Saturday, April 08, 2006

Arrived in San Blas

We had probably the best sail this year from Curracao to San Blas. We had perfect winds of 15-20 knots right behind us all the way. The weather was hot and dry and the sea was gently rolling with us. We had peaceful night watches with only the odd ship passing by and the occasional visit from a flying fish. We had really good current with us so were flying along so much that we had to slow down on Thursday and took the chance to practice heaving too (basically stop the boat just off the wind by balancing the sails - this is what we would do in a storm). While we were playing around some dolphins came to see what we were up to. Just after the sun came up on Friday morning palm trees appeared on the horizon in little bunches - this was the San Blas. We approached carefully as you cannot rely on charts for coral atols as they are always changing. The closer we got the more exciting it was. These islands all look like something out of the movies and there's hundreds off them. Sand fringed islands just above sea level covered in palm trees and nothing else. We had a reality check as we saw the hull of a yacht wrecked on the reef as we approached Hollandes Cays. We passed in through the islands and reefs into calm waters behind. I was nervously watching for reef patches on the foredeck when the fishing reel went as we'd caught a fish. After a quick fish drill Andrew landed a reasonably sized Wahoo. We edged our way into a lagoon behind a largish island and anchored just off the most perfect beach with islets dotted all around us. They call this area the 'swimming pool' so we immediately grabbed our snorkels and went exploring. The first fish we saw was a huge sting ray swimming just beneath us - amazing. We explored the reef and then swam to the island. Completely uninhabited and totally beautiful - I cannot describe you'll just have to wait for pictures - we felt like we had arrived. We walked to the windward side of the islands and snorkelled in huge hot pools behind the reef. We found a conch and were really excited so went hunting for more and found enough to make a small meal. We also found a lobster but without anything to catch him he was a little too vicious and went for us when we went near him so we left him under his rock. We swam back to R2 with our second catch of the day. Early evening we pumped up the kayak and paddled over to another island. Two small settlements exist on this island - Cuna Indians. Their houses were wooden huts with roofs made from coconut palms. The areas around the houses were neat and orderly. There is no water supply or electricity on the island. They have small fishing boats with sails as well as canoes that they take off for the day fishing. We headed back to R2 for a feast from the seas. We had spicy conch chowder followed by wahoo and salad - what a yummy treat. We hope to spend a few more days in this paradise before heading for Panama.

It is James's 7th Birthday today - have a very happy birthday James and don't eat too much cake! x x


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