Aroundoceans with SV Emerald Sea

Our journey on water

25 March 2018 | Victoria. British Columbia
05 October 2017 | Victoria BC
24 August 2017 | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
27 July 2017 | Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii
10 July 2017 | Reeds Bay, Hilo, Hawaii
22 June 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
18 June 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
12 June 2017 | Humane, French Polynesia
05 June 2017 | Moorea, French Polynesia
05 June 2017 | Tahiti
07 May 2017 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
21 April 2017 | Fakarava, Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
05 April 2017 | Tahanea Atoll. Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
05 April 2017 | Makemo Atoll, Tuamotu's, French Polynesia
07 March 2017 | Rikitea, Mangareva, Gambier Islands, French Polynesia
20 February 2017 | Rikitea, Gambier Islands, French Polynesia
14 January 2017 | Playita, Panama City, Panama
02 January 2017 | La Plait, Panama City
17 December 2016 | Isla Nargana
16 December 2016 | San Blas, Panama

Comarca de Guna Yala, San Blas Panama

17 December 2016 | Isla Nargana
The Comarca de Guna Yala is a narrow, 226km-long strip on the Caribbean coast that includes the Archipiélago de San Blás, which stretches from the Golfo de San Blás to the edge of the Colombian border. The islands are home to the Guna, with a population of 34k, who run San Blás as a comarca (autonomous region) with minimal interference from the national government. While the majority of these islands are magazine-cover beauties, the Guna choose to inhabit only a handful of acre-sized cays, which are crowded with bamboo huts and people. The Guna have chosen to live in these crowded conditions which lends itself to its incredible sense of community and identity that has allowed the Guna to achieve their remarkable degree of independence.

Our first entry into the San Blas was at Punta Brava and our time in the San Blas was short, so we've been selective and spent either end of a few days at each of these locations: Maniputu (traditional Guna village), Achuputu (traditional Guna village; cost effective Mola's), Isla Tigre (traditional Guna village), Nargana (larger non-traditional Guna village; reasonable provisions) and the Rio Diablo (3nm dinghy ride up the fresh water river), Tupile (non-traditional Guna village), Coco Bandero Cays, Islas Maqui (aka Cayos Holandes; our favorite - which reminded me of our time spent in Chagos however without coconut crabs and abundant fish); Cayos Chichime.

Just hanging out in secluded anchorages with the sound of the surf crashing over the protective reefs, a few other neighborly yachts, clear waters and palm islands was great and just what our old souls missed. Its places like this that we can just chillax, swim, dive for weeks.

Our impressions of the Guna Indians are indeed that they are a friendly, social and spirited people. We were glad to have met many and fortunate that a few spoke some English. Some notables; Benico, the Saila (chief) on Achuputu, who spoke soft spoken, well phrased English, as one would only expect from the superior Saila - we chatted and he later gave his permission to visit his island village; an elderly man in his ulu (dugout) who needed reading glasses that we gladly gave him (along with a home made lunch); Sammy, a retired Spanish school teacher from Oklahoma, now back at home on Nargana with his children and grand children - ever helpful and full of info on the insights of the Kuna culture and daily life; friendly Fredrico, also on Nargana, who's met most cruisers as he offers his various services. And the locals who invited us into their cozy homes to see their home made Molas and bead work. Let me not forget Venancio the master mola maker, whose detailed art work is impressive and whom we bought two more mola's from - beautiful work (Rose spent a lot of time negotiating with him!).

It's meandering through the maze of treacherous reefs and bommies that highlight how much I love the upper helm position of our Lagoon 450! The surface visibility of the water in the nearshore regions is dodgy at best, worse after a rain and while following published waypoints (E. Bauhaus guide; Ed 5), constant glancing at the depth sounder, you still need to keep a constant eye out. The outer islands and cays with improved water visibility made it easier to see and dodge the hazards.

What is horrendous is the amount of trash that is floating around this region; on and along the shores of the villages, dumped into the sea. On the island villages it seems there is no discipline or will or laws to have locals clean up their mess - its scattered everywhere; they throw full garbage bags into the water. Its astonishing. At sea, some of this garbage and flotsam just arrives in with the westerly winds and currents from the rest of the Caribbean - this is the end of the road for it - this can be blamed all the other nations! But its a pretty disappointing sight and takes away from the beauty of this location.

A few events ....

Rose is certainly picking up on the scuba - she has now completed a few of dives while in Bonaire and now here in Cayos Holandes. Her fear of depth, and heights, is slowing being overcome!

Found a water leak on the upper deck which found its way into the aft toilet woodwork and down to the port bilge. Earlier, I was wondering why the bilge went off more often during the rain. Took a bit of exploratory digging around but eventually found it, cleaned out the old sealant and replaced it with 3M5200 - hopefully never to emerge again! Fixing your boat in exotic locations?!

Officially we are in the (start of) dry season but mother nature didn't pick up on this calendar date! Its been mostly overcast and thundery during our time here. Lots of lightening around, squalls. We had one significant squall blow directly over us while at anchor near Achtuputu - lightening and cracking and downpours. Scared the shit out of me!

I also spent some time getting our ducks in a row for the Panama Canal transit as we will be doing this without an agent. We are planning to transit the canal before the new year - should all go well!

See the selection of photos in the Gallery (San Blas).
Vessel Name: Emerald Sea
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 450
Hailing Port: Singapore
Crew: Steve P, Rosemarie P
This site charts the adventures and misadventures of our family and hopefully share some of the practical tips and tricks that we picked up along the way. As our experiences grows so will the site as we share with you our aroundoceans journey. [...]
We untied the ropes from Keppel Marina in Singapore in August 2014 and haven't looked back. Across the Indian and around South Africa into the South Atlantic Oceans, the leeward Caribbean and South Pacific....with many stops along the way. And now, perhaps finally for this chapter, British [...]
Emerald Sea's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 10 of 10
Keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum! Solar array extending over cockpit.
Clean fuel is essential to a maintenance free engine. Racor Dual 500s with vacuum gauge. We use 5 and 10 micron filters.
Emerald from aft - offshore Singapore.
Axel with baracudda.
Axel installing the Ocean Safety life raft. This is an ISO Ocean series and one we hope never to use!
Axel underwater following turtles at Tioman.
Solar frame mount showing the upper supports.
Aft view during the solar system installation.
The storm jib being installed.  We will be seen!  Sail blogs took an upright photo and rotated it!
Hawaii was a stop over on our way to Canada however we were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed our 3 weeks in Big Hawaii.
13 Photos
Created 27 July 2017
No Photos
Created 27 July 2017
A selection from 1000's of photos from out 6 months in French Polynesia. But were missing the photos from Gambier, Makemo, Tahanea.....
17 Photos
Created 27 July 2017
We transited the Panama Canal on 30-31st December 2016.
20 Photos
Created 2 January 2017
5 Photos
Created 17 December 2016
Barbados, Martinique, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada. A few of our photos captured here.
10 Photos
Created 22 October 2016
Photo fun...
3 Photos
Created 1 May 2016
10-15 April 2016
5 Photos
Created 1 May 2016
What doesn't fit into the albums will be found here....
15 Photos
Created 20 December 2015
26 June to 13 July 2015
16 Photos
Created 28 July 2015
5 February to 13 May 2015
17 Photos
Created 28 July 2015
17 July to 12 October 2015
16 Photos
Created 28 July 2015
29 May to 25 June 2015
20 Photos
Created 28 July 2015
16 April to 20 May 2015
18 Photos
Created 31 May 2015
Photos from Singapore to Langkawi
7 Photos
Created 12 November 2014
Our first 2 weeks out in East Malaysia (Sept 14)
5 Photos
Created 18 September 2014
Our Bon voyage party with our yachtie neighbors.
3 Photos
Created 24 August 2014
In June 14 we sailed up to Pulau Tioman for our first journey of living on this new boat and trialing new equipment including the drogue system, storm jib, solar system and other vessel installations.
6 Photos
Created 17 July 2014