Porvenir, San Blas Islands, Panama

The last day of the passage was a delightful sailing day. We made about 200 miles in the last 24 hours. Arrived in San Blas Islands by 3pm, and for $100 apiece we got through immigrations. I’m surprised by the number of boats here, but I guess it has become a popular place, and of course our Odyssey is also swelling the ranks.

Before the anchor was even set we were visited by local people in boats ranging from outboard skiffs to dugout canoes, offering lobsters and molas (embroidered fabric designs). I sent the ladies in the dugout away, telling them to come back tomorrow. But they were still nearby later when we were settled, so I waved to them and they paddled over. They asked if they could come aboard. Of course. But I didn’t realize that the invitation was assumed to extend to another boat full of mostly teenage girls. No problem — they brought dozens (hundreds?) of molas aboard with them. I asked if I gave them their requested $20 for one, could I take their picture. No problem. Then the teenagers asked ME if they could take pictures of each other on the boat. That was unexpected, but out came the cell phone, and photos and giggles. I haven’t seen my own photos yet, but I hope I got one that juxtaposes the teenager-with-cell-phone and the dugout canoe!

About sea level rise…Yes, this community is going to be one of the first to feel the impact. The islands are sandy cays only a few feet above water. And that’s the high ground! There is an island/town behind us, where the whole cay is covered with houses, mostly on stilts. In the distance is the mountainous backdrop of mainland Panama, clearly a world apart. I supposed it is good that these people have cell phones, and the young people can probably integrate into the mainland society. But that’s also the shame of it, that a whole culture will disappear.

In any case, it is wonderful to be anchored, and anticipating a good night’s sleep. We have places to explore, anchorages to find, reefs to snorkel at. Panama! We’ve come a long way from Maine! I hear there was a blizzard yesterday back home; here it is hot, hot, hot.

2 thoughts on “Porvenir, San Blas Islands, Panama”

  1. I have enjoyed following your posts. It reminded me of our sailing trip from Annapolis to Maine when we where “kids”. Falling asleep at the helm in the middle of the night was a problem then, and appears to be a problem now.. just one of the many challenges of night sailing. Stay safe. Peter


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