Wild Ulu Drivers Break Things!
30 April 2012 | Nargana, San Blas, Panama
We took a 2 hour sail southeast to Nargana to get some diesel fuel for ourselves and another boat that was heading west. We offered to ferry the 20 gallons of fuel back to our friends who are dealing with trying to figure out what to do with the 3 boats here in the San Blas that belong to their husband/brother who died earlier this year of a heart attack. Since they were overwhelmed with all of the chores associated with figuring out what to do with these boats, we made the run to get fuel so they could stay put. We needed 50 gallons of diesel ourselves anyway. We left early and arrived in Nargana about 9:30. I called Paco while underway--he's the guy who organizes the fuel and filters it through an old t-shirt into jugs--to alert him to our arrival and our need for 70 gallons of fuel. Upon arrival, we launched the dinghy and went in with jugs for the 20 gallons for our friends. They needed 1/2 hour more to fill those, so we went off into town for a few provisions at the local tiendas. We got bread, flour, milk, garlic, Tang, and some canned meat. Our breakfast was delicious cheese empanadas for 25 cents each. We met Frederico in town--another Kuna facilitator, who stayed with us and came to help deliver the fuel to the boat. Paco's helper drove the ulu with the fuel and we returned in the dinghy. When pulling alongside Kokopelli, the ulu driver slammed it into forward (rather than reverse) at about a 90 degree angle instead of sidling up alongside. YIKES! There was nothing to be done as the large wooden prow of the ulu smashed through the port hole window on the starboard side. The loud CRRAAAAAAAAAAAACK was deafening in the still anchorage. Ugh! The good news was it was only the port hole and not a huge hole in the fiberglass on the side of the boat. Luckily, with some trusty duct tape, I made a quick repair that held the window together for the trip back up to the Holandes Cays and, since the seas were light, we didn't take any water into the boat. Now we have to figure out how to fix this...all the spare lexan we have is either too thin or too thick. Wish we had some of that magic lexan glue that melts the surfaces and fuses them together!