Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 24 Jan 2010 02:54
Being up early we did see something special when it got light. At 15-20 feet on white sand we could easily see the bottom and we saw a spotted eagle ray (about 4ft across) glide under the boat, turn round again and come back under the boat before gliding away. Unlike Bonaire, there are very few fish in the anchorage so that was quite a surprise.
The anchorage here is about 1/4 mile across and surrounded by 7 separate, almost equally spaced 'desert' islands with palm trees and dotted with white beaches. The islands are connected by shallow reefs, in beautiful turquoise water, except for 2 of the islands where the water is deeper and allows boats to get in and out. The water in the middle is quite deep (60 - 80ft) and so you approach an island, drop the anchor as it gets shallower and drop back into deeper water. With the wind always in the same direction (until last night) it's normally straight forward. The water in here is quite warm and we snorkel most days, but there are not a lot of fish. Surprisingly there are no birds - so when the wind drops out the sea is flat and it's quite silent, and quite strange.
A few Kuna Indians live on some of the islands and fish in their dugout canoes, which they also have sails for, which must be tricky as they are very narrow. This group of islands is furthest from the mainland (so the water is a lot clearer as river sediment doesn't reach this far), but most of the Kuna Indians live on islands close to the mainland. They live in huts made from fast growing plants from the rain forest on the mainland and some islands are literally packed with huts from shore to shore. When we checked in with customs and immigration we anchored not far from one of these islands and were visited by a family paddling their dugout canoe and selling intricate embroidery. So we have our Kuna souvenir! Plus a picture of them sailing their canoe away. Some do have boats with outboards, but many still just have canoes. We hope to stay here for a few more days and weather permitting will move on to the canal zone towards the end of next week. The city at the Atlantic side of the Canal is Colon and that's where we will be heading.
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