Lobsters, Lobsters & More Lobsters

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Tue 2 Feb 2010 14:40

09 19.629 N  078 15.098 W


We see Kilkea in the bay – it doesn’t seem like nine months have passed since we last saw them.  We got caught up on all the news over lunch and over dinner…in-between times we visited the village of Mamitupu.  This is a very traditional village and it was also Sunday, so family day for the villagers.   This village is very different from Mulatupu, the villagers have family compounds, with fences to identify the families, it is very interesting that the men move into the wife’s family compound.  They have two entrances, a front door and a back door, with up to five huts in these fenced in areas.  They grow bananas, corn, other vegetables we couldn’t see, havefruit trees and lots of children.   Visitors are not allowed to wander through their yards but can walk along the paths and peek into the entrances.  The women come out to show you their babies, actually the young girls – their ages ranged from 14 yrs to 17 yrs, very young to be married and with children.  We really liked the looks of this village,because of the compounds,  trees lined the paths and the trees  growing over the fences provided much needed shade.  The compounds are in a circle  so you wend your way through the shaded paths with always something interesting around the corner, especially the ladies with molas for sale.  We would round a corner and they would pop out with their molas.   They were very expensive, $40 to $60, so the search is on for the right mola at the right price.  Many of the molas they have for sale are the ones they have been wearing so show signs of wear and tear.   We saw a very large pig in a pen, we believe he is going to be the star of the festival this month.  They also had the cane press outside the “Chicha” hut.  This is a very intoxicating drink used for their spiritual events, usually held once or twice a year.  This festival is very private and visitors are not allowed to view any of the festivities.   The press is very elaborate, two substantial pieces of wood dug into the ground, one longer than the other and they are about three metres apart.  About three inches from the top holes have been carved out, a third piece of wood is used to hold and press the sugar cane, this is done by having one of the village men jump on the third piece of wood.  The juice is caught into a bowl and taken in the “Chicha” hut where the sugarcane is brewed with other secret and very special ingredients, viola, ‘Moonshine’!   The villages all seem to have a square with two large huts dominating the squares, the Congreso or town hall, which as I mentioned is the gathering place for all of the villagers, with the Sailas or chiefs swinging on their hammocks.  They have Argars or interpreters who put the Sailas wisdom and songs into perspective and how it applies to the current situation.  The other big hut being the Chicha.   We find as we visit the villages and talk to the Kunas we are gathering more information about their day to day lives. 


The reason we wanted to visit this island was to meet with Pablo Nunez Perez and watch him press out the coconut oil, Kuna coco.  We did meet with Pablo, unfortunately the press was broken, but he did show us around his hotel.  He has four huts with running water and toilets inside the hut, he runs the hotel with his British wife, so he broke with tradition and married an outsider, he is also very far away from the village – we didn’t ask him if he was asked to build his hotel far away or he had the land and chose the spot himself.  Pablo had lived in England for many years so I guess he got away from the Kuna traditions.  If you are interested in seeing his cabanas go to:- www.waica.com or www.geocities.com/mamitupu or mamitupu_resort {CHANGE TO AT} yahoo {DOT} com.   I hope he has photos on his site then you can see his hotel.


We left the village and went for drinks on Kilkea, luckily enough two fishermen came by with lobster and crab.  The crab was “HUGE”, so for $23.00 we had five lobster and one crab that fed four.  We all decided this was a great way to celebrate our reunion…it just doesn’t get any better, the sun setting on the turquoise waters of Mamitupu, palm trees swaying in the wind and a huge feed of lobster.


Ola for now,

DTG to the Panama Canal entrance at Colon: 128 nm