Friday, July 17, 2009


Kuna Yala with our Boys

Having survived the transit through the Panama Canal, we spent two nights at the Shelter Bay Marina tied to a dock to relax. We put Sal, our hired-hand into a taxi that his father had sent to pick him up for the 2-hour drive back to Panama City. Because we took 2 days to get through the canal we were obligated (gladly) to pay him for 2 days of line-handling @ $90 per day - $180 US dollars.

The rest of our crew explored the rainforest and beaches around the marina and spent several hours in the swimming pool (I did laundry as it was my last chance for a while). Brett volunteered to ride the marina's van with me into the mean, nasty city of Colon to re-provision with yet more groceries. I had grossly underestimated the consumption requirements of young people as far as bread, juice and eggs are concerned. We got to drive across a gate in the canal which was very interesting. Colon has a terrible reputation - high crime area - so we just went to the grocery store.
Finally! We sailed out to Portobello, and then the Kuna Yala, San Blas Islands. It was time for lobster and crab feasts, kayaking, snorkling, and of course heady afternoon snoozes.

Here's Stephanie sprawled out in her V-Berth stateroom (up in the pointy end of the boat). Doesn't she look like a sleeping goddess? She deserved a little nap after all of the water activities. (Yes, I taught her how to knit and she went home with rosewood knitting needles!)

Ryan and Stephanie swam out to a tiny islet snorkling most of the way. You can't really see in this photo - but they are both there, walking around in the soft sand and looking at whatever was there. They reported that there were exactly 7 palm trees on that islet.

So, time to eat! The San Blas Islands are a seafood lover's paradise! The Kuna indians came by occasionaly with lobster, crabs, and fresh fish. We had lobster for dinner one night, and then crabs another night. The killing and cleaning of these critters was horrible! I couldn't do it! Thank goodness we had Josh onboard who really seemed to relish the butchering. Hmmmm...scary?
We were all amazed by the size of one of the lobsters - check out this beauty that Ryan is holding!!A little bit of melted butter, some side dishes and we ate every morsel available.

The crew" wanted to dinghy around the islands so they loaded themselves into our dinghy (named Scooty Puff Jr.). This was a rather new experience - the dinghy wiggles and heaves as more people get in it and move about."Move your foot" "Don't touch my sunburned knee" "How the heck do you make this thing go?" "I'm holding on, but don't rock the boat". Soon they were settled in and ready to go out and explore. Bye explorers!

But too soon, it was time for the big "Goodbye". They all had to go back to their jobs and lives. We motored on over to the shore of the mainland to a tiny place called Carti. The airport on the main island of Porvenir was closed for repairs. Now, you need to know that we are using the term "airport" rather loosely.

Early the next morning we took our guests to shore and walked to the Carti airport.'s the group...doing what we have all been trained to do...waiting. This is the airport building. Yep. This is it. Inside is a counter where they collect the $3 per person tax, and a small kitchen where we got scrambled eggs on bread for about $1 per person.

As we waited, we saw many SUV's and jeeps exit the jungle, cross the airstrip and offload their passengers. This is how some of the local folks travel to the cities in Panama. Carti is the end of the road. There are no more roads south of here - only jungle. There is no road that connects Panama to Columbia and therefore Central to South America. And the road to Carti is only passable during the dry season. During the wet season the road is flooded.

Eventually the little plane arrived, circled the field and landed. Our guests tossed their duffle bags in the luggage compartment and climbed the stairs into the Twin Otter airplane.

Here are my babies, who will always be my little boys, waving good-by to their mom and dad from the tiny windows of the airplane.

Bye!!! Bye!!! Come back again!! Jonesy stood out along the airstrip and waved goodbye to our boys and guests. We sure enjoyed their company and they were the BEST line-handlers. Josh had brought Jonesy his very favorite candy (Abba-Zabbas and Big Hunks) down from the states. Jonesy is still enjoying them - one treat per day. I especially enjoyed having another female onboard. There's a special bond between women and I instantly felt relaxed and happy around Stephanie. We miss you guys every day!

Great post! And I thought the airport in Key West was sparse.... did you teach the girl to knit while she was there? This has got to be a vacation none of them will ever forget.
Always hard to say good-bye, but what a great time you gave them all. Loved reading about it!
Terri I tell you looked like a LOAD of fun~! I just LOVE readding everything you post. I hope your doing well I never hear much from you... I have been a Knitting fool and I am getting better at the socks ( I think) lol. I made a few hats with MY ALL TIME FAVORITE YARN I have had the pleasure to review Uragua Wool (sp) oh my how awesome I LOVE trying new stuff I would LOVE to try Banana... Soy... Buffalo, list goes on lol... I LOVE knitting NEW and exciteing things with NEW and exciting yarns. I AM LEARNING TO SPIN~!~!~!! I am so tickled I did dye my FIRST thing of roving with KoolAde and I LOVE IT I call if Cherry Limeade it is soo pretty but not sure how much hard I can get out of the 2OZ. I would LOVE socks out of it but I really am not good at the drop spindal and would LOVE to see if someone else can acrually spin it with a Spinning wheel... if there is not enough for socks I would LOVE to make myself a hat with it I LOVE the color.... any who I better stop there I am talking 10000 miles a min. lol.
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