Sans Blas - Kuna Yala (this is the land of the Kuna indians)

Sans Peur
Grete & Fred Vithen
Sat 28 Jul 2018 15:09

San Blas - Kuna Yala  16th July - 26th July

Chichime Island 09 35 25N 78 52 78W

Sans Blas or Kuna Yala is a part of Panama although the indians consider is as their own country made up by 365 islands and the shoreline bordering Colombia.

16 July

We leave Shelter Bay Marina at around 11am.

Niklas and Gina on Hafsorkestern, left at 9am but we have to take care of some issues and our payment before leaving. At 11am we called the Cristobal Signal Station to inform about our plans. 

”Look up for the BIG ships and have a great time. Welcome back to Panama again”!!!

”Thank you Sir” !!!

It was rough sailing and a lot of rain but, around 5pm we reached Linton Island and we were  looking for Hafsorkestern, we called on the VHF ch 68, as we have agreed to do. No answer???? They were not at the AIS and, normaly, Niklas always have the AIS open?? We are a bit worried. What happend??

17 July and 18 July

We left very early from Linton Island, at 6.30am, and the sea was much calmer today. The sun was out most of the time. A little rain on the way. We arrived safely at 4.20pm. With help of Eric Bauhaus pilot book and Navionics we managed to find a narrow route throug the coral reef, to Porvenir Island.

9 hours only motoring!! 

Watermaker running, adding 300 liters, tank almost full now. 

Where can we buy a ”Diesel maker” and a ”Wine maker”???

Winds and waves on the nose!!

No fish (probably to shallow waters for the ones we like to catch).

Now we hope to see Hafsorkestern tomorrow in the afternoon.

At anchor just outside Porvenir and it was a bit of a challange, as said, to navigate into this coral ”wood”, but we managed!! 

How are we getting out of here????

We are sourounded by coral reefs. And at the moment we have twenty pelicans having dinner, just close to the boat, they are crazy, diving full speed into the water and coming up eating the fish and look happy. So funny to watch them.

Well, the morning was calm and we had breakfast. Suddenly we had two canooes, with Kuna vomen and children on board, they wanted us to buy Molas, 20$,20$........evrything costs 20$! 

Suddenly we were ”proud” owners of two Molas???!!

Molas is beautiful applique shirts, intricately made by sewing and cutting different layers of colorful cloth. Each mola is unique and shows abstracted forms of birds, animals or marine life.

We took the dinghy to the island Wichubhuala and walked around. The people were nice and friendly and we ordered fish dinner at 5pm in the restaurant.

The fish dinner was exatly as usual, fish (very well done, dry, absolutely no bacteries left) and rice! The men were drinking beers and they got more and more friendly, they wanted to hug and kiss us the whole time. The vomen, as usual, took care of the cooking and the bar.

One of the Sailas (island chief, there are three of them on each island) helped us to install our sim card we have bought on the island. He was not drunk!!! He was a very gentle and serius person and did all he could to help us but it did’nt work out so we gave him the card as thanks for his help.

19 July

Chichime Island here we come! And there’s Hafsorkestern at anchor!!

So good to see that they are ok. A canoe is next to Hafsorkestern and Niklas are on the VHF asking if we are into lobster dinner tonight. Of course!!!

Gina and Niklas cook the lobsters the Swedish way and later we have a beautiful dinner on Sans Peur. Good food and nice company.

Chichime is a very nice exotic place.

20 July

”The swimmingpool” and BBQ Island was also very nice. We ordered fish BBQ on the island. Three men was living there and took care of us tourists. Everything was in perfect order, neat and lots of marine decorations (shells, whale bones etc). And there is a croc in the area as well.


The Coco Bandera Islands was really a pictures ”paradise”. Palm trees, white sand and coral reefs! 

Fred and I did some serious snorkeling, not to many fish, and we miss colours but we saw lots of different beautiful shaped corals.

22 July

Next stop, Isla Tigre. Lots of small kids and youngsters, seems that this island is the ”school island” of this area. We walked the main street and everyone is so friendly, looking happy and greating us with curious eyes. The small kids are adoreable. And all the Kuna indians have beautiful white healty teeth.

We had dinner at the restaurant, fish and fried platanas (not very much to choose from). Very tasty fish.

23 July

Right now we are waiting for the rain to stop. We are heading for the two islands, Nargana and Corazon de Jesus just outside the Rio Diablo. The two islands are connected with a brigde. This is the most ”advanced” communities of the Kuna Yala. A bit of ”sin cities”??

It was only a few NM today, easy-easy and we was almost at the anchor spot when we realised that we were in VERY VERY shallow water, 2,2m 1,8m 1,4m 1,2m STUCK!!!!! Oh no!!!

At the moment we are waiting for the high tide, appr 30 centimeters, at around 5-6 pm.

Fred has been walking, yes walking, around the boat cleaning the hull!!

Not a good day, stuck and the weather is miserable, rain. What a mess! But around 4.15 pm we managed, after several tries, to get of the shallow safely and could find a proper anchor spot. Sans Peur seems to be ok Thank God!!

24 July and 25 July

Back again in Chichime. One night. Hafsorkestern will leave for Colon today. We are heading for the inhabited islands Carti Sugdup and Carti Tupile. We vent into Carti Sugdup  to buy some fruit and veggies. It looks exatly as all the other islands and the weather was not so nice.

We bought some stuff and decided to leave and go to Lemmon Cays. Rain all the way.....! At the moment we are anchored at Lemmon Cays terrible thunder and lightning and the rain is pouring down!!! We and two abounded boats are here, how fun is that???

I’m depressed!!!! Can we have some sun PLEASE!!!

A horrible night! Thunderstorms!! Very very bad not much sleep. 

26 July

Up early and we decide to move on and make a day stop at Dog Island. There is a nice wreck with famous snorkeling. We drop the achor but we are drifting in a strange way and towards the wreck, shallow quarters. It did’nt feel safe so we left and continue to Chichime again, third time!! 

Lots of rain in the morning but the afternoon have been nice. 

Two Kunas pass by in their dogout canoe filled with langosta.

Fred bought the biggest they had. Then sat up our grill we have fresch grilled lobster for lunch. Yummy!Look at his face on the picture!! 

Very friendly Kuna Indians here on these two nice islands.

Tomorrow we are slowly heading back to Colon and Shelter Bay Marina.

1st of August Sans Peur will be hauled out and be on the hard for three days. 

Time for cleaning the hull and new antifouling. This is apart of the necesarry preparations for our visit to Galapagos.

It has been a very interesting ten days in Kuna Yala (San Blas)

Weather vice, no comments!! Ok we had four sunny days!

The Kuna Indians are living on these islands as they have done for many many years, a few more civilised than others. There is a long story to be told about these fantastic people but you, reader, must Google that yourself! 

No internet for ten days!! We survived!


We bought one more Mola!!! We coluld not resist this very traditional piece of art made of 5 different layers of cloth.

Anchorages was for free everywhere.

Our contribution to the Kuna Indians was to buy three molas, langostas from the fischermen and having dinners at the islands where there where very simple cooking facilities plus plenty of beer.