Oct. 31 Ailigandi, San Blas

N09deg.13.5 W078deg.01.6
This town has a hospital on it...and a nice concrete slab next to the school where the kids play basketball. The wooden back boards don't have nets...but a painted circle.
Kuna Indians have their villages on islands...the mainland is used for their crops, and along the river banks they bury their dead in their traditional way. The villages seem so crowded-they live in close proximity to each other--the wood/bamboo huts all crammed in close together. One room for cooking, another bare room for living. A small stool to sit on, and they unroll their hammocks at night to sleep. Outhouse over the water. The people have been very friendly...the women traditionally dressed. The paths are so narrow and palm roof fronds so low, we have to duck and turn sideways to get anywhere. Kuna are supposed to be the shortest people other than the pygmy, but this village has some tall men in it. On Mamitupu we were brought to the main building, the congreso, where we met the spiritual & cultural chief, or sahila. He rules the village from his hammock in the middle of the large stick building--all roofs are thatched. The benches for town people all face in toward the middle. There are 3 lower 'chiefs'--their hammocks were rolled up as they were not there. Michael and another cruiser went into their weekly meeting one early evening along with an interpreter. (They ring a bell to summon the town folk--attendance is mandatory.) It was democracy in action, with everyone having their say. It seemed like a lot of yelling and gesticulating to get their point across. The chief still got things his way! He has many duties in the overseeing of island life. He even gives or denies permission for people to travel to other islands, and doles out 'fines' for any society infractions. We pay an impuesto (tax) to have the privilege of anchoring by their island; charge is $5-10US for up to a one month stay. Kunas pay the same tax to visit other islands too.

Oct. 24 Mamitupu

N09deg.11.2 W077deg.58.6
We motorsailed the 18miles from Isla Pinos with Bruadair today. We enjoyed our stay at Isla Pinos...the eastern San Blas have the more 'traditonal' Kuna villages. We're enjoying the reasonable lobster/crab/fish offers from the hard working fishermen that go out in their ulu's daily. David on Bruadair is an amazing cook--last night we enjoyed crab bisque aboard their boat. The picture is of David, Michael, and our 'guide' Horatio Martinez.

Mamitupu is an island---the guys travel to the mainland before first light to tend to the fruit/veg. coconut plants, and 'get off work' at 1pm. They stop by to say welcome/hello and sell their goods on the way home. Limes, cocos, bananas...we don't have to go looking for too much.

Saturday 10-18-08 Bahia Cholon, Columbia

We're heading out for a 150nm sail to Isla Pinos in the San Blas at first light tomorrow. We've had a great time here in Bahia Cholon...We celebrated PIP the wonder dog's 15th birthday on the beach with a picnic, a swim,and a game of boce ball. (Have you ever met a sailing Australian cattle dog?)... Another trip to the town of Baru was a lot of fun... Yet another cruiser potluck at the Crow's Nest...And a music sing along aboard Queen Mary; their CSY 44 didn't seem crowded with 13 of us aboard!
We'll be traveling in the company of Bruadair, a Hans Christian 33 with Damon & David aboard, to the San Blas. We probably won't have internet until we're at Shelter Bay Marina the end of Nov. So SailMail it is!

Monday, Oct. 13, Discovery of America

Columbia celebrates Dia de la Raza--the discovery of America. It's Columbus Holiday in the States. We celebrated by motor sailing back to Bahia Cholon, Baru. We're happy to be back to this clear, quiet anchorage. We hear the cows moo, the donkey's naeee and the roosters crow in the morning. And the many birds make a ruckus mornings and evenings. We've got an invite for dinner aboard Que Linda already tonight...nice.
We spent yesterday morning getting Michael's crown glued back in. Being a Sunday, and holiday weekend, we thought we'd have problems. We walked to the dental clinic to get their phone #'s. When we called they said they'd be there in 1/2hr. No problem---We didn't want to wait till Tues. (Mon. holiday) since we've got our zarpe out of the country.
We'll enjoy our time here while we wait for a good weather window for our overnight sail to the eastern San Blas. We'll be traveling with Bruadair.
We had a nice visit with Manuel, a nice gentleman we met while wheeling his squash from his garden. The school kids showed us how to eat the anon fruit growing from the tree we were sitting under.

10-10-08 Back in Cartagena

We came back to check out of Columbia (get our zarpe), and to have internet (phone) to hear the news of the arrival of our 3rd grandchild. Luka Michael was born this am. Way to go Jenny & Sean---what wonderful news--we're looking forward to meeting him in Dec!
The anchorage is much more crowded---though we found a spot near the marina where we can get internet aboard---very convenient! Our friends Judi & Dave (FIA) invited us to join them for lunch in Old Town at La Mulata....a very busy place with excellent food. After shopping and getting last minute things, we'll head back to Baru area and wait for a good weather window to do an overnight back to the San Blas islands.

Oct. 6 The Crow's Nest - Isla Baru

We enjoyed a great cruisers potluck at Robert and Carmen's - the 'Crow's Nest'. The view from the ridge up there can't be beat. Another afternoon there was music by Brenda & Gene, (Queen Mary), along with Sonny (Valentina) on harmonica. Queen Mary has been cruising for many years....their CSY holds the keyboard, guitar and amps just fine. Why do I feel so cramped with what I have aboard? The anchorage is peaceful and the company is great. I can see why some boats stay awhile! I've been trying to add pictures to the albums while I have internet.
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Oct.3, 2008 Bay of Cholon - Baru Island, Columbia

After a month at Club Nautico Marina, we made the break from our ties in Cartagena and after filling the tanks with diesel motorsailed the 20miles to this beautiful, protected bay. This area, along with the Rosario's and the San Bernardo's are a part of a national park system....and a playground for rich Columbians. Five other cruising boats are here---Queen Mary, Valentina, Qué Linda, Bruadair, and Wet Bar. We now have clean inviting water, a nice breeze down the hatches, clean air, and calm water. What more can we ask for? Oh the company is great too. Happy hour aboard the trawler Wet Bar let us meet the folks we hadn't met earlier,and get better acquainted with the others. Robert and Carmen have a large house on the ridge where we're going for potluck dinner tomorrow. (See it behind Infini?) He's an ex cruiser, retired LA motorcycle cop who's been in the area for awhile. So, the dinghy's back in the water ready to explore...we're studying for our Ham test...and getting back into the 'cruising mode.'

Marina Life 9-30-08

How can something so cute be such a loudmouth? Lola is aboard the boat next to us with her family....Mom, Dad, and a 1yr. old. She does more barking than any other dog here....more so when her family is off the boat. The boat on the other side of us is getting a total refit....work is going on down below all the time....the workers are very pleasant.
Carmen walks the docks daily calling out "mangoes, papaya's, pinas, aquacate's"; with fruits and veggies balanced on her head.
Unfortunately the harbor is very polluted, with oil spills, debris.....you name it. The marina has tried to seperate trash and 'recycle', but it is too confusing with different barrels in different places. No one seems to even try.
I've been posting pictures on Picasa, since we won't have internet again when we leave here in a few days. The direct link is: picasaweb.google.com/mhbscv, if you don't want to log onto this blog first.