Meeting South African's in the San Blas Islands
MEETING A WHOLE LOT OF SOUTH AFRICAN'S IN THE SAN BLAS:
From Aridup we headed back to the Eastern Holandes (The swimming pool). After we anchored, we noticed that there were 3 catamarans that we had not seen before, and we could see a South African flag. So we took our dinghy over to meet them - Alley Cat, with Alan & Marieta on board. Alan was the owner of Island Spirit catamarans and had left SA in 2009 on the Cape To Salvador race, with the 2 other cats that were also in the anchorage. Mike & Lesley Blamey on Extasea and Des & Carol Elliot on Island Fling. We were invited to Extasea that evening for dinner - which was a great evening, with a number of other cruisers there too. She is a 47ft Leopard catamaran very similar to Indigo, and so had lots of space outside for everyone to stand, sit, chat and catch up. It would seem that most of us had crossed paths at some time in SA!
The next day was the 4th of July - American Independence Day - and we all headed north to the East Lemons, where there was a big party planned. There must have been 20 boats in the anchorage and many (including Time2) put up all their flags. On the beach, some cruisers had organized more flags and balloons, Volley Ball on the beach and a BBQ. Everyone took their own meat and then another dish to share. There were also Jello shots & Tequila Slammers to keep the mood festive! The local Kuna family were also there with their kids and enjoyed the event. I think it was the only 4th of July party that had more foreigners than Americans. While the guys were playing volleyball on the beach, the gals all got chatting and decided to continue the festivities 2 days later ..."Women's Wine on Wednesday"
So we all headed over to Alley Cat on Wednesday armed with wine and delicious snacks. While the men were left to their own devices, the girls had a party! Lots of laughter and dancing!
On Saturday we decided to head back to Portobelo, but about one hour into our trip we saw a boat heading our way that looked familiar - it was Capt Jack on Fantasy. We chatted on the radio and then decided to turn around and meet them in Chichime for the night. On board were Jack & Lorena, Dennis, Negrita and their gorgeous baby Jacqueline as well as another South African couple, Wayne and Debbie. What a small world! Wayne and Debbie (on a Muira called Sunshine) had sailed with Mike in 2004 on the Governor's Cup race to St Helena. While Indigo got shipped back to Cape Town, Sunrise had continued to Brazil and they have been cruising ever since. We all went to shore that night, and had a delicious crayfish and coconut rice dinner prepared by the Kuna. The start of Jack's birthday celebrations!
We are now sailing back to Portobelo for "Round 2" of Jack's birthday, which is a party up at the canopy bar later today. What a festive week this is turning out to be!