30, 2000 Green Island, San Blas, Panama
I do hope some of you are still checking our position reports via www.winlink.org on the Internet, because we went out of our way to an island with the greatest name - Ogospibudup - just to send a report! Most of the islands are either "-dups" or "tupus", although we haven't determined the difference. Such investigations seem to be a little beyond the Kunas' and my mutual Spanish.
We sailed by Ogopsibudup on a stunning day with warm sun highlighting the palm trees, the white beaches, and most importantly the greens and browns of the shallow reefs. The wind was light, so we sailed with all up, gently and quietly, just the way sailing in Paradise would be imagined, even to ghosting along in the lee of a beach!
we left the island of Tigre where we had made an overnight stop
after a 20 mile trip up from Snug Harbor, a trip mostly distinguished
by actually catching a fish despite all the drifting seaweed. We
deduce from our fish card that we must have caught a little tunny,
although it looked exactly like the depicted Kawakawa, identified
as a Pacific fish!
Tigre surprised us by being, on the one hand, a relatively uncrowded village despite being on quite a small island, with space around each hut often planted to flowers, corn or other food plants. On the other hand it was very oriented to visitors. There was a small handicrafts store at which we purchased a model sailing ulu carved from wood and properly rigged as well as a "black palm comb". Evidently this comb, about 25 stiff "needles" woven together to make teeth, preceded plastic for hair grooming. Leaving the "store" we set out to stroll along the main path only to find that displays of molas, necklaces and bead bracelets were unfolding from every doorway! How could one expect to buy anything in the face of so much expectation! My stock response was "camino miro, penso, tal vez compro" which more or less means, "I walk, I look, I think, perhaps I buy." I hate not to look. You'd hate to miss something special.. But we already have more molas than I have any idea what to do with, and many of them we've bought for the wrong reasons. For example, we visited the #2 sahila in Tigre (#1 being off island) and paid our $1 visitor's fee) and gave him a boat card, which the old man obviously enjoys collecting. He then introduced us to his family, which proved to include a daughter, her pair of two-year-old twin boys, and the sahila's esposa, a hawkish bitter old woman who more or less demanded we buy one of her molas because she was the sahila's wife, the twins needed milk and she was hungry! What do you do in the face of that? We bought a mola.
So, as pretty a village as Tigre may have been, we were glad to escape commercial pressures once again, and hence sailed north past Ogopsibudup to Green Island (in Kuna called Kanildup). This was a very pretty pool behind yet another palm fringed island, with a breaking reef ahead of us and the light water of shoals all around although sailboat and a powerboat were already at anchor there.
It was a mistake
to think we were far enough away to escape Kuna salemen. I was just
drifting off for a little nappy-poo in the cockpit(Don was off inviting
the new neighbors fr the afternoon noodle), when the most organized
operation to date pulled up alongside in a large canoe fitted with
a big Yamaha. The "captain" was Ildefonso Restrepo, who
We escaped these sales opportunities by investigating on snorkle the reef in front of us with Bob and Kathy (with a K) of Briana. As we were hoping to find a suitable dive site, we got bold and swam through the shallows to the deep side. We were pleased with what we found, but no way were we swimming through there on scuba. Indeed the return trip through to the dinghy, with breaking swells on our butts, was definitely hair-raising as our bodies were projected across coral beds with maybe three inches to spare! Not for the average snorkeler!
The next afternoon
then, after trying to wait out a rainy morning, the four of us broke
out the scuba gear and went around by dinghy, periodically sticking
our faces in the water to scope out the potential. Eventually we
dinghied all the way back across to Ogopsibudup where we'd hear
there was a good dive. And so it proved. The coral, especially in
the first 20', is
Yesterday, we checked another reef to the west of us this time. (This is work we are doing research for our friends' visit!) Our first try was boring, (except as the first one in I saw an large eagle ray, oh joy!), so we aborted after twenty minutes and explored farther west on the reef till we found something we liked, another reef much like Ogospibudup, the highlight this time being a big nurse shark.
cloudy yet again, which we were especially sorry to see as our friends
Diane and Alex landed in Panama City last night. They have two more
nights to spend checking out Panama City, and we have to move the
boat down to the village of Corazon de Jesus, at whose airstrip
our provisions will arrive tomorrow and our guests Saturday, both
at the painfully erly hour of 6:30 AM! We had originally intended
to be in place several days early, but the temptations of Green
Island kept us here to the last minute. Fortunately for us procrastinating
navigators. The clouds are finally burning off and the sun peeking
through. We must live right!