Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Mon 18 Mar 2013 12:14
It´s 6 o clock in the morning, Im out in the cockpit. The sky is grey, it is always overcast in the morning. But it is still 24-25 degrees Centigrade.
I can see three boats, I can hear the thunder from the waves crashing into the reeefs 200 meters from us. It is amazing to think that the entire Caribean sea movement crashes right into this reefs. With that comes containers, even a Hallberg Rassy actually has ended up on the reef just close to us. It is an old one and it has been stripped off every piece you can get off her. It looks really sad. A lot of plastic garbage is moving about and the currents sweeps some of that to some places in the archipellago. Most islands I have passed with the kayak look good but some places have gotten a big chunk of western "civilisation". It is sad, but that is the reality. I'm trying to think what the Kuna indians think of all this coming to them. The Kunas live different lifes on different islands. Some are very traditional, for instance here you won´t see any outboards on the dougout canoes, but on other places we understand they have. They do not allow any marriage with others outside the Kuna "race". They actually had a holocaust in the early 1900 when they killed everybody of mixed blood and all the foreigners that hav been giving them a hard time for centuries. After that they became autonomos and have ruled their own territory. Every island has a Congreso about every evening when the village meets for discussions and the leaders will tell and rule what will happen. As I wrote before it is a matriarchi so women rule.
The Kunas we have seen so far are not interested in us other than making business, and that is not much at all. Maybe two boats have been up with women selling Molas, we have bought one. We have been approached once by a some Kunas selling vegetables, and we bought some, the price was very low. We understand a lot of them live on the islands and go in the morning to the mainland where they have a small lot where they grow vegetables, bananas etc. Then they come out to the islands again in the afternoon (they are good sailors) to spend time fishing or be with the family and than at night it is Congreso.
Today we plan on moving to the East Lemons, that is going to be inside the reeefs so we count on a nice sailing (as long as we do not hit a coral head). Spending the night tgere and then go up early to be in Porvenir first thing in the morning to check in to San Blas and Panama.
After tat we plan on seeing some more places and thn moving towards Portobello-Colon-Panama Canal.
Planning on transit in the end of march. We really should move on because then we have only til November to make the entire Pacific and thos passages are loooooong. Sailing Galapagos- Marquesas for instance takes probably a month.
By the way, how do yachtees keep up information etc in a remote place like this? Well with a short wave radio we can go in on something called nets. A net is set up by some yachtees and is runned every morning by a host.
Amazing thing, as you arrive into an area like San Blas you "check in" to this net first time you listen. So you introduce yourselfe and your family.
Telling we had kids made an english boat approach us with their 9 year old sun. He took Erika for surfing on the waves yesterday.
Then when you listen you will get a lot of information, somebody knows of a Kuna named Lisa that takes people on tour in the rainforest, and will tell you about how that was. Very brief, and if you are interested you ask for traffic with that boat,and after the net you can chat. Our friends at Sunrise have a coil that gave up on their outboard, a hopeless part to get, so they asked if anybody knew how to get spares over here. And sure enought they got all that info AND a boat lent them their extra outboard while they wait!
All issues are brought up, like a Congreso, but in an area covering the size of Belgium.
Some people and boats have been here for many years and have a ton of information.
At the same net you will get a weather broadcast of course.
There is a Swedish net in the Caribean, actually we learned about the shooting of a Swedish sailor (In Cartahena) very shortly after it happened, so when we got mails from friends in Sweden warning us to go there we had already that info on the net. Now we are out of the range of the Swedish net and into the Panama Net. The reason is that the frequencies they choose are more "close range", if you are interested in the 8K region. If you broadcast from Sweden to us over here you need to step up to about 12-20K. But if you transmit on 12K to someone close it is hopeless to hear each other. We did not buy a short wave radio because I thought we did not need another piece of equipment,. we had satellite comunication, that´s enought. But Ellinor insisted we get one and when we found one in UK through  Billy, the guy who installed all our electronics, we bought it.Poor Lisa and Gustaf who came to us short after Christmas had to carry an Ishockey trunk with stuff and when I saw the load I could not believe how I would be able to install it. But now it is a great pleasure to have a radio that communicates far beyond the horizon.
And all comunication is free!