Photo of one of the four islands that surround us. First Anchorage, Coco Bandero Cays, San Blas Islands, Panama
I lie awake at night dreaming up all kinds of things that I would like to mention on the blog and do you think that in the morning I can remember any of them?
Here's what we've read:
San Blas or Mulatupo archipelago of Panama constitutes an autonomous reservation, Kuna Yala or San Blas Commerce, which administers its own territory. Kuna Yala is formed by 378 islands and a small strip of mainland strung out along the Caribbean coast of Panama of which only 49 islands are permanently inhabited by the fiercely independent Kuna Indians. The Kuna run all the islands as an autonomous province, with minimal interference from the national government and have maintained their own economic system, language, customs and culture, with distinctive dress, legends, music and dance and thus have avoided traditional tourism development. The area is surrounded by reefs, some of the oldest in the world, and offer wonderful diving and snorkeling.
What we've read cont..
Photo of a family in their Dugout "ulu".
What we've read cont..
The Kunas (around 55,000 or about 10 percent of what they were) may be the last of the full-blooded Carib strain that inhabited the Caribbean before the Spanish conquistadors. In 1787, after centuries of troubles with invaders, including Roman Catholic orders, pirates and would-be settlers Kuna and Spanish authorities signed a treaty which brought peace for some years. Trade increased and the Kunas began to specialize in coconut production and moved to the Atlantic coast the San Blas archipelago.
It was in the 1800's that Kuna women developed their fashion with sewn blouses, trade-cloth skirts and plenty of home-made jewelry. Trading visitors were welcomed but they were not permitted to enter villages. This isolation, which started in the 18th century remained intact until the early 1900's. During this period their old traditions developed and family, household, rituals and seniority became more important. Daily life was run by a series of "iset" or prohibitions. The "nele" (wise men) ruled over Kuna's destiny through his wisdom while the "Saila" and the "archer" (chief and chief spokeman) governed communities. It was also during this period that the "ommket" (gathering) also called "congress" became important and democratized the society.
In 1903 panama got its independence from Colombia. Relations with the new nation were not at their best in the beginning and many Kunas felt abandoned and a long series of deep conflicts began In 1915 when Panama elected a governor in Porvenir to represent the Kunas. In 1925, the Kuna were helped in a rebellion by a Canadian adventurer Richard O'Marsh and proclaimed the independence of the "Republic of Tule'. The Panamanian response was immediate and troops were sent over. If it weren't for the intervention of the United States who sent the USS Cleveland to the San Blas Islands, the Kunas might have been wiped from the face of the earth. The Republic only lasted a year however, the Panamanian government continued to work with the Kunas and to make a long story short, in 1938 it recognized an official Kuna Reserve and in 1953, drew up a constitution granting the Commerce administrative and juridical status.
January/10/2011, Cartagena, Colombia
Photo of Michele's and Thera's talents.
Talents are abundant throughout the cruiser population and Michel from "Reach" is no exception. I've admired her self-made jewelry on several outings so much so, she made me a necklace from green sea glass. I've since discovered that she has adorned the necks of several cruisers and we all display her work proudly as we dress for town.
After much hesitation, one lazy hot morning, when Steve is sick with a bronchial flu, I escape and climb aboard "Reach", bringing my small collection of beads, sea glass and shells to ask for a lesson. Patiently, Michele explains the art of looking at each piece and deciding how it would hang best, how to secure different shapes and make their loops for the chain, how each piece dictates it's own personality and how to match that to suit the person whom you are making it for. She explains how she would approach some of my finds because all I can see is crap I've picked up for god knows what reason.
After a couple of hours of fun, I head home with notes and sketches in hand and hope of transforming my beach combing finds into jewelry. Later that day, I set out to prove what a good teacher she is. I've learn it's not that easy and re-looking at some of the beautiful hand designed jewelry that our daughter Thera has created... Wow!
Fortunately for those of you reading this blog, I continue to improve my craft and some of you are getting my hand made and home designed creations when I get back. They ask big money for this shit.. I mean sea glass jewelry!
Notes: While in Colombia I finally had my teeth cleaned for 80,000 pesos (~$44 US). The dentist found a cavity (back molar) requiring that she totally remove the old filling and start over. I went back to have it taken care off the next morning at the total cost of 40,000 pesos (~$22 US).
Also, Steve became very ill when a cold and sinus infection developed into a bronchitis. Having used the Amoxicillin that we had on board, I found a pharmacy to replace our stores. I paid 3,600 peso's (~$2 US) for Amoxicillin - 1pkg. (10 tabs - 500mg). I purchased 4 packages. The Ciprofloxacin - a pack of 6 cost 115,000 peso's (~$64 US).
While in Grenada, Steve had a very thorough eye examination for the total cost of 80 EC (~$40 US) and the prescription filled that afternoon. The next day he was walking around able to see and the glasses looked good.
So the question of medical insurance.. Don't bother once you're out of the States and Canada. Catastrophic insurance.. Not a bad idea, but we still don't have any and hope to correct that when we get home.
Santa Marta, Colombia
December/18/2010, Santa Marta Marina
We have not been to many marina's and this looks like it may become one marina's that we won't be able to afford in the near future. Every morning the work began. On the massive walkway between the docks and the main office, mosaic like interlocking brick patterns were laid out and the construction of showers and laundry were in the works.
Everything was with-in walking distance.. and this town was a wonderful treat to visit. However, if you are planning to stop in Santa Marta, with Zarpe papers stating you were heading to Cartagena, be warned to tell the authorities that you had to stop "because of bad weather". Our friends from 2 other boats, spent a morning being interrogated as to why they did not continue on to Cartagena, Colombia as their zarpa papers stated (from Curacao), all because they said they just wanted to stop and see the town (this story continues later.. when we arrive in Cartagena). Other than that, we enjoyed the flavour of the town.. the sausage cooked from the street vender and the fried dough with cheese (Steve and Michele enjoyed it... Mark and I tasted)... but as usual, we used the time to shop for supplies and search for parts (this time a pump)... however, thanks to Dave "Bijou Vert la Mer", we had a gathering one night and met more wonderful cruisers.. and they loved our grey snapper fingers.