Day 115, Year 1: Enroute from the San Blas Islands to Cristobal, Panama
Date: Thursday, February 9, 2006
Weather: Beautiful Day
Location: Overnight Passage from San Blas to Cristobal, Panama

As the sun was beginning to sink below the horizon, we were leaving our anchorage at Acuakargana and Waisaladup islands in the San Blas. We are now headed west into the sunset and should arrive in the Panama Canal area by mid-morning. I find myself leaving the San Blas with a bit of sadness, and at the same time, a great deal of joy. We were only here 4 days, but these islands offer so much and we really connected. I keep thinking of Ernesto Perez’s oldest son, Ian. He is a very bright and thoughtful thirteen year-old. When we said good-bye yesterday, he hugged and kissed me and it was very special. As with teenagers everywhere, he had a CD player attached to his ear most of the time. I asked him what kind of music he listens to and he said the Rolling Stones, Red, Red, White, and U Quatro. I’ve never heard of the last two, but we did have the Rolling Stones in common. I wonder if I will see Ian again someday. Maybe. He has a copy of San Blas cruising guide that has Kuna words translated into English and Spanish. He has added his own column in French. I tried to explain to him that if he could print out his 4-column language guide, he could sell it to all sailors visiting his island. I would have given anything to have a copy of what he had, but there are certainly no copy machines on Sugtupu. There is one computer, however, but I’m not sure there is a printer. Maybe someday I will come back and have the time to help him print his language guide. For now, as I leave here, I have happy thoughts of the people we met and am a little sad that we didn’t have more time to spend with them.

We spent our day at Disney World today. We headed over to Waisaladup mid-morning to explore and to snorkel. The island is narrow and you can see the ocean surf across the island. The part of the island where we beached the dinghy looked like a coconut tree park. The area under the trees was cleared so that you walked on sand from tree to tree. As we walked further down the island, there was more vegetation under the trees, and it was beautiful in a different way. We rounded the tip of the island and watched the waves of the Atlantic as they crashed on the reef and then headed back to where we had left the dinghy and went snorkeling. We were over sand at first and then weaved in and out of the coral reef that follows the shore of the island. The fish were not as big, and there wasn’t quite the variety that we saw in Bonaire, but the coral was beautiful and colorful. There were so many different kinds of coral, and the soft corals swayed with the ocean surge. I found myself swaying with the coral and truly spellbound by all of the colors. I thought that if Disney were going to build a fake coral reef for children to snorkel in, it would look just like this. Neon green coral, purple coral, yellow coral, red fish, blue fish, yellow fish . . . it was beautiful. We went back to Windbird to have lunch and then headed back for one more walk and one more snorkel before leaving. On our walk we watched the pelicans fly overhead and land on the water close by. In the water, the sunlight was just right and the colors were even brighter than in the morning. We saw some fish that were new to us, and some old favorites. We watch a spotted ray for a long time and swam with schools of neon blue chromis and blue tangs. We chose this anchorage because the guide said it was good for snorkeling, and indeed it was. It was a very good choice for our last snorkel in the Atlantic. The next time we put on our snorkel gear, we will probably be in the Pacific Ocean.

We are moving along under a moon that has only a few days until it will be full. There’s not a lot of wind tonight, so we might be motoring to Cristobal. Right now we are motor sailing and listening to Jimmy Buffet. I’ll check in tomorrow to let you know how things go.

060209 Day 115 West Holandes Cays, San Blas