Monday, 16.01.2012, 04:00 local, 9° 28' 21” N, 78° 38' 18” W, at anchor
It's beautiful here in the San Blas. Hundreds of tiny little islands covered
in one to many coconut palm trees. But don't go picking one! All the
coconuts belong to a Kunda indian, and they get royally pissed if you just
harvest their source of income for free. Reminds me of the "Obstbauern vom
Bodensee", the orchard farmers from around lake Constanz. They also get
quite angry when you pick an apple from their trees while cycling along.
But quite unlike their south German counterparts the Kunda indians travel
with dug-out kanus from islands to island, to catch coconuts and fish and
lobster. Then they travel from boat to boat trying to sell them. A few have
outboard engines, but must simply paddle, or use a sail downwind. So every
day, depending on the weather, you can expect a knock or two or hey! hey!
calls and visitors grinning up at you. In the eastern caribbean that is
often a hassle, since the locals don't leave you alone unless you buy
something. And then they come back the more for it. Here it's more relaxed.
No gracias and off they go.
Since we arrived the wind has been blowing quite a lot and the sky is
overcast. Without a working wind generator that is less then ideal, and it
looks like tomorrow we'll have to turn off the fridge. When we wanted to
dinghy over to Irie for dinner on Saturday the outboard engine failed to
start, so we rowed. Rowing back against the wind was especially funny, and a
little alcohol and the fact that Liz and I each wanted our own paddle had a
lot to do with that. But we made it, eventually, guided by Mark and his
powerful flashlight because we had forgotten to turn on the anchor light on
Gudrun and it was pitch dark.
Sunday Mark and I took the outboard engine apart and found that the air
intake flap of the carburetor was corroded in place. On a one year old
outboard, great. I'm also less than impressed with the maintenance
friendlyness of the Mercury engine. Should have bought a Yamaha. Unabe to
make it rotate freely we've twisted it into a semi-open position so that the
engine still starts and runs reasonably well. But the output seems only
about half of the nominal 15hp.
The next few days we'll hang around here some more. Hopefully the weather
clears up and we can go swimming and snorkeling. Despite the wind the water
is very calm because we're anchored between shoals. So the boat doesn't
roll. But with only a few boat lengths of depth around us we're always
worrying whether the anchor holds, because if it doesn't we'll end up on a
reef very quickly.
Navigating the reefs is tricky work, especially because the charts are
hopelessly wrong. On the way to our current anchorage we had to run over
three charted shoals and two islands in order to not end up on the reefs.
And now we're anchored right on top of one - only it's 12m deep here. Two
boats that came in Saturday trusted their charts more than their eyes and
ran aground. And yesterday a big katamaran came straight at us (and a reef),
then last minute realized that something must be wrong because of all the
breakers and stopped. So between meals and drinks with Irie, the islands,
the Kunas, fixing things on the boat, and crazy navigation action around us
we have our entertainment here :-)