A Very Pleasant Change of Pace
17 January 2019 | Cayos Holandes, San Blas Islands, Panama
This is my first post by satphone for some years so I have no idea if it will work. I cannot pop it up on Facebook until I get Internet access again. We were very sorry to leave Colombia. It is a truly amazing place and people and it felt like unfinished business but this is a very pleasant change.
We have not really been in a remote island anchorage (i.e. no bars and no city dust and noise) since the Bahamas and that was in 2014! This is truly remote, no bars, no internet, no electricity, almost no motors. The locals visit us, and they do visit, in dugout canoes using hand-carved paddles. The Kuna seem very lovely but we have to remember that the 'cultural experience' is primarily transactional. They see cruisers come and go every day and their interest in us extends to extracting a few dollars. They are happy to stay for a bit of a chat (via Google Translate) but business is business. We did run into a few young children on a beach and stopped for a bit of a play. They were an absolute delight, happy, healthy and carefree and very quick to laugh. Their lack of stuff certainly did not seem to bother them in the slightest. This is in stark contrast to my excess of stuff, which bothers me enormously - oh well.
Talking of 'stuff', today the local 'head man' dropped by and managed to sell us a Mola (more on them later) and a couple of young men bought us a VERY large lobster that I paid $10 for and then discreetly released over the other side of the boat. I know - pathetic - but I made a contribution to the local economy and allowed a large lobster to go on making baby lobsters so I generally felt good about the whole transaction. Cheap at $10. Thinking about killing (or not killing) things for food, I caught my first large Mahi Mahi on the fast but uneventful crossing from Colombia to Panama (thanks for the lure Martin. It worked first time!). My satisfaction with the successful hunt was tempered by the gory process of killing and processing the large fish. This is particularly difficult on a small boat underway and we will be getting blood out of lines (and clothes) for a while. Perhaps that was why I was driven to release the lobster. Enough savagery for a few days. Good thing we both like lentils and tofu....
We are comfortably anchored in a fairly small sand hole surrounded by extensive reefs with palm covered islands scattered around us. It is very beautiful and it is good to be able to swim again, despite the crocodile rumors.... The snorkeling (scuba is forbidden here) that we have found so far was OK but we need to explore further. Unfortunately the surf on the fringing reef is HUGE so we will not be going there. When I look at that surf I think "no-one in their right mind would go out there in a small sailboat" - oops..... We will need to go and check in sometime then we think we will probably come back here. We are not inclined to 'tick islands off'. They are all very similar and we would prefer to get to know one spot better.