Sailing Panama
March - April '04

the San Blas Islands, their Kuna Indians,
and . . . the Panama CANAL!

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Click Here for Chrissi's text about Panama

Click Here to see some of Chrissi's collection of San Blas MOLAS

Kuna Yala
is the semi-autonomous coastal and island region or the Kuna Indians.
The Kunas acheived a level of independence through a bloody uprising
against incursions by outsiders in 1925.
All land is common property, held by the community as a whole.
Elective "congresos" on village and area levels meet frequently
and deal with all aspects of Kuna life.

Above is a rather typical island with one family living on it.


Kuna family in canoe under sail - heading home from the mainland.

Another typical home island.

A typical San Blas Islands
Kuna Indian home.


How wonderful to be back in the
out-back and away from the city!




Beach in San Blas Islands'
Hollandes Cays



Lisa Harris, Kuna master mola maker
came to Naga by canoe
to show some of
her beautiful molas.
Naga's kayak in company
with Kuna canoes when
some Indian friends visited us.



Part of a Kuna family.

We were invited to lunch by some Kuna friends
and Chrissi gave a hand before the fish and bananas were
cooked up in coconut milk - pretty typical fare in the Kuna diet -
in a pretty typical Kuna kitchen.




We hated to leave, but didn't stay long in the San Blas Islands.
We had to get through the Panama Canal to arrive in the good non-hurricane
season period in the South Pacific.

It's a wonderful coastal region between San Blas
and the Canal, and we had to make some stops
along the way to the Canal . . .




Playa Chiquita was a delightful
village, and they had a wonderful
river to explore by kayak.
We made a good stop in
deserted Escribanos Bay too.
Historic Portobelo, where the Spanish
loaded the Gold and Silver plundered from
the Indians and then shipped it to Spain.
This was a handy and
interesting stop. Wow! They have
some wonderfully painted buses here!


And then it became time to deal with. . .

Despite endless stories circulating among the "yachties" about
terrible turbulence in the locks, bursting hardware, parted lines,
and collisions with the lock walls. . .
Our Canal transit was a Piece of Cake!
Good preparation, a great pilot/advisor, and
an excellent team of line-handlers from the
good yacht Marlin Sun made it a lovely, relaxed transit
from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.


We shared the locks with some
pretty BIG company!

We "up-locked" tied alongside a tug,
our preferred way to go up.
When going up - in the first set of 3 locks -
there certainly WAS a lot of tubulence.
Here the water boils into the lock.
Naga's fine hulls have very little resistance
to the water and she sat there as
placidly as a duck on a pond.



Here's another of the main challenges:
when the huge ship ahead
puts power to its huge prop
it creates a huge wash of water!
Again: No problem for us.
Alex proved to be a very skilled
pilot / advisor: immediately sensitive
to what makes Naga different and
very helpful with every maneuver.
Thanks Alex!
He took us through all the scenic shortcuts.
Here we are in the Monkey Cut looking
for monkeys. There were lot's of parrots
on the wing - and crocodiles too!



Late afternoon and in the
last lock at Miraflores!
That's the Pacific Ocean out there,
and when the water leaves the lock
we'll be through the Canal.
When the water drops and
this gate opens, we'll be free again
and in the Pacific!


At the end of a long day, the Bridge of the Americas means
we're through to the Pacific.

If you would like to see live pictures of ships in
the Panama Canal locks: click here.
(opens in a new browser window)


Now we head into the vast Pacific and a 4,000 mile non-stop trip to
Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas group of French Polynesia.
Click Here for that!

Our sailing adventures in photos and textEvery kind of helpful resource for sailors and travelersWeather for sailorsMaking a living onboard or on the roadLinks to friends and related sites

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