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A family travels from Florida to New Zealand aboard their St Francis 50 catamaran
The land of Kuna Yala!!!
02/15/2008, San Blas (Kuna Yala) Panama

We have been in the San Blas (also called Kuna Yala) since about a week. The Kuna Indians rule over those islands located west of Colon on the Atlantic side of Panama. They are a part of Panama but very attached to their independent status. They are the descendent of the Kuna Indians who lived there for centuries and were decimated by the Spanish invaders. However, they succeeded to keep their community alive to this day. They are about 55,000 Kunas left and their law does not allow inter marriage, they would be excluded if they do. It is a matriarchal community, the women are dressed beautifully , they love vibrant reddish colors and their molas (superposed tissues sawn together by hand with geometrical pattern) look beautiful on them; They wear strings of bead rolled around their lower-leg and lower-arms and sometimes a big gold bead in their nose. They love lots of red/pink blush on their cheeks and they are very small in size. It sure looks like they have no problem to maintain their population ratio, there are small children everywhere! We visited a few Kuna villages near the island of Porvenir and Cartisugdup. All houses are made of bamboo sticks and the roof is palm straw (like the chikihut), their streets inside the island are patted earth and extremely clean with touch of colors (flowers, banana trees...) but surprisingly, on the back of each house, on the water, is where they pile what they cannot get rid off along with the out-house right over the water, so much for the bay view! They are nice enough with the tourists but yet it is not what I imagined, of course they see us as a dollar sign, and sometimes want a dollar just to take their pictures, it is unfortunate and I do not want to agree to that yet. We bought some molas and beadwork, Kuna women come by canoe around the cruising boats and we were able to communicate in Spanish and have a conversation and fun with three women, it was a great moment! The weather in February is peculiar, often hazy which is not the best for snorkeling. There are some very nice reefs but it is mostly fished out (a lot less or smaller than the Bahamian waters). The outer islands are the attraction of the San Blas for me, beautiful white sandy inlet covered with palm trees and surrounded by turquoises waters, a dream!!!!The anchorage are pretty busy, always 12 to 15 boats but it is nice and fun! We went to a potluck last Monday on the East Hollandes key and there were some cruisers who were in the San Blas for years, they were very open and eager to help and give advices to the new cruisers in the area, I really appreciated this, it is not always the case and we really enjoyed our evening with everybody.

02/27/2008 | Becky & Dave DeBell
Greetings from MA,
We are friends of Nancy & Joey and in 3 wks we will be sailing on the Princess line to the Panama Canal. Love your pictures so far and anxious to follow you thru the canal.
In the San Blas
02/14/2008, Carti Sugdup, Kuna Yala (San Blas, Panama)

Arrived February 9th after a 74 hour passage from Jamaica. Will be here for another week or so before heading for the canal. More info when we find wi-fi.

02/16/2008 | VINCENT DYE
Dear All ; still with you by watching your spot position on your blog ! Please insert some pictures again and enjoy Cruising the canal and i guess you ll be soon heading for the Galapagos !Ivana and the kids are going to Louxor ( Egypt ) for 1 week off.
With Love .
02/16/2008 | Philippe ALFONSI
Juste un coucou pour vous dire que nous suivons votre progression et redécouvrons la géographie au fil de votre parcours.
Pensons bien à vous et profitez en bien.
Grosses bises des ALFONSI
Port Antonio, a Safe Heaven in Jamaica
02/02/2008, Jamaica

We were going to sail directly from Georgetown to Great Inagua (the southern island of the Bahamas) then to Panama but we actually did not stop at Great Inagua, the wind was just too good, in the right direction for once, so we continued to ride this beautiful north-east wind. We had a thrilling night sail across the Windward Passage, reefed at the lowest point, without the jib, still going at 7 knots and surfing at 9 knots! We could not let more sail out because some huge north swells came from behind the boat and made us surf at 14-15 knots, it is a lot of fun during the day but a little too much for us at night. We were happy of our progress and decided to stop in Jamaica. The closest port of entry coming from this direction is Port Antonio. I was of course a little apprehensive thinking of the bad reputation Jamaica has but everything seems to have proved the contrary. Indeed, our interaction with the officials (immigration, quarantine, customs was quick and although there is a lot of paperwork to fill out - get 4 copies of the crew list-) was a very nice experience, everyone was extremely courteous and nice! We did check in the Errol Flynn marina which is a little jewel in itself! The manager, Dale Westin and the dock master, George Munro made us feel so comfortable and were extremely helpful. The marina has beautiful grounds, tropical plants and flowers, huge trees (Jamaican apple trees, breadfruit trees, and ackee trees), a delicious restaurant, clean and big showers and laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi!!! The marina is gated and the small town of Port Antonio does have a very low crime rate. I went to the open market and wandered in town, I never felt unsafe. People are nice and eager to speak about their country, I learned how to cook "Cake and salt fish" the national Jamaican dish, just by asking a question about a strange looking fruit-vegetable I had never seen before. We tried it the next night for dinner (actually this dish is mostly eaten for breakfast, but we cannot eat fish for breakfast yet!), it was delicious! David got into the local scene and bargained a good price on a beautiful wood carved mask representing a women with her eyes closed, quiet original, and Alban, the artist carved his name on the back...
We are just having a wonderful time in Port Antonio, it was just going to be a quick stop, but it will be now a destination for us, we will be back!!!!

Arrived in Jamaica!!!!
01/30/2008, Port Antonio (Jamaica)

We just reached a landfall in Jamaica after 3 days/2 night's passage and it feels good! It was actually a pretty nice passage all in all and we ended up in this cute little town called Port Antonio. It is a dream anchorage: dead calm water surrounded by little hills and just a few sailboats, we arrived yesterday at 2:45pm and had a good night of sleep. We can't wait to explore Jamaica and first of all Port Antonio. More later...
Arrive en Jamaique!!!!
Nous venons juste de poser l'ancre après un passage de 3 jours et 2 nuits et nous sommes tres heureux ! Quel joli petit port (Port Antonio). Jamaique nous a acueillie hier avec ses hautes montagnes brumeuses et une legere pluie. Cette petite ville semble idyllique, les gens sont adorables, le cadre splendide , juste quelques voiliers et une marina absolument incroyable. Meme les formalites se sont tres bien passees donc nous sommes bien contents de ne pas avoir ecoutes tous ces guides qui donnent une mauvaise reputation a la Jamaique (insecurite, formalite tres difficiles avec des gens desagreables, tout cela est faux , tout du moins a Port Antonio!). Nous allons explorer la ville aujourd'hui après l'ecole .A tres bientot...

02/02/2008 | matthieu
chers tous c'est avec un grand plaisir et une grande émotion que je surf sur votre blog. je connais toutes vos photos par coeur. voir ces photos me donne envie d'etre avec vous mais hélas c'est tout simplement impossible(sauf si nous nous donnons rendez vous quelque part).je vous fais de gros bisoux et espere vraiment vous voir bientot!! a lot of kisses !!!!!! matthieu.
02/05/2008 | Nancy
Everbody(&that means Emilie & Alec too!) is doing a great job! I really enjoy your descriptions & all the photos areWonderful!! Keep up the good job! Love, Nancy
02/12/2008 | Carol Luse
David, Nathalie, Emilie, and Alec,
Michelle Sciarrone sent me your blog and it is so wonderful. Would you mind putting me on your email list so I can partake of your adventure. The organization and logistics of your trip are incredible. What fun!! We took a 5 month RV trip out west this summer and that was awesome. Keep in touch. Carol Luse
02/12/2008 | Reece Jahn
Hi Guys,
We sure miss you! We walk by your house everyday but you're still not home yet! Sorry Emma but I got my hair cut. Write us soon so we know where you are.
Love and lots of hugs, Reece
En route to Jamaica
01/29/2008, Just passing Great Inagua Bahamas

Left George Town at 7:20am Monday the 28th. Did 190 miles this 24 hour period. Weather is good, cold front has been helpful with the north wind.

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Who: David, Alec, Emilie, Nathalie
Port: Tavernier, Florida USA
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