position N09 26 751 W78 50 195

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Thu 9 Jun 2016 03:30

Wednesday eve 08 June.
I took a dinghy ride over to our island after breakfast and having found a large plastic raffia sack I worked my way round the perimeter picking up the litter. Mostly plastic bottles with some flip flops, polystyrene cups, glass bottles, insulation fragments etc. By the time I got round to the beginning the sack was full to overflowing and I propped it up with 2 other plastic bags that someone had already filled. Maybe the coconut famers would burn it with the leaves or maybe it will still be there in 10 years time. I have made a mental note to come back and check.

Diana had a go at snorkling over the coral bank but doesn't like being out of her depth and after an attack of jellyfish she swam briskly back to the boat.

With just enough breeze to keep the genoa filled we drifted along westwards and decided to have a look at the next village on route. The book recommended a shallower anchorage a little further out from the island and as I am keen to minimise anchor lengths for hauling we spent a little while picking a route through the coral to the recommended spot.

This island (Rio Sidra) is actually two villages which were once separated by a canal. The canal has long since been filled in so there is no physical border but the two remain distinct adminstratively. For the 1st time we were met at the pontoon by an english speaking guide who showed us around and took us to the office of the east village -Mamartupu, where we paid our visitor fee of $2 each. Then we reached an unmarked  point in the street where he asked us if we wanted to proceed  as it would cost us another $2 each for Urgandi. As a Marmatupian he didn't seem to think that Urgandi was worth the money but we paid up and were rewarded with another 100 yards of housing and the school and hospital.

The negotiations for Molas were a little strange- on Tigres they were desparate to sell at 5-10 dollars but here one lady  had 2 similar pieces that Diana liked but at $20 each she didn't want both. The seller however wouldn't sell the one for any price. $40 for 2 or forget it. So we passed on that deal but then our guide took us to his house where we were showed more molas and this time more out of politeness than need for molas I made an offer on a T shirt. The guide then disapeared for a long time on the pretext of consulting his wife before returning to say that the  offer was acceptable. It seems that the cogresso who run the village affairs have a strict control on molas transactions.

The guide told us that he used to work for the chief who owns a hotel on an adjacent island where wealthy Kunas can stay for $90 per night. I suspect that the chief is doing rather well from the Mola trade.
I am intrigued by Kuna economics- it would be very interesting to know if it is a socialist ideal or the usual free market rife with corruption. It has to be said that no-one appears to be hungry or uncared for and the kids are  certainly very happy and healthy.

We learned that the girls have to be 13 before they can wear the molas decorated blouses and black and green printed skirts with pretty ankle and wrist bangles. In practice it seems that more mature ladies wear the traditional costume -teenage girls preferring T shirts and shorts.  We were shown the party house where village celebrations take place and drinking of fermented sugar cane juice occurs- otherwise alchohol doesn't appear in the shops or in the restaurants at all.

Our guide disapeared again to buy bread rolls for us- he could buy at 5c a roll whereas we would have to pay 10c. Then on the way back to the dinghy we were offered a bucket of Langoustine for $5 and a good sized fish for another dollar. So better stocked than expected we gave our guide a $5 tip and motored back
-on the way swapping with a passing canoeist one of the langoustine for a couple of mangos.

So after a just moderate sunset (we are getting picky) we enjoyed our 1st fresh fish supper having failed again to catch anything for ourselves.