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Day 111 - Isla Porvenir

PANAMA | Monday, 22 September 2014 | Views [243]

Sailing through the night we arrived in the archipelago of the San Blas islands at Isla Porvenir (the first of 340 of them) at sunrise.

We were now officially in Guna Yala lands with the most important cultural lesson to heed being never to help oneself to a coconut (even from the ground) on any of the islands. The Gunas each own a coconut palm & the coconuts are the mainstay of the islands' economy alongside lobsters, crabs & octopus.

For everything else other than the coconuts, seafood & some of the molas made by women the Gunas rely on passing sailboats, for everything from salty crackers to power to charge the few mobile phones shared amongst the tribe.

The Guna Lands are independent from but remain part of Panama, running their own Congreso with all affairs governed by tribal chiefs or Sailas. These are not only political leaders but the holders of Gana spiritualism, medicine, knowledge & history.

While Gunas are not able to marry non-Gunas, interestingly life on the islands operates in a matrilineal society where women control the money, pick their husbands, decide when they're nature enough to marry & the men are required to move to the women's compound.

While taking in some Learnings about the Gunas it was a relief that we all felt better by morning. Well mostly, poor Lindy who was still struggling a bit. Most of us had a dip in the ocean to cleanse off & then settled in for fruit, cereal & strong Colombian coffee on deck. We waited until about 9am and swam to Isla Porvenir (passports in the dingy) set to pass through immigration & officially leave Panama.

Back on deck we all lazed about for most of the morning. Henrique & I made a tasty salad & crusty bread for lunch for everyone & then set we sail for Isla Waisaladaup in the Holandes Cayes. I didn't take a seasick pill & found the journey pretty smooth (thankfully).

We arrived late afternoon, swam to the island and then retuned back for dinner - a Yuka, carrot, mince & tomato type stew with some Chilean vino tinto. Another fabulous creation by Henrique & I - the unofficial chefs on the Perle.

By 7.30pm it was dark, we were full and all quickly being rocked into a food coma. Everyone was in bed by about 8pm crammed under deck to escape the rain.

It would have been around 11pm when I woke up sweating in between Becky & Lindy in our tiny cabin bed that is a real stretch for three people. I decided to sleep in the light rain on the deck instead, waking up every now & then to peak at the stars and watch the lightening crack through the sky.


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