San Blas

Michael Hughes and Ger White
Sat 23 Jan 2010 17:03
About 2 weeks into our San Blas cruise, about time for another blog.
This really is a great cruising area--not a huge number of boats come here--perhaps a couple of hundred over the entire hundred+miles archipelago--and most of them in the western sector, where the sea is clearer, the swimming better and full of great anchorages off uninhabited islands surrounded by sand and covered in palm trees. And the whole is inside a protective coral reef, so we get the wind to keep us cool, but little swell from the Atlantic Caribbean sea.
The experience falls into 2 parts. The eastern San Blas is full of very primitive inhabited islands--many with no electricity, phones, running water etc. But lovely friendly people who live in huts made of bamboo walls and palm leaf thatched roofs--crowded together on small attols. The children are striking--lots of them, always smiling, greeting you and following your tour of the island. Living life without television or internet!  We saw very few other boats in this part of the San Blas--most villages we were the only boat anchored. It's not so popular because the water is less clear and it's more rivers and mangroves than sandy beaches. But it was absolutely worth visiting this area, if only to meet the people.
The western San Blas--where we are now--is where the other boats are--great swimming and picture postcard islands. We've visited quite a number--but there are so many to choose from that we've really only scraped the surface. We've met people here who spend months every year in the area. On boats--there are absolutely no resorts here--one ot two Kuna "hotels" which comprise a few huts and a "restaurant" hut serving chicken, fish or lobster. If you really want unsophisticated solitude in a happy environment, this is a place to come.
But this phase has to come to an end soon--we have to start off soon for the Canal--and if we don't get back to civilisation soon, we'll run out of beer--and indeed everything else!  So we plan to stay in the area for a few days more, but to head for Christobal--the Atlantic end of the canal--in 5 or 6 days time.