Kuna Yala

Blue Sky's Voyage
George & Michael
Thu 15 Oct 2009 22:08
Hello Friends                "9:35.24N 78:52.89W"
We enjoyed a good sail down here from San Andres - more or less as expected and the GRIB wind prediction was pretty accurate too. We hoisted sail at anchor in San Andres, sailed out of the channel at over 7 knots and sailed most of the way to Panama, coming up as the wind backed about half way and getting deliberately too far east which allowed us to bear away and fly through the second night at 7 to 8 knots in pitch blackness with 18 to 20 knots on the beam in thick cloud and occasional downpours (all on George's watch !!). So 260 miles and 45 hours later including a small amount of motoring near the Panama coast, we arrived in the San Blas islands, more properly known as Kuna Yala at lunchtime on Monday.
We know that you're used to enthusiastically looking at the blogs and maybe then regretting it as you look out of your temperate latitude windows at the cloud and drizzle. So for the faint hearted, probably best to skip this blog as it really is paradise here and we mustn't add to your Seasonally Affected Disorders.
And for the brave, just to get you in the mood, here's where we are now...
OK, so that didn't hurt too much? [And for those viewing in Australia, yes Jules, the colours are real.]
Since the San Blas is justifiably popular, we encountered quite a few dugouts with local vendors when we anchored. But after nearly 3 years in the Caribbean we're more resistant to the sales pitch these days (or so we thought). We just stopped at El Porvenir to check in to Panama and then moved to our present location - the Chichime Cays a couple of miles away. This is a reef protected anchorage with 2 (and a bit) cute islands with Kuna homes bordering a good anchoring channel. The pic above is looking north and you can see the waves breaking on the reef behind and to the R of Blue Sky.
The Kuna are famous, amongst other things, for Molas - intricately sewn handicraft which is best explained by a google search and a pic. We bought a couple of molas from this lady, Lucy, which she's displaying for you.
(sorry about the white-out - difficult to photograph with our soggy camera, but Alex will bring a super duper new camera out in November.)
Here's a sample of another mola we bought today from Venancio Restrepo, master mola maker from Mormake Tupu. Again the camera doesn't really allow me to show you the superb detailed fine stitching, but next month...
We've been here 3 nights and already we have about a dozen molas, which of course we don't need. So if you see one you fancy, then drop us a line and we'll have Matt bring some back to the UK for posting to you next year... sometime. This one above we actually quite like, it's about 16 inches wide.
Other snippets from the cruise:
George opened a book from a bookswap the other day and found $100 in the book - we can't remember where the book came from unfortunately as some cruiser is out of pocket.
Matt and Michael found excellent bottom cleaning tools in San Andres and Blue Sky is now entirely without barnacles or weed thanks to a wide scraper and wide stiff brush.
Gabriel at Nene's Marina in San Andres was happy to do provisioning and we're now ballasted with $1,000 of decent wine to last us through our San Blas sojourn.
The lobsters and fish here are great and good value and we're having Lobster Bisque for dinner tonight made by Matt under guidance from the George culinary school. This is just as well as we caught nothing on the way down and Michael even managed to lose some tackle - ouch!
Recommended reading prior to our Canal Transit next month - "The Path Between the Seas" by David McCullough, ISBN 0-671-24409-4 in paperback.  A most comprehensive and fascinating account of the canal construction in 3 parts - the French efforts; the interim period and cessation of Panama and finally, the US completion of the canal.
Get your copy from Blue Sky's Bookseller By Appointment - "BooksBooksBooks" of Tenbury Wells - Diana on 01584 819587 will be pleased to arrange a copy for you.
Not much else to report today, it's an absolutely glorious afternoon with a very few wisps of fluffy white clouds to punctuate the aching gorgeousness of it all. Harmony prevails aboard Blue Sky despite the final photo, which was supposed to be a Lord of the Flies battle between Matt and George but actually looks as though they're propping up a coconut palm, anyway... Another lovely evening in the cockpit beckons with good food, good wine and good company.
We hope all our friends and readers are well, wherever you are.
Best Wishes
George, Michael and Matt