Guna Yala

The San Blas Islands or Guna Yala, Panama, has played in our imagination since we first heard about it from a fellow sailor 15 years ago. “It is paradise, a bunch of untouched islands inhabited by the Kuna Indians” he mused in his French accent. We put Olivier’s words in the back of our minds, filed under: “Places to visit”, and now, Easter day, 2018, the time had finally arrived.
The San Blas archipelago, 340 islands in all, boarders Colombia on the Caribbean side. It is an independent territory, ruled by the Guna Indians.The Gunas have been able to preserve their culture and the environment, limiting development and tourism to a minimum.
We arrive in Chichimi after a two-day sail from Shelter Bay Marina, blissful to have six weeks to chillax. We move at a leisurely pace from one palm clad island anchorage to the next; Yansaladup, the Lemon Cays, Kuanidup, East Hollandais,Coco Banderos, and Waisaladup. Each islet is paradise, picture perfect, ,a tousle of palmsbordered byw…

From Isla de Providencia, Colombia to Shelter Bay Marina, Panama


A tall tale involving a fish


Cruising Jamaica

Jamaica is nutmeg and chili pepper mixed with loud rhythms pounded from monstrous sound systems. It is the markets in downtown Kingston bursting with color, people, and more pounding dance music. Jamaica is 350 miles of coastline. Between Port Antonio and Montego Bay on the North Coast every cove and beach is stolen by$800 a night luxury bungalows or high-rise hotels. The cities are hijacked by traffic; busses, route cars, taxis, trucks and cars, gushing relentlessly, making walking a deadly endeavor.
Patois or Jamaican Creole wakes us at the Montego Bay Yacht Club. Words hard and fast volley back and forth like pellets. A group of fishermen are getting their fishing boats ready for the day, and boat workers jive about lasts nights escapades.
The Yacht club is a classy local establishment hosting a mix of cruisers, fishing vessels, and glass bottom boats. There is a dining room, a bar, a swimming pool and a scent of English colonialism. Two towering Cruise ships are docked a stone …

The Windward Passage and Jamaica

One year ago when we were in the planning stages of our two-year sailing trip I read about the Windward Passage for the first time. I sat on our leather couch in our rose colored living room with a view of the RivannaRiver and Goggled: “The best way to get from the Southern Bahamas to Panama”. I pulled a blanket around my feet and read a few blogs from sailors who had gone that route.

The Windward Passage is a strait of wild and wily water situated between the west tip of Haiti and the east coast of Cuba. Not unlike the dreaded cuts in the Bahamas (see past blog post) the prevailing easterly winds funnel masses of water from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea resulting in high, chaotic waves and a 5-10 knot increase in the prevailing wind speeds.
One of the blog posts I read reported their boat being approached by Haitian fishing vessels. They never stopped to find out what they wanted, but it sounded potentially worrisome. The Windward Passage made me nervous even back there in…