21 December 2008 | San Blas Islands, Panama
Sleepovers, perfect sailing conditions, BBQs, loads and loads of kids, yoga and MOLAS! What are molas? They are layers and layers of cotton material that have been cut and sewn into geometric designs and traditional Kuna Indian scenes. The Kunas, the local people indigenous to the San Blas Islands, take weeks or months to create them. The molas are part of their customary attire. Cruisers, over decades of visiting, have come to appreciate their handiwork and purchase them to sew onto pillows, bags, shirts, etc. Even better, as you can see from the photo, they come in their dugout canoes to sell them. We are looking at a pile of them, all completely unique, in the comfort and shade of our aft deck. Anyone who designates the San Blas Islands, or Kuna Yala, as the natives say, as a sailor's paradise, is 100% correct. We love it here for the sailing we've done and the friends we have gained. The Coco Bandero Cays was home for Zen, and about 5 other kid boats, for about a week. They played Capture the Flag, built lean-to's on the uninhabited islands and did arts/crafts for hours on end. While listening to the Panama Connection SSB radio network of cruisers in the morning, we learned the immigration/customs office would be closing early for vacation. Due to our upcoming flights to US and Puerto Rico, we quickly picked up our anchor, bid farewell to all the families and high-tailed 20 miles to the immigration and customs office for the San Blas. It was a fortuitous departure. On the way, going 10 knots, we caught this monster 35-lb tuna fish. Darn thing almost took our rod right off the stern as a souvenir. After spending some time bringing it onboard, Tom decided to pull into a port just shy of our destination due to sun and visibility of reefs. It was fate speaking to us. We met in the Lemmon Cays anchorage, a wonderful family on Fai Da Te, which means, Do It Yourself, in Italian. They blended w/Zen beautifully and sailed the next day w/us to Porvenir and then to the Holandes Cays the next day, where we reunited with Albatres. Beyond that, it's been all fun. School and boat chores in the mornings. Snorkeling and water sports in the afternoon. Sunset gatherings on one another's boats with many languages being spoken. And of course, BBQs on the beach. But...the most amazing thing Cammi and I do on a little (100 yards in diameter), perfectly manicured (daily, by an ex-Wall Street exec turned boat-bum), uninhabited island off Zen's bows is YOGA. Yes, every other day at 11:00a we meet our instructor, Suzanne, who brings us into sheer bliss, under the palms, with perfect trade winds making them sway and the surf breaking around us. I love it. What's there not to love? Holy mola, we have found Zen.