After spending several days at sea dodging reefs it was nice to be able to take Dagmar to the archipelago of San Blas for a real sailing holiday. Known as the traditional home of the Kuna Indians, San Blas is a sailing paradise. We travelled from one group of coconut palm covered cays to another for the week. Azure water surrounded the islands inside their barrier reefs. The reefs sheltered us from the Caribbean swell as we sailed so it was very calm. It was a delightful way to finish off Dagmar’s tropical holiday with us.
We heard there was to be a cruiser’s flea market and social event at one of the small group of cays on the Saturday so we headed there. Once in there it became obvious that it was going to be an Aussie takeover. We hadn’t seen any Australian boats until we saw a familiar one from Santa Marta as we left Portobello. When we arrived in the cay that hosted ‘Elephant Bar’ we spotted a few more. Then word got around that there would be a good old fashioned Aussie BBQ for Australia Day. More Australian boats arrived before sun down. The Captain kindly obliged and remained the extra day so we could partake in the festivities. I was honoured to have Dagmar and Thomas join in as guests as they mingled in with the true blue good value Ockers. They enjoyed such culinary delights as home made meat pies and snags off the barbie. It was a lot of fun and a great way to catch up with people going through the canal.
Thomas and I found a nice reef in front of the cays and had a good snorkel before we
headed out to some more remote and isolated cays. It was Dagmar’s birthday after Australia Day and we found ourselves in one of the most beautiful places where we could celebrate. We were beginning to get a bit low on supplies and we were lucky enough to be given three eggs from Liz off one of the Australian boats, so I could make her a carrot birthday cake. I actually had to supplement some of the carrot with pumpkin and missed out on a few of the other ingredients but it wasn’t too bad, albeit a bit lob-sided from sailing on a port tack while it was baking. She didn’t mind and it sure tasted delicious. A fisherman had needed some fuel so Thomas swapped him a fish for it. So Thomas and Dagmar had fish and chips for the birthday lunch. I think Dagmar had cake for dinner.
After spending a few nights out amongst the Coco Bandereo Cays it was time to head back to civilisation to return Dagmar to Germany and for me to catch a plane for a quick visit back to Oz see family and friends before heading into the Pacific. I am writing this as we calmly sail in between cays. We’re on a starboard tack on a close reach as we guide gently through the waves. Other than the reefs themselves, giant floating tree trunks from the rivers are the biggest danger out here. These jungle giants wash up on the shore of the cays and play their role in terra-forming catching the sand behind them. We have to keep a look out as they float around.
Apparently about two or three boats a year meet their demise on the reefs. A newly wrecked yacht was perched upon the reef of the first cay that we visited. Cruisers who had been here a year said that it had only been there for two weeks after the captain, trusting his electronic maps, tried to come into the anchorage at night. Not recommended. Other wrecks littered the reefs in various places. A tough lesson and one that we don’t want to learn the hard way. We are getting plenty of use out of Thomas’ Christmas present – a hand held depth sounder. Lots more photos below.