Tuesday, April 10, 2018

YOLO at Banedup and Chichime Mar 2018

It seems everything cruisers need to bring back from shopping is heavy.  The mega-sized Miracle Whip, mustards, and booze was about all the bags could carry from Steve's visit to Panama City.  Cheap booze seemed to be most important.
The plantains finally get ripe.
Karen at the bow of Forever Young.
Coconut palms line the white sand beaches here.  A crocodile was spotted near here and there are stories of it biting people and dogs, so we watched for it.  Only saw it once.
The rock ledge at the water's edge is unusual.  Mostly, the land just slopes up from a beach.
A yacht anchored in front of us near Banedup.  He was in the middle of a sandy spot that looked inviting.
Jason tying the snubber line to take up any shock from the anchor chain.
Lobster dinner before...
and after cooking on the grill.
Tiende Island, where we gathered to do a beach cleanup and burn trash.
A dinghy tied to a coconut palm.  Note the turtle grass in the shallow sandy water, but we rarely saw a turtle anywhere in these islands.
Jason adding more trash to the fire.
Looking down the beachfront. 
More trash and plastic picked up on the beach to be burned. The garbage that floats or is blown ashore is a real problem here as there is no way to get rid of it.  In the outer islands, the plastic may have floated in from hundreds of miles away and been blown in over the reef during a high tide.
Quite the roaring fire for a while to dispose of all of the junk.  Bottles and cans were carried away for proper disposal, but plastic and boat trash got burned.  There is no trash disposal system for any of the islands and the locals tend to just throw everything into the water.  It then ends up along the  beach of the next downwind island or the mainland shore.
Pretty waters near the Swimming Pool anchorage.
Jason relaxing in the cockpit.
Steve launched his drone camera from the back deck of the boat.
Steve flying the drone.  That's the trusty BBQ grill in front.
The drone back on board, with our snorkel gear rinsed and drying along the deck with it.
A local caught a big fish and Steve bought it.  He had the fisherman clean it for us as those fish scales end up everywhere.
The cleaned hogfish.  Dinner on the BBQ tonight.
We even caught our own mackerel while trolling a line between islands one day.
Some of the islands are tourist destinations. Some local Panamanians come out to the islands for long weekend visits, too.
This San Blas Ferry is wrecked on the outer reef off of the Chichime cays.  We snorkeled all the way out there and found the ladder still intact to climb aboard if anyone was brave enough to cross the last waves that came crashing in at the edge of the reef. 
This single sailboat was wrecked just a bit further down the reef.  These waters can be treacherous if you don't have good light and good engines to move around among them.  And if you have problems and can't get away from the reefs on the outside, this is what can happen.
The island in front of us as we anchored at Chichime.  We got fresh Kuna bread here and Steve bought some gorgeous big shells.  Kuna bread is like pointy extra-large bread sticks.
The island behind us at Chichime.  There were several tourist huts for rental on the beach where folks sleep in hammocks.  This is a busy destination on the weekends and backpacker boats often come here.
A backpacker boat we saw in Colombia arrives here in Chichime loaded with people. 
Floating blow-up ducks are toys for visitors.  That is Forever Young in the center of the shot.
A single starfish in the sand and shallow water. The water distorts the photo.  We saw lots of starfish on the sandy parts of the shallow waters here.
Steve standing up as he drives the dinghy.
A broken dugout canoe provides a swinging seat or hard hammock now.
An outhouse at the far end of the Chichime island of Ushutupu.
The nice helmet shell Steve bought here still had part of the animal in it.  So he asked this guy to clean it out for him.  It was his family that sold it to him, so he agreed to do it, no problem.
He poked, and shook it over and over while his son played with the snorkel.  He eventually got it cleaned and brought it to us as we were about to leave the island.  As we headed further west, the Kuna traditional dress was seen less and less.
A slice of perfect papaya on the playful plates we had onboard.
Steve's helmet shell.  He can use it as a shell horn, too.  Just pucker up and blow.
The other side of the helmet shell.  Gorgeous, but sad that they kill these animals just for their beautiful shells.
There were tons of flat sand dollars around, as well as these poofed up sea biscuits.  They are too delicate to travel well without being crushed, so I left a few huge ones on the boat.
The vege boat arrival is always a welcome event.  Like having a supermarket pull up to your door to shop.  The one guy uses his shoulder to hold the stick to hang the scale from.  Many items are sold by weight; some by the piece.
This is a very long vege boat.  They tie up, we point and tell them what we want and they hand it up.  Tally the total and pay the man in cash.  I always asked for "a little bit extra" in Spanish, with a smile, and they always gave me something extra at the end. A little pineapple, some limes, a lettuce, a couple of passionfruit...  It was a phrase I learned in Bogota and these guys were always surprised a white woman even knew it.  They smiled, shook their heads and handed over the bonus goodies.
The Sargasso weed blew in on a high tide at Chichime and just covered the beach.  That is our dinghy we had to land through it.
Piles of it were raked off the beach where the rental huts were.  The locals heaped it into wheelbarrows and dumped it a few yards inland into a huge pile of dried turtle grass and Sargasso weed.
A floaty toy flamingo for the guests to play on.
A pretty palm on the leeward side of Ushutupu at Chichime.
The front end of the top dugout canoe reminds me of a turtle's head.  They get beat up and worn in different ways from their use.
The view along the leeward side of Ushutupu Dummat at Chichime.
Note the palms that have fallen over into the water.  Seems the boat wakes and high tides are causing so much erosion that the trees are being undercut along the shore and fall in eventually.  Perhaps it's the rising ocean levels....
A hammock in front of a rental hut on the beach. 
Jason in the shade of a coconut palm.  We walked all around the islands here at Chichime.  Didn't take very long.
Karen at the far end of the Chichime island of Ushutupu Dummat.
Kuna women don't want their photos taken and get quite angry if they see you pointing a camera their way.  So I tried to take a photo with the camera at my side.  Not great, but you can see a bit of their colorful traditional dress.
Jason tossed a coconut through this basketball hoop tied to a coconut palm.  I caught the action just as the coconut dropped through for two points.
A sandpiper poking through the weeds and trash that wash ashore here at Chichime.
Colorful sheets flapping in the wind to dry.
Molas for sale at the restaurant/bar on the island at Chichime.  The sun fades the colors quickly on these reverse-embroidery pieces of cloth art.
A local decided that raking the Sargasso weed out of the water was too hard and started just raking it down to the end of the island to let the current take it away.  It worked.  Forever Young is the white boat in the background, anchored between the two islands at Chichime.
 A Jason and Karen selfie at Chichime.
This man took his bulldog into the water to cool off.
Steve bought me a smaller Triton shell on the island where he bought his shells. A nice gift.
A treasure from Chichime. 
Beach view at Chichime.
More beach views.  No wonder it's a popular destination with locals.  It's close to the mainland so it's easy to get here.  It's near the western end of the San Blas, with easier access by boats.
This single structure is noted simply as 'Kuna house' on the charts.  The island is only big enough for the one house.
I love the colors of the shallow waters over the sand.
At Porvenir, the end of the San Blas, the island's airstrip is now just used for private helicopters to bring folks to the beach or restaurant.  This is one of two helicopters that flew in together for a couple of hours on the beach.  "Rich Gringo tourists", I was told.
A trading boat zips behind us at Porvenir.

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