Monday, February 20, 2017

The Kuna and the Snail

Yet another moment to remember when we're back in Alaska
The San Blas are an autonomous island group, nominally a part of Panama, that are the home of the Kuna Indians.

Isla Tiadup, San Blas
The San Blas are one of the marquee destinations in the world "cruising" scene. We have met very experienced yachties who compare the place favorably to the South Pacific, we know people who have spent months and months there on their boats, over multiple seasons.

El Caracol
We arrived in the San Blas  after our rollicking sail from Cuba. And the first thing we did was to reconnect with our friends on El Caracol, a Portuguese family whom the other Galactics had gotten to know in Curaçao last year while I was away in the US for my science work.
Galactic and El Caracol in the background, and the ships' people taking the waters
My immediate impression of the San Blas themselves was a little...blah. The anchorages were packed with yachts, many of them in the charter business, carrying cargoes of backpackers from island to island. Not so tranquilo.

Jorge and the Galactic dudes, post-spearfishing mission
Los Caracoles, though, proved to be a ton of fun. (El Caracol is "the snail" in English, of course. They have a blog, with out-of-this-world photography, at

Here and below - Kuna garb

The progress of global cultural homogenization, written in the dress of three generations of Kuna
So we naturally fell into hanging out with El Caracol, and didn't engage with the San Blas, or the Kuna, much at all.

We bought a few of requisite molas, the traditional appliqué that adorns pillows in many a yacht we have been aboard.

The second anchorage that we visited with El Caracol was an informal Kuna resort of sorts, with accomodation provided for the backpackers who were sunning themselves on the beach.

People took selfies, and uploaded them to Facebook.

El Caracol was off to Colon to be measured for the Canal. They had heard rumors that in either February or March, they forgot which, the number of yachts seeking to transit would make it impossible to book the canal without an agent.

(There is a pronounced negativity trap in the western Caribbbean. More about that in a future post.)

Our minds were already on the blessed Pacific, our home ocean, and at this point, as much our home as any place on shore. More so.

After only five days, we decided to leave the San Blas and go look into our own arrangements for the Canal.

The San Blas clearly has enough admirers already, and we were happy enough not to add ourselves to the list.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, we miss you:) It was really fun being together at San Blas! Good times with great friends...