Saturday, April 29, 2017

San Blas Islands

We have heard of the San Blas Islands for years.  They are part of Panama but have retained their independence and are governed by the Kuna Indians. They are a group of islands that are little more than sand, palm trees and mangroves. Each small island belongs to a family and often they live on them.  The houses are traditional made of coconut fronds for the roof, there is no infrastructure on many of the islands but we have seen solar panel on the top of the grass huts. I thought the islands would be isolated and idyllic but it was not so at the first couple we visited. 
The islands have been discovered by tourists, I do not know why I thought they would not have been. At the first place we stopped, long skinny fibreglass boats powered by big motors with covers for shade from the sun on them commuted back and forth to the main village where there is an air strip.  They would offload people and luggage, usually big backpacks on to the island.  There were huts for rent on the island and also space for tents.  There were about 20 boats in a very small anchorage, many of which contained upwards of 10 people, all young with various shades of tan.

The next place we stopped to check out a good snorkelling spot was even busier, more boats, people strolling the beach or lying under the palm trees, bars set up under thatched palm roofs.  The coral was beautiful on an old wreck really close to the beach but the anchorage was tricky and there was a big current running past the boat, so we picked up anchor and headed further away from the village and the air strip.  

We found what we were looking for in the Holandes Cays. It is a calm quiet spot with a few boats anchored a ways away . There was great snorkelling with lots of fish just a short  swim from the boat.  A young family of Kuna lived ashore and we would see them out fishing and the kids playing in the sand. The weather has been very hot, so it is great to just be able to jump off and cool down when ever we want to. We have been away from a grocery store for week now and fresh supplies are greatly diminished. I am trying to eat up all our stores so we won't have much to get rid of when we leave for Canada. There is a net in the morning and apparently there is a vegetable guy that comes around in a boat, I willl keep my eyes peeled for him. So far no other boat has come and approached us which I find a little strange, usually out in the middle of nowhere people on boats usually at least acknowledge each other, I guess when I feel the need to talk to another human being besides Barry, I will have to make the effort.