Alone Like a Rolling Stone

No Wind on the San Blas

We are on the way between Achutupu and Aritup. Coming from Obaldia, where we cleared in Panama, we went to the small bay Puerto Perme. From there we made our way to Isla Pinos or as it is called in Kuna, Tupbak, the whale. Tup means island and bak is the whale, as a Kuna explained to us when we visited the small village on the island. We waited a few days to maybe get some wind from the right direction so we wouldn't have to do everything under motor. Unfortunately, the wind conditions are pretty lousy and at least now, mostly along the coast with a maximum of five knots, for sailing, not very helpful. Unfortunately, there is also the fact that the wind changes in the afternoon to north or northwest. Therefore we are between the small islands mostly with the engine on the way. If there is no wind on the San Blas, we have to use the machine.

San Blas Islands, Panama

On Isla Pinos we pass the time by visiting the village, exploring the beach of the island and taking a trip with our Kuna into the mangroves offshore. The mangroves are always very exciting. Numerous animals, especially birds live there. We see quite a lot of them. But also crocodiles, snakes and monkeys use this habitat. When the monkeys discover us, they make a hell of a spectacle. They are curious, come closer, but stay in the safe treetops.

Monkeys in the magroves, Panama

After five days we leave for Achutupu. The village, which completely occupies the island, has 2500 inhabitants. Here, too, a tour guide is happy to show us his village. Of course, we strangers have to go to the chief, which is the custom and was not different in Pinos. Since just in the village a new house for the Congress is built, I wish him all the best for the new house and always a wise decision. He was very happy about that. The Kunas hold so-called Congresses in their villages. Here problems of the community are discussed and decisions are made. The women are mostly dressed in traditional costumes and have nose rings. Countless children run after us and look at us attentively. The people are very friendly and happy that we are interested in their culture. At some point we end up at the town clerk's office and pay our ten US$ for the anchorage. They can't or won't answer the question what happens with the money, I wish they would use the money for their plastic waste disposal, but as it looks here in the sea, this is not the case. Too bad, so an idyll will gradually go down the drain and eventually no one will be interested in the area. Remains only to hope that it is an exception here in Achutupu. It would be good for the people to develop an understanding not to endanger their habitat even more, because one thing is clear, it is threatened in the meantime.

Achutupu San Blas, Panama

But even from a short distance the small islands, with their palm trees or their villages look picturesque. As we pass Ailigandi, the village seems to me like the one inhabited by the indomitable Gauls in the comic strip "Asterix & Obelix". Inevitably, I see the fish flying through the village during every fight. Despite the many islands or just because of that, you also have to watch out like hell in the San Blas Islands. In addition to the approximately three hundred islands, there are also countless underwater reefs and shoals that must be navigated around. The maps of Eric Bauhaus are recommended there.

Outer reef San Blas, Panama

It is very unlikely that we will meet our friends from Santa Marta again in the San Blas. The Flip Flop and the Lady Blue left yesterday and are making a stopover in Cartagena. We haven't heard anything from the Fulmo yet. We are more likely to meet her at Linton Bay Marina or Shelter Bay Marina. We will see. In any case, we are looking forward to the south of the San Blas Islands before we get to the touristy north. So far anchoring has been very relaxed as we are mostly alone in the bay. On the AIS today, approaching Aridup, we can see a French yacht, but we will certainly find room. At least we can see, a bit off the mainland, at seven meters, the bottom and isolated coral sticks, which is not exactly tingly when sailing ahead. But we trust the charts and have only five miles to go. In this sense we wish you as always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip. How it continues on the San Blas Islands, you can read next week in the same place again.

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