Tuesday, December 18, 2012

San Blas....1985

Soo often we are asked:
After all your travels…What's your favorite place on this planet?

Hmmm, let me think.
Do you mean: For work, for its climate, nature? 
Culture, food, the people….?

Well, of course we like it here in Japan.
If’s safe, we have the sea and the mountains, it’s reasonable clean, 
we have great friends, have nice jobs, can do & enjoy our hobbies, 
luff the seasons (if it’s not too hot or too cold) and…and… 
And yes Japan is also a great place for cruising around by sailboat. 

But….a special place we always think of with fond memories are the
San Blas Islands 
in Panama.
A group of islands on the north coast, east of the entrance to the Canal and stretching towards the Columbia border.
In November & December 1985, we spent a few weeks cruising around these islands on board of Jan Haring.  
Those were the days: 
Pre-GPS, pre-electronic charts and other Hi-tech boat stuff….pfff, like a fridge!
(Good Old Days?)
Also, those were the days we would see no other sailboats for weeks, just be by ourselves and in these islands sometimes with some locals.
(Yes, Good Old Days).

See here a few scanned slides/pictures from that time…..
Sorry not the best of shots and quality, but they tell a story.

The pink line was our direct dash from Aruba to the San Blas.
In the eighties any and every body liked to stay far away from Columbia Waters...as pirates and drug runners were a serious problem.

Here Marijke is handling the sextant ...to take sun-sights...
She'll would say BANG and i had to write down that moment's GMTime...to the second correct. 
Then after a lot of calculations we could figure out our position.....
at least.... more or less....with-in a few miles!!

Yes it was a fast and windy down wind run, 
with piping trade winds....and thus
according waves (here looking astern).
So timing it was when taking those sun-sights ...
BTW, just wonder how many cruisers out there (still) know how to find their ship's location by using a sextant....

And then.....
So peaceful, calm flat seas, pretty scenery, fish and lobster loaded clear blue waters...

Some of the San Blas Islands are inhabited..., some are not.
(drinking-water is always the problem).
The people of the San Blas Islands are Kuna Indians.
Jan Haring was anchored in front of this island for a week... 
we had an Amazing Time with the family.
Sharing meals, going fishing & snorkeling, working in the gardens (on the mainland), playing with the kids, reading stories...(no body spoke English and some only a little Spanish..), even going for walkies around the place....;-)

1985...being puppies ourselves..

Grandma and some kids visiting Jan Haring.
Tradition of the married women is to have their wedding ring pierced thru the nose....
Marijke had to do a lot of talking why her ring wasn't .
And wouldn't.

Local Mass Transport.

Ahh, a visit to the Big Smoke.
This village even had a store...where the locals were buying goods and paying for with....
Brown Coconuts!  
(3 were good enough for a bottle of coca-cola, 1 was an onion...).
Copra, the main source of money making for the Kuna Indians.

Plenty and happy kids!

Very few possessions could be found in any Kuna Household.
Like a pair of scissors...Nope.
So when Marijke told them she had scissors....
wow, a job was landed....
In return Marijke herself was given a traditional Kuna hair-cut.

Marijke showing off her hair-cut and...
The Catch of the Day!

After a few wonderful weeks it was time to move on, heading in the direction of the Panama Canal. But first a stop in
The harbor's ours!

 Jan Haring, sailing along nicely.
Our Home for 19 years and good for 80.000 miles.


1 comment:

  1. The good old days for sure, we don't even learn the sextant anymore, we are spoiled what can we say LOL

    Only hard thing it get harder to mix with the locals, just have to go a little further.