterday we managed to acquire our visas into Panama. (AND the Captain found his unlocked phone, which was a three day search of the boat. "I've just put it somewhere safe," he said.) Therefor the plan for tomorrow is to head to Panama City to visit the bank, and buy a local SIM and an enormous quantity of groceries!

We counted our pennies after we paid the immigration man and we bought seven small lobsters for $8 - a feast. The Captain has mastered the art of negotiation with the Kuna fishermen, so we can get a pretty fair deal. Earlier last week we bought some small parrot fish and had beautiful steamed fish stuffed with limes and onion. So maybe not total self sufficiency, but supporting the local economy.

Cruising the Kuna Yala is a curious experience. There are beautiful islands with palm trees and stunning white sand beaches (which light up brightly with each flash of lightning in the night), and then a whole pile of other boats tucked into the popular anchorages. And the anchorages are popular because they are the ones that are easy to get to, the unpopular ones accessible only through a narrow maze of reef. The outer island anchorages are also a bit odd because you feel very exposed and unprotected, with only a couple of small palm tree islands providing next to no shelter from the wind. However, the labyrinth of coral does have its benefits, blocking most of the swells and keeping the water calm. But it isn't what you'd think, when you thought of a sheltered anchorage (if you've had occasion to think of these things, which I have frequently of late.)

Many of the boats this time of year are full of "backpackers," young people hitching a lift from Panama to Colombia with stops in the San Blas. We can tell the backpacker boats since they are full of bikini clad women and often men with bad farmer's tans (my prairie roots are showing with that description) and everyone is sitting up on deck in the hot sun, which those of us down here for more than a week tend not to do. Sometimes we've counted 8 or 10 people on a 40 foot boat, and my question is, where do they all sleep?

Other then the backpackers, we haven't interacted with too many other boats. There are some long-time cruisers down here, from what we hear on the Panama Connection Net, broad casted over the SSB radio, but it is the wrong time of year for lots of boats to be passing through. Too many thunderstorms! Although in the spirit of acknowledging that I am suffering through the definition of "tropical paradise," we have been fine, not having dragged anchor in the wind, nor been hit by lighting, all possibilities. (Now I need your collective "knock on wood", please.)

The current plan is to keep circling around in this part of Panama for at least a couple of weeks more, or until we start to get dizzy. Will keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a successful day! Consider wood knocked on - please avoid being hit by lightning. :)